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Barktober Fest brings pets, owners together

13th annual event to benefit Kokomo Humane Society

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WOOF — Attendees and their dogs at last year's Barktober Fest make their way around Foster Park.

Ahead of Halloween, pets can make good use of their costumes during Barktober Fest, a fund-raising event for the Kokomo Humane Society.

The event, which takes place in Foster Park, features a number of pet-related activities, including a 5k dog walk, smaller walk, pet costume contest and photography, and pet-related vendors. Karen Wolfe, director of the Kokomo Humane Society, said the event always is fun for pets and their owners alike.

“It’s always been a lot of fun, and it’s another opportunity to have your dog wear their Halloween costume,” Wolfe said.

Attendees can choose which walk route to take, the 5k or the smaller walk. For the 5k, attendees will walk from Foster Park to the Kokomo Humane Society where they will be able to check out the facility, which opened last year. Cookies and water will be available for those who make it to the shelter.

Back in Foster Park, guests are invited to make the loop around the park for the smaller walk. The park also will be filled with vendors, several of which are new to the event this year. The popular Ask-a-Vet booth will be back, courtesy of veterinarian Adam Vernango.

There will be adoptable dogs available and a number of contests, including Best Costume, Best Kisser, Best Shedder, Longest Tail, Dog Owner Look-a-like, Best Trick, and more.

Funds raised will go to support operating costs at the Kokomo Humane Society, which are higher due to the opening of the new, larger facility. Registration is $10, though Wolfe encourages attendees to raise at least $30. Those who do will receive a commemorative Barktober Fest canvas bag.

Prices will be awarded to the top three attendees who raise the most money. First prize is four tickets to Ales for Tails, while the second-place winner receives two tickets to Ales for Tails. The third-place winner will receive a gift basket for their dog.

Last year, the event raised $20,000. Wolfe hopes to surpass that this year. She encouraged the community to come out and support the humane society.

“It’s an opportunity to bring your dogs out, which is fun to show off your dog and see a lot of other people with their pets. And Foster Park is beautiful, so that’s a lot of fun. It’s just a nice, fast, and friendly event to do with your family and your pets,” Wolfe said.

Registration can be completed ahead of time at or at the event on Saturday, Oct. 12, from 9 to 10 a.m. The walk takes place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with contests from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. Pet photography, courtesy of local photographer Austin Warner, will be available from 9 to 12:45 p.m.

This year’s vendors include The Shepherd’s Shack, Wesson’s Canine Bakery, Parke County Wood You Like LLC, Foppers Pet Treat Bakery, Cat Café, Jefferson Road Animal Hospital, and Kokomo Animal Hospital.