Dogs Rule At Bark in the Park

All are welcome to cheer on canine competitors and fashionistas at the annual event

BY Christine R. Gonzalez

Waylon, a one and a half-year-old German short-haired pointer, catches the disc thrown by Lisa Wayne. Photo by Alan Cradick

Mark your calendar! 

Oct. 2nd

27th Annual

Bark in the Park 

Dogs will have a field day at the 27th annual Bark in the Park on Saturday, Oct. 2 beginning at 11 a.m. at the Wrightsville Beach Park.

Dogs will enjoy a friendly competition of disc catching, with extra points given for catches in the air. They can also compete for Best Dressed Dog, and with their human in the Best Dressed Team events. Winners will be determined by applause, and possibly bark volume.

One human may enter multiple dogs for the disc catching and/or the costume events. For pet safety, costumes should not be worn by dogs during the disc competition.

Percy, a seven-year-old pug/Boston terrier mix, warms up before competition. Photo by Alan Cradick
T-Dog, a four-year-old Belgian Malinois, leaps for the disc sent aloft by Drake Parker. Photo by Alan Cradick

Wrightsville Beach Recreation Program Supervisor Katie Ryan says registration began early this year. 

“I think people are anxious to get outdoors,” Ryan says. “Even if you don’t have dogs, it is an entertaining event and free to the community.”

The disc-catching event “is a distance and accuracy event with Hyperflite discs,” Ryan says. “The dogs have two rounds to accumulate points, based on the distance of the throw and catch and whether they complete the catch with all four paws off the ground.”

The contest is open to all skill levels, even if you have never seen your dog jump or catch. There are usually about 30 canine entrants.

“We have beginners coming out who have never participated to those who have participated year after year,” Ryan says. She notes the town did not hold the event in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Doggie bag swag will be given to the top competitors in each event.

There will be pet supply vendors on hand, along with Heidi’s Hope for Homeless Animals, a local nonprofit that helps homeless animals and owners in need of pet care assistance.

Ryan reminds that the day is for dogs, so please leave any distractions, such as your pet cat, at home.

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