GRAYSLAKE, IL – Dog-lovers will be wagging their tails in Grayslake as thousands of dogs from across the country and Canada strut their stuff in the Windy City Cluster Dog Shows.
The family-friendly event kicks off at the Lake County Fairgrounds on Thursday, June 9th, and will feature nine all-breed shows in eleven days where canines will be judged in competition.
WGN News Now spoke to show chair Scott Pfeil and show treasurer Erika Wyatt about what to expect at this year’s event.
“We have over 6,000 dogs that’ll be shown over these days,” said Pfeil. “We have dogs from Canada, we have dogs from all over the United States that come out for this event. So, everybody gets to come out and see probably close to 150 different breeds represented here.”
Wyatt and Pfeil said the WCC is hosting more than 32 specialty shows this year where spectators can meet dogs and handlers, while also learning more about a specific breed.
“Specialty shows are shows limited to one breed of dog,” said Wyatt. “So, if you like big dogs, or small dogs, sporting dogs, or working dogs, you will find them here. And you will find lots of them.”
A unique event called the “Fast Cat” takes place during the second week, June 15-19, where the dogs compete in a race.
“They get timed. It’s a really fun event that everyone can stand alongside and watch dogs race up and down out in the field,” said Pfeil.
Spectators will also find a junior handler competition for children 18, plus an owner-handler event for amateurs where contestants in both events show their dog as judges evaluate their handling skills.
Pfeil and Wyatt said the WCC has more vendors than ever before this year, and that visitors will discover items they won’t find at a typical pet store.
“You’re going to find sparkly leashes for your dog, really fun collars for them, amazing beds, different kinds of foam shampoos, things that you can bring home and use on your dog that’s laying on your couch,” said Pfeil. “It’s a lot of really fun things.”
The first week of cluster competition will be held June 9 – 13 and the second week is June 15-19 with doors open 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day. While admission to the event is free, parking on-site will cost you $10.
The Chicagoland Hound Association, Great Lakes All Terrier Association, International Kennel Club of Chicago, Kenosha Kennel Club, Northeastern Illinois Kennel Club, Starved Rock Kennel Club, and Wheaton Kennel Club came together to put on the event, which will be the last time its staged in Grayslake.
“We will be back at McCormick Place in August of 2023 and will also be having a show in January in Schaumburg,” said Wyatt. “So those two shows will have some really, really unique things”.