Q: What has 23,400 legs, 9,800 heads and 1,900 tails? A: The crowd at last year's WAG festival.

Q: What has 23,400 legs, 9,800 heads and 1,900 tails?

A: The crowd at last year's WAG festival.

If you and your dog weren't in that equation, you can see what you missed when WAG returns to the Darby Bend Lake area of Prairie Oaks Metro Park on Saturday. Now in its third year, WAG remains a free event and a popular gathering spot for dogs and dog lovers.

The event kicks off unofficially at 10 a.m. with a two-mile, family- and canine-friendly WAG Wilderness Walk along the pet trail at Prairie Oaks, led by a Capital Area Humane Society representative.

Accompanying park rangers will explain the flora and fauna along the trail. Snacks for humans and treats for dogs will be included. Registration is $20 per dog, no charge for humans, and all proceeds benefit the humane society.

The walk will conclude at WAG Marketplace at 11 a.m., just in time for the festival to open. Dogs who are thirsty after all that walking will find plenty of water to drink and splash in at various Doggie Cooling Stations. Dogs can also swim and play off-leash in the Water Walk Beach.

New this year is the Pupsicle area. "It's an area with lots of ice that dogs can play in, roll in and have fun in," said event spokesman Mike Poleway.

Visiting pups certainly won't go hungry, as they'll be able to sample products and treats from plenty of pet vendors.

But organizers haven't forgotten about the two-legged family members - there'll be plenty of food and drinks, including a "dress your own dog" hot dog station. Only humans can participate in the hot-dog-eating contest, so come hungry.

Additional entertainment and learning opportunities abound. The Take a Bow-Wow Stage is home to a Doggie Fashion Show and Doggie Idol contest. Dog agility demonstrations will be offered by Columbus All-Breed training club.

In the Meet the Breed area, breed-specific organizations and rescue groups will answer questions and share information.

"We set this up for purposes of providing WAG guests with information and education about the home- and lifestyle-related needs of the various breeds," Poleway said. "We found out from many humane societies that dogs were being surrendered because the families selected an incorrect breed for their lifestyle."

What's a dog party without a few veterinarians? Dog microchipping will be provided by on-site vets for $15, and doggie first-aid will be provided by the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine.

Before you pack your dog's six-foot leash and head out the door, make sure your pup has all his shots, is wearing an ID tag, is older than six months, well-socialized and does well in crowds.

If you answered yes to all of the above, see you at the Pupsicle area!

Take A Bow-Wow Stage

Schedule of Events

11:30 a.m. Hot Dog Eating Contest (for human pals only)

12 p.m. Doggie Fashion Show & Accessories

12:30 p.m. Dispatch Doggie Idol ( Registration begins at 11:30 a.m.)

1:30 p.m. What Makes a Good Therapy Dog with Angie Jones of Angie's Basic Obedience Therapy Dog Class

2:15 p.m. Dogs with Jobs: Customs and boarder detection dog demonstration with Oakley and Otis of the Department of Homeland Security's Customs & Boarder Protection Division

3:30 p.m. K9 Response Search & Rescue with Becky Smith of K9 Response Search & Rescue

Other Activities

12 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. Dog Agility Demonstrations

12-4 p.m. On-site Dog I.D. Microchipping ($15)