Wienerfest 2012 draws hundreds of dachshunds to Steamboat Landing

Dogs and owners enjoy day on waterfront
By Ben Holbrook | Sep 11, 2012
Photo by: Ben Holbrook Eleven-year-old dachshund, Henry, of Lincoln is crowned the grand champion of the costume contest for his box of "weenex" tissues outfit.

Belfast — Hundreds of dachshunds descended on Steamboat Landing Sunday, Sept. 9, to race, parade in costume and enjoy the company of other dogs during Wienerfest 2012.

The annual festival celebrates all-things dachshund with a number of events to showcase the small breed’s talents. In addition to a costume contest, parade and races, the dogs tested their tracking abilities by locating a rat at the end of a wooden tunnel.

Larry Brooks of Madison has attended the event for the past six years and this year marked the first trip for their cream-colored dachshund, Forest.

“We really enjoy looking at all the other wiener dogs. It also gets those guys out,” he said, pointing to two of his dogs –– Forest and Buddy –– he had on leashes.

Organizer Dale Kuhnert said this year's event drew more than 300 dogs to the city with people traveling from all over the state and beyond to attend. Now in it's ninth year, the festival continues to be a big hit with dachshund enthusiasts and dog owners of all kinds.

"It's a great event for Belfast. The Friends of Belfast Parks are proud to model what can be done in the parks and green spaces," Kuhnert said. "There were a lot of happy people there. They were smiling and laughing when they came in and smiling and laughing as they left."

Kunhert said the costume contest and dog races are always entertaining, and this year was no exception.

"The races were hilarious because they [dachshunds] typically don't run in a straight line," he said.

Although the spectator-friendly events are always popular with the crowds, Kuhnert said the opportunity to talk to other dog owners is one of the best aspects of the festival.

"People have an easy time talking to each other. As a dog owner, I know its good to be around other dog owners and share bits of information, and to see the other dogs," he said.

As successful as the event was for the organizers, Kuhnert said the vendors who attended the festival also were successful.

"The vendors had a very good day. Counting the vendors and volunteers, we had over 850 people who attended," Kuhnert said.

Wienerfest is sponsored by the Friends of Belfast Parks and proceeds benefit the Belfast Dog Park.

Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at bholbrook@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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