Fundraiser aims to break record for largest dog wedding

The Kane County Cougars Baseball Foundation and Villa Park-based Robust Promotions hope to set a Guinness World Record on Sunday by hosting the world’s largest dog wedding ceremony at Northwestern Medicine Field in Geneva.

Authorities are looking to break the current record set by Jill Kobe, who married 178 pairs of dogs in Littleton, Colorado, in 2007.

Willowbrook resident Bob Froehlich, owner and CEO of the Kane County Cougars, said the wedding event will serve as a fundraiser for various service animal organizations and pet adoption groups and that the wedding event is “truly about the cause”.

“Our foundation gives back approximately $1 million annually to the community and one of our main focus has always been the military. When Robust promotions contacted us and told us that we wanted to organize this kind of original event, but the real objective was to raise funds for “K9s for Warriors”, it was just perfect for us”, said Froehlich. “Minor league baseball is kind of a goofy sport – the kids run the bases after the game, the parents run the bases – it’s more about the fireworks than the ball club. When this serious fundraising cause came up, we just thought it was a perfect match.

Froehlich said nearly 400 dogs would be brought to the stadium in order to break the current record, which stands at 356 and he was not concerned about managing so many animals on the pitch.

“They (the dogs) will all be cordoned off in 50m by 50m spaces with two handlers in each area, and the dogs will also be organized by size,” Froelich said. “Guinness has an incredible amount of requirements to ensure the safety and security of dogs. They must first be checked by a veterinarian before being allowed into the stadium. It’s very organized and orchestrated and there won’t be any issues with the dogs – that’s why they wanted to have it in a ballpark so you have the pitch to work on. We are actually on 38 acres.

Sunday’s “Diamonds in the Ruff – the Largest Dog Wedding Ceremony” aims to help save the lives of American rescue dogs and veterans while officially attempting to break a world record,” according to the event’s website.

London magician Martin Rees, a five-time Guinness World Record holder, will be the emcee of the event, which will take place at Northwestern Medicine Field, 34W002 Cherry Lane in Geneva, according to a Cougars press release.

Rees will also officiate the vows with an ordained canine minister – a dog named the Reverend Henry Cleotis Farnsworth III.

Doors and registration open at 8 a.m. Ahead of the ceremony, Froehlich said “there will be face painting for the kids, balloon artists, magicians and music.”

“The actual ceremony starts at noon and will probably last around 20 minutes,” he said. “We will be there until 2 p.m. because there will be goat milk toast for all the dogs and there will be food and drink trucks for the guests. It’s kind of like a one-day family event around dogs.

Organizers hope to raise $100,000 for K9s for Warriors and 12 other service animal organizations and local pet adoption groups. K9s for Warriors, which will receive 50% of registration proceeds, provides trained service dogs to military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or military sexual trauma.

Other participating groups include Greater Chicago Cage Bird Society, New Start Dog Rescue of Illinois, Rover Rescue, Tiny N Tall Rescue, Underdog Railway Rescue, Kane County Animal Control, VET Service Dogs NFP, Paws 4 U 4 Ever, Border Tails Rescue, Almost Home Foundation, Players for Pits and DuPage County Animal Services. To register your dog, go to www.largestdogwedding.com/#petRegistrationAnchor. The cost is $25.

David Sharos is a freelance journalist for the Beacon-News.