Family fun: Rochester Hills welcomes annual Leader Dog carnival this weekend

Flashing Ferris wheel lights. A warm seasonal breeze carries the lifting sound of laughter and scent of festival snacks. It’s a sign that Rochester Hills has transitioned into spring with the annual Lions Club’s Leader Dogs for the Blind Carnival.

IMG_7471Kicking off today at 4 p.m., the carnival roots itself in the Kmart parking lot (found at 1100 South Rochester Road) until Sunday, May 12.

And Mayor Bryan Barnett is excited to take in the festivities with his family, as they look forward to the gala each year.

“We live pretty close so we head up (to the carnival) several times each spring and for my two boys it’s a great escape,” he said. “Because of its longevity, I think many in our community have fond memories of attending the carnival as kids here and now bring their children to enjoy it.”

The carnival is put on by the Rochester Hills Lions Club. And much of the proceeds from the ten-day celebration will benefit Leader Dogs for the Blind of Rochester Hills. The carnival has been an influential fundraising event for the organization and is a longstanding tradition, running for IMG_7467more than 30 years.

“(The carnival) really has become sort of a rite of spring here in Rochester Hills,” Barnett said, “it generates fantastic support for the organization right across the street—Leader Dogs for the Blind.”

Carnival dates and times include:

Monday-Thursday: 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Friday: 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday: noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday: 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Do you have any photos from your trip to the carnival? Be sure to share them with us!

Send a note to reporter Jen Bucciarelli at

To learn more about the Lions Club, check out For more on the Leader Dogs for the Blind, visit


About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at


  1. Ron Croft says

    My story as a Puppy Raiser for L.D. It all started approx. 7 years ago. I traveled from Cary, NC. to Rochester Hills, MI. This is a 14 hour one way drive. When I arrived at L.D. I loved what I saw. The campus, the people and the pups. I waited in the main building for one of the staff to bring out my puppy. In a few minutes out comes this little ball of black fur His name would be Midnight. I was in tears knowing that I would be raising this pup to one day be a Working Guide Dog. Over the years I raised 6 other Guide Dog Puppies. This always meant a grueling and expensive trip to Leader Dogs. One year I made 3 trips to L.D. coming home in a blinding snowstorm with a howling pup in the back seat. L.D. needed a volunteer to transport a Golden from L.D. to a family in N.C. I accepted that assignment and drove all night so that I could meet the family in N.C. by 10 AM. The family was so happy, that I got hugs and handshakes from everyone. I never received a thank-you from Leader Dogs for what I did?? Puppy Days was something that I looked forward to every year. In the years that I raised a pup for L.D., we never missed Puppy Days. It was a chance to meet the staff at L.D. and other Puppy Raisers from all over the Country. Like I told other Puppy Raiser I put my heart and soul into raising a Guide Dog Puppy. I felt that raising a puppy was far more important than missing some paperwork. The pups always got to go places that most Guide Dogs Puppies did not. That alone was expensive, but also very time consuming. I enjoyed every minute and would do it all over again. In life there are times when people run into problems that they have little or no control over. That is what happened last year to myself and my wife. I was not able to send in the reports as required, but always did the 3, 6, 9 and 12 month evaluation. Because of the issues I had, which in no way affected the raising of my Guide Dog Puppy, L.D. will not give me a second chance to do what I love. That is unfair, for them to do this to a dedicated Puppy Raiser. It all boils down to Paperwork. The message that L.D. is sending to other Puppy Raisers is, hell we don’t care how you raise the PUP, just make sure you get your paperwork in on time??

    Leader Dogs for the Blind: Give me (Ron Croft) a second chance to Raise Guide Dog Puppies. – Sign the Petition!
    Ron just signed this petition on
    99 signatures are still needed!

    Here’s my Facebook movie. Find yours at #FacebookIs10

    Ron Croft

  2. Lakenya Manns says


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