FARMINGTON - Both wiener dogs and humans will get a chance to race their hearts out this weekend, and organizers are expecting some stiff competition.

One of Farmington's signature festivals, that celebrates the city's amazing rivers and Memorial Day, kicks off this weekend, and if past years are any indication, people from all over the Four Corners and beyond will be in attendance.

According to the rough tallies, more than 20,000 people show up for Riverfest each year, and that number just keep growing.

It's easy to see why. The two day festival includes music, food and events, all based around celebrating Farmington's riverine corridor and Memorial Day.

A combined effort of the city and River Reach Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Farmington's rivers, Riverfest has something to attract people of all ages.

From raft rides through the city's man-made water park, to old time music and apple pie a la mode celebrating New Mexico's centennial, Farmington's Animas River parks will be bursting with activity this weekend.

This year organizers decided to add two new events.

"We have two new events on Sunday," said Debbie Graff, who is part of the Riverreach organizing committee. "We have a gourd dance at the Veteran's Memorial that will be going from noon to four in honor of Memorial Day."

Sunday's other new event will be Roverfest at Riverfest.


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"Roverfest is a fun dog walk," Graff said. "All dogs that register get a bandana and all the money raised from the event will go to the Farmington Animal Shelter. It's basically a walk in the park."

Roverfest registration is at Animas Park at the Red Barn. People can register and walk through the city's riverside parks between 8 and 10 a.m.

Two of the most popular events are the races.

The registration deadline for the 5k, 10k and two mile walk is Friday at 2 p.m. and according to organizers, it's one of the most popular events of the whole weekend, and it kicks off on Saturday.

While Saturday's two legged race is the most populated event of Riverfest, it's probably not the funniest.

Also on Saturday is a race that has wiener dogs across San Juan County lifting weights and going that extra mile. Saturday is the 10th annual "Running of the Dogs," and organizers compare it too flipping a coin.

"Some of them it's hard to get them to race," said organizer Dona Diers. "It's like throwing a coin in the air. You're never sure how it's going to come down."

Diers is hoping to get 100 wiener dogs registered for Saturdays race, and it would be a mistake to own a wiener dog and not enter.

"We've got some wonderful prizes," Diers said. "For a five dollar entry fee, first place gets about 250 worth of stuff. The trophies are made out of bones from orthopedic surgery classes."

Registration for the wiener dog races starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and the race is held by the pavilion at Berg Park on the corner of San Juan Blvd. and Scott Ave.

Registration for the human race ends Friday at 2 p.m. and people can register in advance at the Farmington Recreation Center, 1101 Fairgrounds Rd., or online at www.fmtn.org/prca.

While the Riverreach Foundation is in charge of organizing the various vendors, musical acts and events, Farmington's Parks Department provides much of the support.

"They are the organization that plans it and puts it on," said Parks Director Jeff Bowman. "The city helps where ever we are needed. Our big presence is behind the scenes taking care of trash, providing police and fire support. It really is a great event."