Pensacola, Florida
Monday March 25th 2019


Barktober Fest is Back

By Sarah McCartan


This weekend there is expected to be a takeover involving between 8,000 and 10,000 energized pets and their people in downtown Pensacola, which can only mean one thing—Barktober Fest is back!

Yes, you and your four-legged friend—or perhaps multiple friends—are cordially invited to strut your way down to Seville Square Saturday, Oct. 5, to participate in a full day of friendly frolicking and festival fun on behalf of the Humane Society of Pensacola (HSOP). Currently in its 12th year, Barktober Fest serves as HSOP’s largest fundraising event.

“The best part is seeing all the people have a fun day with their dog. You don’t get to do that too often at the festivals downtown,” said HSOP Director, Sarah Humlie.

Thanks to the support of local vendors, all proceeds from the day go to benefit HSOP, and the animals on-site at the no-kill shelter and adoption center, who have yet to find their forever homes.

“There will be animal-focused vendors—such as doggy clothes, accessories and treats. And there will be people-focused vendors as well—including jewelers and other craft vendors that come out,” said Humlie.

In addition to festival staples such as food—of the human kind, this year will bring some new additions, including the unveiling of a new look for HSOP as a part of local agency idgroup’s Brand on Us Project. HSOP is the first recipient of $100,000 in idgroup services, plus approximately $75,000 in services from local business partners.

Then of course there’s the return of the eagerly anticipated signature contests, including best costume, best trick, and best kisser. Plus there’s an owner/pet, look-alike showdown. “That’s usually a costume contest as well,” said Humlie.

While you are encouraged to keep your pooch dressed up for the entire day, the first set of contests kicks off at 10 a.m., and the next set happens at 2 p.m.

There will be plenty of water on hand—in the form or bowls, buckets and pools—to make sure the pups stay cool and hydrated. And ample baggies will be present as well for owners to pick up after their pets to keep the park clean. To keep things safe and friendly, pets must be on leashes, and owners are asked to watch after their pets at all times.

Although the event is certainly tailored toward people and their pooches, there will be plenty of animals up for adoption—making this the perfect opportunity to make a forever friend at the park—and take him or her home with you. HSOP will be closed Saturday as all adoptable dogs will be onsite at the park at various points throughout the day.

“Of course, the goal is that they will all be adopted,” said Humlie.

Other area non-profits and rescue groups, including breed specific groups, will be bringing animals for adoption as well. Expect everything from Dachshunds to Great Danes, poodles, Scottish Terriers and beyond.

Amidst all the excitement, HSOP will be signing people up for the county’s free spay and neuter program, and also encouraging individuals to sign up to become members of HSOP for a $25 yearly fee.

Along with giveaway items, HSOP will have specialty items available for purchase. You will definitely want to go home with a Barktober Fest T-shirt designed by cartoonist Andy Marlette. And don’t forget the latest HSOP calendar featuring the winners of the recent pet photo contest.


WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5
WHERE: Seville Square and Fountain Park