Pensacola, Florida
Sunday September 23rd 2018


A Barktastic Saturday

By Sarah McCartan

EVENT UPDATE: Unfortunately due to the number of events taking place Saturday Oct. 26, “A Walk on the Barkfront” has been postponed in hopes of encouraging increased attendance on a later date. Those who have already registered for this event will receive an email from organizers with further information. As for Saturday, the good news is, there is still a full day of fun at Barktoberfest to be had.

It’s now officially time for you and your four-legged friend to get excited for a full, fall festive day of outdoor fun—with not only one but two Barktastic events taking place in downtown Pensacola, Saturday, Oct. 26.

Thanks to the support of the local organizations and vendors involved, all proceeds from this dog-centered Saturday go to benefit Pensacola Humane Society (formerly Humane Society of Pensacola), and the animals on-site at this no-kill shelter and adoption center who have yet to find their forever homes.

Barktoberfest may have been rescheduled due to an elusive stormy lady by the name of Karen, but if anything, it has just allowed more time for the weather to cool down and the puppy troops to rally.

But first things first. Thanks to the rain delay, Barktoberfest is now taking place immediately following “A Walk on the Barkfront,” an event sponsored by Jaco’s Bayfront Bar and Grille and Veterinary Emergency Referral Center.

Pets are encouraged to come dressed in costume to attend this one mile walk that begins and ends at Plaza De Luna. The route remains south of Main Street and for added safety will be closed off from traffic. While the walk will not be a timed race, there will be an element of competition, that is, prizes for best pet/owner look alike, best pet costume, largest and smallest dog, and more. There is an entry fee of $25 for each individual attendee with a pup in tow. Additional donations to Pensacola Humane Society beyond the registration amount can be made at the time of registration.

Rather than receiving a t-shirt like in typical walk/runs of the human kind, all participants get to go home with a new leash for their participating pet. The walk begins at 8 a.m. allowing you and your pooch plenty of time to cool down before event number two kicks off—Barktoberfest.

Following the walk, you and your pup are cordially invited to make your way just up the street and around the corner to Seville Square and Fountain Park. Currently in its 12th year, Barktoberfest serves as Pensacola Humane Society’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 Sarah Humlie, director of Pensacola Humane Society.

Despite the delay, Humlie affirms that the show will continue to go on—in full force.

“There is a lot of fun stuff still happening,” she said. “Ninety percent of the vendors and rescues are still able to attend the re-scheduled date.”

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

One of the local pup-focused vendors that will be onsite at both events is The Spotted Dog Pet Boutique and Bakery. Rather than setting up in their typical Palafox Market spot, The Spotted Dog will have their specialty gourmet pet treats available for purchase throughout the day. This even includes seasonal treats—packs of Halloween-themed cookies with pumpkins, cats, ghosts and more.

“We’re also donating some of our cookies to the walk,” said co-owner, Sandy Dickerson.

On top of that, The Spotted Dog will have a special selection of merchandise for sale, including costumes. “We’re trying to do something a little bit different,” said Dickerson. In addition to costumes, and festive Halloween pet toys—such as pumpkins, Dickerson will be bringing along sweaters and some Kane & Couture customizable bedazzled collars and leash/harness combinations. This particular line can be customized for your pet right on the spot.

Although both Barktastic events are tailored toward individuals and their pooches, there will be plenty of adoptable dogs at Barktoberfest, making this the perfect opportunity not only to make a furry friend at the park, but to take him or her home with you as a lifelong companion.

“We’ll have lots of adoptable dogs on site, and we’re hopeful they’ll all find new homes that day,” said Humlie. “It’s our goal to ensure that every dog and cat in Pensacola has a home. With the help and support of the community, I really believe we can achieve that goal in the near future.”

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

“We’ve had a few more rescue groups be able to join on the new date who weren’t able to make it on the original date, like the Pug Rescue,” said Humlie.

Amidst all the excitement, Humlie and other Pensacola Humane Society staff and volunteers will be signing people up for the county’s free spay and neuter program, and also encouraging individuals to become supporting members of Pensacola Humane Society for a $25 annual fee.

“We’ll have lots of staff and volunteers on hand at the Humane Society tents to help inform people about how they can get involved and support our work for the animals, either by volunteering, fostering, donating, or adopting—or some combination of those,” she said. “And, we of course are excited about the public launch of our new look and brand.”

The new name isn’t the only change the organization has undergone as of late. This month marks the unveiling of an entire new look—all part of local agency idgroup’s Brand on Us Project. Pensacola Humane Society is the first recipient of $100,000 in idgroup services, plus approximately $75,000 in services from local business partners. Be on the lookout for ads, billboards as well as their new website that serves as both a resource and adoptable pet registry, now live on the web at

Along with giveaway items boasting the new logo, Pensacola Humane Society will have specialty items available for purchase at Barktoberfest. You will definitely want to go home with a Barktoberfest T-shirt designed by cartoonist Andy Marlette. And don’t forget the latest Pensacola Humane Society calendar featuring the winners of the recent pet photo contest.

Of course there will be plenty of water on hand throughout the day in the form of bowls, buckets and pools, to make sure the pups stay cool and hydrated. And ample baggies will be present for owners to pick up after their pets. For both events, to keep things safe and friendly, all pets must be on leashes. And owners are asked to watch after their pets at all times

WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 26
WHERE: Plaza De Luna (Southern-most end of Palafox)
COST: $25 entry (proceeds go to Pensacola Humane Society)
DETAILS: To register, visit; day of registration is available at Jaco’s Bayfront Bar and Grille between 7 and 8 a.m.

WHEN: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 26
WHERE: Seville Square and Fountain Park (Between Government and Main Streets)
COST: Free
DETAILS: or 434-4250

Dressed Up Pups

While you are encouraged to keep your pooch dressed up for the entirety of the day’s events, beginning with “A Walk on the Barkfront,” the first set of Barktoberfest contests you’ll want to have your pup in costume for kicks off at 10 a.m., and the next set happens at 2 p.m. Much like the Barkfront contests, these signature contests include best costume, and an owner/pet, look-alike showdown, in addition to contests for best trick, best kisser, and more.

Didn’t plan ahead in time to deck your pup out in festive garb? Not to fear. You can always swing by The Spotted Dog Pet Boutique and Bakery located on Palafox prior to Saturday, or select from costumes they will have on display at the events. Costumes are made to fit a variety of breeds and sizes of dogs and include the following:  mermaid, crawfish, panda, angel, school dog—a puppy spin on a school girl outfit, and even the king himself—Elvis.

If you’re in the creative spirit, there’s still time left for some last minute Do It Yourself (DIY) costuming for your pup, yourself—or both.

Princess Pooch: Tutus and tiaras are a simple way to dress up a pooch in princess fashion. You can even make your own tutu if you feel like getting a bit creative with tulle. Warning:  This look is only for those pooches who have the attitude to match the image.

Career-Driven Hound: Be it a Stethoscope or a fireman’s hat, this is the chance to let your hound live out his or her dream job for a day, although you may have to get a bit creative to ensure your pet won’t decide to ditch the props, or so a hat doesn’t become a nuisance or serve as a vision blocker.

The Foodie Dog: Who doesn’t want to make their pup deliciously appetizing? Why not turn your canine into a bowl of spaghetti with the simple repurposing of a mop, or a t-shirt cut into strips for the noodles. To affix the mop, t-shirt strips or other noodle-like threads to your pup, glue to a puppy-size fitted shirt or harness. Just be sure the dangling noodles don’t hinder your pet’s walking abilities. For the meatballs, try spray-painting Styrofoam balls, or using large colored puffballs. And Voila! Just be sure to keep your pet away from larger canines with hungry stomachs.


Barktoberfest XII Schedule of Events
Oct. 26, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Seville Square & Fountain Park

9 a.m.
Barktoberfest 2013 opens!
Registration begins for morning contests
$5 entry fee per contest
Seville Square Gazebo

10 a.m.
Morning Contests
Best Costume ∞ Best Trick ∞ Best Kisser ∞ Owner/Pet Look-alike
Seville Square Gazebo

11:15 a.m.
Mixed breed races
Organized by Rescued Rescuers, Dachshund &
Friends of the Emerald Coast

11:30 a.m.
Blessing of the Animals
Seville Square Gazebo

12 p.m.
Presentation of Calendar Photo Contest Winners
Seville Square Gazebo
Registration begins for afternoon contests

Santa Rosa and Escambia Twirlers
Fountain Park

1:00 p.m.
Blessing of the Animals
Seville Square Gazebo

1:30 p.m.
Brand on Us Thank You
Seville Square Gazebo

2 p.m.
Afternoon Contests
Best Costume ∞ Best Trick ∞ Best Kisser ∞ Owner/Pet Look-alike
Seville Square Gazebo

3:15 p.m.
Dachshund Races organized by Rescued Rescuers, Dachshund & Friends of the Emerald Coast

Fountain Park all day:
Pensacola Humane Society Exhibit and Adoption Tent

Seville Square all day:
Vendors ∞ Food ∞ Photo Booth
Dachshund Races!
Five Flags Obedience and Agility Demonstrations!
Fun! Family! Fur!