Canine festival to promote park

Canine festival to promote park

Sophie plays with a toy at Will May Dog Park located inside Sokol Park. CW | Ashley Atkinson

The Tuscaloosa Association of Realtors invites students to bring their dogs out to enjoy the second annual Bark in the Park Festival on Saturday, April 11.

Over 500 dogs and their owners attended the Bark in the Park Festival last year at Will May Dog Park. This year, TAR hopes for over 1,000 dogs and their owners to attend. The event will take place at the Will May Dog Park from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, and admission is free.

Jack Ryan, a member of the National Association of Realtors, member of TAR, and the chairman of the community projects committee and chairman of the public relations committee within TAR, said Bark in the Park supports a good cause that is popular with dog lovers.

“It’s a day where we can bring everyone out and enjoy the park, and use it as an educational outreach and a recreational outreach,” Ryan said.

There will be 40 exhibiters at the park, offering information about dogs, from the dog masseuse to the Auburn School of Veterinary Medicine, Ryan said. Pet supply stores, groomers and animal rescue agencies will also be in attendance. Dog lovers will have the opportunity to adopt a dog from one of the agencies.

“There will be four contests people can enter with their dog, such as the dog dash for small, medium and large dogs,” Ryan said. “Then we are going to have a pet-owner look alike, a best trick and a best costume. There will also be a pet parade, plus a local girl will be singing songs along with a barking dog, if we can hook her up with one.”

Emily Camp, a senior and a public relations intern with TAR, said they are going to try to break two Guinness world records at the event.

“Twelve Boy Scouts are going to try to break the record for most dogs washed, and wash 1,038 dogs in an eight-hour period,” Camp said. “The second record we are trying to break is the most dogs walked on a leash by one person. We are having a local high school student, who is going to try and walk 36 dogs at once to break the record.”

TAR raised about $12,000 last year, which was donated to the Will May Dog Park. The funds helped plant grass in certain areas of throughout the park. It was the highest profile community project they have done, Ryan said. This year’s goal is $20,000. They have already raised two-thirds of their goal prior to the event, he said.

“There will be a donations booth at the Festival this year, manned by former Alabama football players, including John Copeland, Antonio Langham and Gene Newberry,” Ryan said. “They will be signing footballs for donations for the park.”

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