Huntley Chamber of Commerce celebrates dog fashion show, local businesses at Huntley Community Expo

A dog walks onstage during a fashion show at the Huntley Area Chamber of Commerce expo April 20, 2024.

Several dogs graced the stage at the Huntley Park District during a dog fashion show that highlighted local nonprofits at the Huntley Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Huntley Community Expo on Saturday at the park district gym.

The expo featured about 70 businesses, Chamber Executive Director Nancy Binger said.

Binger said Saturday’s event was successful and a “fun experience,” adding that she was thankful they could showcase the businesses.

Among the business participants was Claudia Kendzior, an owner of Morkes Chocolates in downtown Huntley. Kendzior and her husband, Rick, staffed a booth and said that a lot of people who visit their downtown location also visited them at the expo. The Morkes booth featured a statue of Mocha, a dog who serves as the store’s mascot and resides outside the store’s party room.

“Toddlers love to feed him candy,” Kendzior said of Mocha.

In addition to candy, the Morkes booth featured coffee and other sweets such as muffins. By the end of the expo Saturday, few of the treats remained.

“It’s been a good day,” Kendzior said.

Many of the dogs in the fashion show either were up for adoption or soon will be through organizations such as On Angel’s Wings, Tails of the Forgotten Paws and Project Hope Animal Rescue Foundation.

Shrimp, who made his runway debut at 5 days old Saturday, kicked off the show. Shrimp was so tiny that he did not dress up in a costume or walk onstage with a leash.

Most of the dogs were older than Shrimp and wore a variety of outfits, including workout gear, hot dog costumes and sweaters, among others.

Before the show, people gathered on bleachers in front of the stage, some eagerly awaiting the show.

“They saved the best thing for last,” Megan Oliveri said before the festivities began, adding that there were some cute dogs in the show.

Karen Owens served as the emcee of the fashion show.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said, adding that the event is a great way to see the dogs.

Hank, a 5-year-old dog, graced the runway in a shark-themed jacket.

“I think he had fun,” said Rose Asmus, who cares for Hank along with Debra Junkins of Pet Vet Animal Clinic and Mobile Practice in Huntley. Asmus said it was Hank’s first time in the fashion show.

After the show, Hank changed out of his jacket and greeted visitors at the Pet Vet booth.

Keegan, a 5½-month-old dog who walked the stage, wore a green sweater with a frog-themed hood.

“He’s a very sweet dog,” said Karen Combs, who accompanied Keegan down the runway. She added Keegan likes to give hugs and kisses.