Last year, the festival drew nearly 1,000 dogs and 3,000 people while raising $18,000 for the Will May Foundation. This year, organizers hope to exceed these impressive numbers by featuring even a wider variety of entertainment, including live music.
“This is a family friendly day at the park. There’s something for everybody. We’re just trying to capture all different audiences and make them enjoy the event that much more,” said Shelden Reynolds, local realtor and this year’s chair person.
Canines can count on their annual favorite Bark in the Park events, like the pet parade, the best dog trick, the dog relay, and the dog/owner look-a-like contest. They also can test their agility on an obstacle course, pose for ZAP photos, get fancied-up at a grooming station, cool-off in a wading pool, or just hang-out with friends.
There are also special treats: The first 500 pooches who register at the gate will receive “swag bags” that are rumored to be more “beefed-up” than ever before.
Dogs in need of permanent homes will be given the red carpet treatment by Girl Scout Daisy Troop 100, who will escort them around the park for all to see. Six animal rescue organizations will be there to assist those who want to adopt furry friends.
As always, humans will have plenty of opportunities to shop and swap in the Vendor Village, which will offer a sampling of goods and services geared towards pets and people alike. Four eateries, including Golden Rule BBQ, Chick-fil-A, and Dippin’ Dots will have plenty of lunch and dessert options.
Perhaps one of this year’s most exciting additions is a live band stage performance. Music lovers won’t want to miss the group Mellowship, a regional favorite known for their high energy and crowd-pleasing cover songs. Families and college students are invited to bring their lawn chairs and blankets to kick-back, relax, and enjoy the show. Gallettes will have Yellowhammer brew on tap for adult purchases.
Kids will stay busy in the child-designated area with face-painting, balloon-making, hopscotch, and other games provided by volunteers.
And if all of these reasons aren’t incentive enough to attend, more accessible parking and “real” restrooms will be available this year. No more porta-potties!
“We absolutely cannot wait for April 9 to get here. Please, come join the fun as we continue to help maintain the only official dog park in the county. I want to see your tails waggin'!,” exclaimed Reynolds.
Questions? For more information, check out the “Tuscaloosa Bark in the Park” Facebook page or contact the Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors at (205) 345-7323.
If You Go:
Third Annual “Bark in the Park”
Sponsored by Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Will May Dog Park & Sokol Park
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Free Admission, Donations Appreciated
Schedule of Events
10:00 a.m. – Doors Open and Contest Registration Begins
11:30 a.m. – Pet Parade
11:45 a.m. – Contests
12:30 p.m. – Live Music
Elizabeth Stanard is a writer and owner of E. Stanard's Concierge Services, a local business helping professionals, families, and senior citizens check off their To-Do lists. Find a complete list of services at estanardconcierge.com.