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California’s Coolest Cluster

On the July 4 holiday weekend, with temperatures ranging between a high of 75 degrees and a low of 61 degrees, the El Camino Real Summerfest cluster of dog shows and obedience and rally trials made good on its promise as “California’s Coolest Cluster.”

Beautiful Seaside Park in Ventura is the perfect venue for one of California’s most celebrated dog-show clusters, with the event site literally across the street from the beach. In the evening, when things quiet down, the sound of the surf lapping the shores can be heard all over the grounds. The judges, and many exhibitors, are welcomed at the Crowne Plaza hotel, which is only a short stroll down the beach walk. 

The party began on Thursday, July 2, with specialty shows in 14 breeds. Good sportsmanship and camaraderie were the order of the day. Upon completion of judging, potlucks, barbecues, and celebrations of various types sprouted on the grounds like wildflowers.

On Friday morning, July 3, three days of all-breed dog shows and obedience and rally trials kicked off with the Channel Cities Kennel Club show. Sporting their green jackets, club members were everywhere, welcoming participants and visitors alike. It was so exciting to have Barbara Ohmann and the AKC booth on site with a festive variety of AKC logo products at our show.

Saturday’s show, on July 4, was hosted by the Santa Maria Kennel Club. A special attraction on Saturday evening was a workshop by Pat Hastings titled “A Glimpse of Structure in Action.” Fireworks off the pier celebrated the Independence Day holiday and provided the perfect end to a busy day.

On Sunday, the Ventura County Dog Fanciers Association’s show closed out the fun-filled weekend, which also featured regional specialties, sweepstakes, and supported entries in 20 breeds.

There is no admission charge for the public to come to the shows. Families visiting this year’s event got a terrific look at the excitement and cooperation that make dog shows such a great family sport. With about 160 breeds represented, including entries in all three new AKC breeds—the Lagotto Romagnolo, Cirneco dell’Etna, and Miniature American Shepherd—there were plenty of dogs to meet and breeders to talk to. Obedience, rally, and junior showmanship always delight spectators. Purina sponsors the cluster, and exhibitors and visitors alike enjoy the free samples and information available at their booth. Extra prizes courtesy of Purina are also highly sought after. Vendors lined Main Street with all types of doggie products, and food vendors offered kettle corn, hot dogs, and other tasty treats.

The El Camino Real Summerfest cluster has a long history of providing an exceptional weekend for judges, exhibitors, and spectators. We look forward to hosting everyone again next year at California’s Coolest Cluster!

—By Peri Norman, Ventura County Dog Fanciers Association show chair


Some candid photos of the weekend:


Dog Lovers Summerfest 1

Dog lovers summerfest 2

Dog lovers summerfest 3

Dog lovers summerfest 4

Dog lovers summerfest 5

Dog lovers summerfest 6

Dog lovers summerfest 7

Dog lovers summerfest

Dog lovers 9

Dog lovers 10

Dog lovers 11

Dog lovers summerfest 12

Dog lovers 13

Dog lovers summerfest 14

Dog lovers 15

Dog lovers 16


All photos courtesy Diana Han / Nor Cal Bulldogger


Notes on some of the photos above: Stephanie House with the first Miniature American Shepherd to place in the Herding Group, (new Ch.) Abingtons Da Vinci (Leo); Joseph Berkau and Sussex Spaniel GCh. Lexxfield Stonybeck Bob (Bob); Best Junior Handler Molly Forsyth with her Saluki, Sebastian, at Channel City KC; Bruce Schultz and Daniel Magee, feeling patriotic; Laurie Jordan-Fenner with Shiba Inu GCh. Jogoso’s Lucky Thirteen (Kazu); Bulldog Graybull’s Paint the Skyy Red (Red) on the beach across the street from the fairgrounds; and finally, Pat Trotter at 79 years young—showing everyone how it’s done.

(Photo notes courtesy Diana Han)

About the Clubs

The Channel City Kennel Club (CCKC) was established in 1970 and is an AKC member club. Located in Goleta, California, just outside of Santa Barbara, the club is dedicated to the betterment of purebred dogs and public education regarding responsible dog ownership. The club’s outreach programs to the local community include Canine Ambassadors, a program that makes presentations to schoolchildren about dog care and responsible ownership; Paws to Read, where club members visit the local public library with their dogs so that children have a positive reading experience; and Canine Good Citizen evaluations. Club activities include annual all-breed conformation dog shows and obedience and rally trials, all-breed matches, and seasonal classes in conformation handling. Meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of most months, at the Santa Barbara Humane Society Educational Building, Overpass Road, Goleta, California. The club welcomes new members and visitors. For information, visit the club website or contact the club via e-mail at


Located on California’s central coast, the Santa Maria Kennel Club (SMKC) was established more than 50 years ago. The club’s membership competes in conformation, obedience, rally, herding, field trials, and other AKC events. SMKC hosts one all-breed AKC dog show and obedience and rally trials and two all-breed AKC agility trials each year. The club also conducts an AKC-sanctioned B/OB all-breed match annually, and offers obedience training and conformation handling classes throughout the year and serves as a resource for local dog owners on topics such as preventative medicine and what to do with pets during disasters.

The SMKC holds club meetings at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month at the Marion Extended Care Conference Room at 1530 Cypress Way, Santa Maria, California. All are welcome. For information, visit the club’s website or contact the club via e-mail.


The Ventura County Dog Fanciers Association (VCDFA) was incorporated in 1935 and became a member club of the AKC in 1939. By the 1970s, the club’s show had grown to become one of the largest shows in the country. The club works with the Ventura County Department of Animal Services. Meetings are held at 7:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month in the Ventura County Animal Services Shelter, 600 Aviation Drive, located in the Camarillo Airport complex. The club also offers handling classes in Camarillo; call (805) 482-6025 for details. For general information about the club, visit the VCDFA website or e-mail the club secretary. Ventura County Dog Fanciers Association is also on Facebook.


For information on upcoming dog events in California, check the AKC Event Calendar.
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