Sheffield Garden Walk Festival Hates Dogs


Seriously, we were turned away from the Sheffield Garden Walk with our dog, Ethel. We were told, “For the safety of the children – your dog can not be here.” The security guy said, “Do you really want children to be hurt?”

This summer, Ethel had already attended several neighborhood festivals, including Ribfest – no problems. In fact, at ALL neighborhood festivals in Chicago (not Taste, and city wide events), dogs are welcome. Some vendors at these neighborhood events even sell dog products. However, at Sheffield Garden Walk Festival, dogs are verboten. Clearly, it’s not about our dog Ethel, who loves children so much her entire body sometimes wiggles when she sees them.

True, when you enter – there’s a sign warning “no pets.” But why? No one seemed to know. Except for one security dude to maintained “It’s because dogs shouldn’t be where the food is.” Well, why? Dogs are allowed at outside cafes at Chicago restaurants (who pay for the license), and at all other neighborhood fests in the city.

What’s more, we were hardly the only people turned away who only assumed, neighborhood festivals are outside, and dogs are usually very welcome. The guy who turned us away admitted, he didn’t agree with the policy and turned many others away as well. What’s more, it seemed by the meager turn out – they needed the business. We were told to go one block west to Kenmore Street, where we could actually walk to the gardens (since we weren’t allow to pass through on Sheffield Avenue). We did what we were told.

When we got to Kenmore Avenue (one block west), we saw some assorted farm animals in pens in the street (from Belden to Webster), but both sidewalks were open. We began to walk (south) toward Webster on the sidewalk (not on the street where the festival events were), minding out own business….when we were stopped.

“For the safety of the children – your dog can not be here.” The security guy said, “Do you really want children to be hurt?” He continued to say, “Your dog will hurt the animals (referring to the farm animals we had already walked by!)

I replied, “If you hadn’t stopped us – you realize we would have been at the end of the block by now, and the animals are back there.”

He said, “Yes”

And I added, “We’re on the sidewalk – isn’t this a public sidewalk? We’re not where the event is. And did you really say our dog would harm children? Why?”

He said, “Yes. Move over to the other sidewalk (on the other side of the street).”

But that is no further from where we are now….Why? What? You’re kidding?

“No, move it.”

Meanwhile, as we cross the street as instructed – to the other sidewalk – for absolutely no reason – other security types were watching us as if we were wanted by the FBI, even surrounding us. Ethel didn’t mind – she likes people looking at her. But ridiculous. And by crossing the street we actually did get closer to the farm animals (Ethel didn’t care, and the animals – having been to many festivals were clearly desensitized to dogs).

Once we finally made it to gardens themselves, I want to make it clear – dogs appeared welcomed. Of course, most people in the area themselves have a dog. This is the only neighborhood ‘festival’ area where dogs are clearly disdained. By the way, two far more crowded festivals, Ribfest and Halsted Street Market Days reported no problems involving dogs, though several involving poorly behaved people.