National Dog Show Eagerly Welcomes Back the Public, Reminds Attendees of Vaccinated-Only Policy

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woman and dog
Image via the National Dog Show Sponsored by Purina.
An owner-handler and her English Springer Spaniel share a warm moment before heading into the ring at the National Dog Show.

It’s that special time of year again: The November 2021 National Dog Show.

And the best part of this year’s edition is that spectators are again welcome to view the canine extravaganza onsite at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center.

It’s a far cry from 2020, when the show — like so many other events around the world — went ahead with no spectators because of the global pandemic.

But despite the absence of fans, last year’s Thanksgiving Day NBC broadcast of The National Dog Show Presented by Purina did provide a sense of normalcy. And animal lovers nationwide were able to stay connected through its television broadcast.

Attendee Provisions

This year, however, the show is back with in-person fans welcome, albeit with a few provisions.

The National Dog Show and the Kennel Club of Philadelphia (KCP) have implemented a vaccination-only policy for attendees.

It is a set-up similar to many indoor events in the Delaware Valley, arrived at in conjunction with recommendations from national, state, and local health officials.

Vaccinated individuals coming to the shows Nov. 20-21 should register with CLEAR for proof of vaccination and ease of access. The CLEAR app can be accessed online, and people can register by following its simple prompts.

CDC cards and photo IDs will also be accepted, but the CLEAR registration — which is free — is recommended.

The third weekend of November is fortunately not that far away. The Oaks location will come alive with up to 2,000 dogs from hundreds of breeds will be on hand, complemented as usual by agility dogs, therapy dogs, exotic breeds, the expansive Purina exposition area, and vendors galore featuring anything and everything canine.

Tickets cost just $16 per for individuals 12 and over, in keeping with the KCP’s nonprofit mission of educating the public about responsible pet parenting through low pricing for this event.

Tickets are available at the show’s website, where additional information about the event and its safety policies is also detailed.

Unfortunately, children under the age of 12 are unable to attend because of the vaccination policy. Even with possible vaccination opportunities for the younger set in place before the show, the waiting period makes them ineligible audience members.

Next-Best Thing to Attending: Watching on TV

So, the kids and others unable to attend can, as usual, watch The National Dog Show on NBC10 Thanksgiving Day between noon and 2 p.m., following the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and before football takes over the day.

This year is the 20th-anniversary celebration of the two-hour TV special, which is a wonderful showcase for the dogs in our lives and also for the Philadelphia region. It shines front and center for an annual total audience of over 20 million Americans.

John O’Hurley is again a host. He is, of course, the Seinfeld ensemble actor (Catalog King J. Peterman) and ultimate champion on ABC’s inaugural Dancing With The Stars

Expert analyst David Frei cohosts with O’Hurley. Frei is the former voice (for 27 years) of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on USA Network and America’s foremost authority on the sport.

Unlike traditional dog show coverage, the special offers family-oriented features, facilitated by the open format of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia event and its over 15,000 visitors.

Family Holiday Tradition

“We have actually generated a legion of dog show fans as a result of the family holiday tradition that The National Dog Show and the Kennel Club of Philadelphia have established,” stated Wayne Ferguson, KCP President. 

Ferguson will preside over the big dog show weekend at the Expo Center November 20-21, focused on returning it to the spectators for whom it is such a regional treasure while remaining cognizant of the health and safety of all.

“We look forward to everyone’s understanding and cooperation this year and most especially to a return to normalcy in 2022,” Ferguson offered. 

He expresses a sentiment shared by all.

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