A Tail-Wagging Weekend Kicks Off Oct. 22 at Westside Park


Albert “Ray” Massey (Westside) Park is going to the dogs for a whole weekend of family fun! The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) has partnered with University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine (UFCVM) and Climb for Cancer Foundation to bring three great, dog-centered events together Saturday, Oct. 22 and Sunday, Oct. 23. Westside Park is located at 1001 NW 34th St. in Gainesville.

Annual Dog Days Run: The weekend starts off on the right paw with the 35th Annual Dog Days Run on Saturday, Oct. 22, hosted by UFCVM. This event includes a 5K race, a one-mile “fun run” for dogs and their owners, a raffle and other contests. The 5K race starts at 8 a.m., with the “fun run” starting at 9 a.m. The event benefits the Josh and Friends Project, which helps bring animals to comfort hospitalized children. The race entry fee is $25. More information can be found at For information about the Dog Days Run, please contact Andrea Nall at

Drool and Ghoul Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest and Pool Party: Later Saturday, it’s a doggone fun time at the H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., for the Drool and Ghoul Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest and Pool Party. Admission is $5 per dog; people are free!  This is the one day of the year that your canine pal can enjoy dogs-only swimming and fun activities all around the pool deck. A great costume contest will take place at 12:30 p.m., with prizes in several categories! Event information can be viewed online at,AquaticsFitness/Aquatics/SpecialEvents.aspx. For Drool and Ghoul information and interviews, please contact Shannon Keleher, CPRE, MBA, AFO, recreation manager, at 352-393-8526 or

Halloweener Derby: Finally, on Sunday, Oct. 23, the hounds are released at the 2016 Halloweener Derby. Climb for Cancer Foundation presents this family FUNdraising event from 1-4 p.m.  This dog- and kid-friendly occasion features food, music and canine antics.  Participants can strut their stuff in front of the judges for a chance to win exciting prizes. Dog owners can sign up for the All-breed Pet Costume contest and the Trick or Treat Trail Walk, where they can visit the Spooktacular Pet Photo Booth. The main activity features dachshunds running for the gold in the 2nd Annual Halloweener Derby. All proceeds benefit cancer patients receiving treatment at UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. For more information on registration and sponsorship, visit For inquiries about the 2016 Halloweener Derby, please contact Ron Farb at 352-333-9663 or

Please note, proof of a rabies vaccination is required for entry at each event.