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Bark in the Park: 13th annual event draws crowd to Jefferson Memorial Park

By Staff | Jun 7, 2019

Karen Hartley, of Kearneysville, wins second place in the K-9 Kissing Contest with her five-month-old Teacup Yorkshire Terrier, Lady Mischief Hartley, on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

CHARLES TOWN — Community members from around the Eastern Panhandle gathered with their dogs at Jefferson Memorial Park on Saturday, to participate in the 13th Annual Bark in the Park.

The event, which is hosted by the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County, allowed community members to have some fun with their dogs and other dog owners, as they led their dogs in a variety of contests and visited 31 dog-friendly vendors booths. Even the food booths at the event were geared toward dogs, according to Sweet Frog employee Holly Silveous, of Kearneysville.

“They said, ‘Bring for the dogs and bring for the humans,'” Silveous said, as she set a pup cup of ice cream on the table in front of her. The cups, Silveous said, were filled with vanilla or peanut butter frozen yogurt and topped with doggy treats. “We offer the pup cups in catering cups. We just started selling them in the Charles Town store — our store, specific.”

According to Silveous, this is the second event the pup cups have been sold at. The first, was at a rabies clinic AWS hosted at her husband’s workplace, Southern States.

“We did really good at the rabies clinic, so they asked if we would set up today,” Silveous said, mentioning Saturday’s event seemed to also be going well. “People have seemed intrigued about it, so a lot of people have come by and gotten them.”

T.A. Lowery Elementary School third grader Jacob Silveous plays with his two-year-old Cavachon, Charlie, during the 13th Annual Bark in the Park on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

Thanks to the sunny weather, AWS Vice President and Bark in the Pari Chair Jane Tarner said this year’s event seemed to draw a good turnout .

“We were very busy today. The last count was about 75 dogs, but a lot of people come in that don’t register,” Tarner said, mentioning the dogs that were registered received goody bags and could compete in the event contests.

While some AWS events are intended to raise money for the organization, Bark in the Park is an exception from that rule, and is focused on being a place for the community to gather together and celebrate dogs.

“It’s mostly a fun day for people and their dogs,” Tarner said, mentioning that this year’s event featured a number of new events. “We’ve had some new games this year: the Biscuit Walk, which was like a cake walk; the Puppachino Challenge, where the dogs competed with their owners to see who could lick the whipped cream out of a cup fastest; and the Dog Warts Sorting Game.”

As the afternoon drew to a close, one family celebrated a number of victories in the contests, with one of their dogs winning first in the Best Sit and Stay Contest, first in the Best Tail Wagger Contest and first in the K-9 Kissing Contest. According to Karen Hartley, of Kearneysville, this isn’t the first year her two-year-old rescue has won contests at the event.

Linda Semashko straightens the police costume on her nine-year-old dog, Mocha, while her daughter, Candice Semashko, smooths out the baby doll dress of two-year-old Trixie, in preparation for the Best Dressed Contest, during the 13th Annual Bark in the Park on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

“This is our third year coming to this event — we started coming the first year we heard about it,” Hartley said. “It’s a great learning experience, and also it helps you make ties to your community for when you need help for your dogs.”

Washington High School sophomore Genna Costello competes with her three-year-old rescue, Shayla, in the Puppachino Challenge, as emcee Cathy Heffner watches, during the 13th Annual Bark in the Park on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

Sweet Frog's booth at Bark in the Park featured pup cups, filled with either vanilla or peanut butter frozen yogurt, and topped with doggy treats. Tabitha Johnston