Info: South Florida Dachshund Winterfest

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Local 10 has everything you need to know and more about the South Florida Dachshund Winterfest.

What does it cost?

It's free! This is an informal gathering in a public park.  There is no admission fee.

If you can, bring a spare flea/tick or heartworm treatment to the Dachshund Rescue of South Florida table to help them help rescued dogs.

What happens?

It's a festive day out for dachshunds.  Dogs and people socialize.  Strangers marvel.  There are a few dog-oriented activities and a dachshund funhouse.  A dachshund-loving dignitary says a few words and we always end with a spirited singing of the Dach Song and a Grand March.

How long does it last?

This year we start at 11 a.m., beginning with the DRSF Hotdog Hustle dachshund races, and are done by 2 p.m.

Do the dogs dress up?

Most dogs arrive au naturel, though some dress for the occasion (as hot dogs, cowboys, divas, and beach babes).  You may want to bring a camera.

Please note that we will not have a costume contest this year.

Can I bring a dog that is not a dachshund?

Yes!  All "weenie wanna be's" are made Honorary Dachshunds for the day.  Your non-dachshund should be prepared for a little outraged barking, but don't mistake this for being unwelcome.  It's just Long Leg Envy, articulated.

Note: Only purebred dachshunds may enter the DRSF Hotdog Hustle dachshund races -- due to the unfair advantage of our longer-legged .honorary friends.

Is food or drink available?

Except for treats and bowls of dog water, no food or drink is for sale (it's a small park so you can bring picnic items), but there are many dog-friendly outdoor cafes on Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road.  Attendees are often spotted dining and drinking in style after the festivities.

Is there stuff to buy?

While the Winterfest is a non-commercial event, Dachshund Rescue of South Florida raises funds by selling T-shirts, harnesses, calendars and raffle tickets for some great items, so definitely bring a few bucks to help down-and-out doxies!

Where is it and how do I get there?

We're in the grassy area on the east side of Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, called Lummus Park.  We meet between 11th and 12th Streets.  The easiest approach from 95 is via 395 (aka the MacArthur Causeway). Go straight when you hit Miami Beach (you'll be on Fifth Street) until you can't go any farther, then take a left onto Ocean Drive.

Where can I park?

Parking can be a challenge in South Beach, but everyone seems to find a spot. Street parking or open city lots use machines that take cash and credit cards.  There are spaces on Ocean Drive and the side streets.  There is a small public parking garage on 13th between Ocean & Collins (entrance on 13th), and a large one at Seventh & Collins (entrance on Seventh).  There are other lots and garages as well: The covered city garages usually charge $1.00/hour unless there is a big event in town, then it could be a more expensive flat rate.

Why a Winterfest?

We are smitten by our little dogs -- loyal, demanding, hilarious, stubborn, articulate, opinionated comfort-seeking missiles of love.  The rest of the world sees a funny looking dog but we know better.  We are mere dachshund servants, ruled by our better halves. (eighths? sixteenths?)

The Winterfest is fashioned after the popular Octoberfests and Spring Fiestas in New York City, gatherings we sorely missed after moving to Miami.  We figured South Beach could handle one more quirky event and created a dachshund social affair with a tropical spin.

We started with 30 hot dogs at the first 'Fest in 2003.  Last year, more than 300 dachshunds attended.  We've been feted by Ocean Drive hot spots such as The Tides Hotel and The Palace Bar, presented with keys to the city by Miami Beach officials, and hounded by the media (NBC's South Florida Today, Channel 10 News, Miami Herald, Wire, Miami New Times, Miami Sunpost).  The Mayor even ceded temporary control over the government in 2007.  Dachshund power knows no bounds.

But mostly, we take the day to honor the wonderful loving silly dachshund, our little "haute dogs", stretch limos of the canine world, twisters of our minds and capturers of our hearts.