Bark in the Park fun for canines, families

Published 6:07 pm Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Dog lovers from town and country made their way to Confederate Park in Greenville last Saturday to enjoy a beautiful—if warm–early autumn afternoon filled with music, food and fun.

The Butler County Humane Society hosted Bark in the Park and Family Fun Day, moving the semi-annual event from Sunday to Saturday for this edition and expanding its offerings beyond its long-established pet parade and contest. 

“I think this is our best one yet,” said BCHS president Kandys Killough with as smile as she sat down by the kitten adoption booth to enjoy some boiled peanuts donated to the event by Real Pit BBQ’s Jesse McWilliams.  BCHS treasurer Tom Matthews manned one concession booth, serving pizzas, hot dogs and ice-old drinks, while a visit to the bright red wagon offered attendees Sno-Cones, nachos, meat pies and more.

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The crew from ServPro was on hand with giveaway items and their popular cornhole toss game that kids and adults alike could try their hand at. Youngsters, monitored by volunteers, bounced and slid to their heart’s content on an inflatable.

Both Danan Whiddon of Sweet Heart Alabama and Amy Hallford of Scentsy said they enjoyed serving as vendors and getting the opportunity to meet lots of great canines.

“I really had a blast,” said Whiddon. “ I had several folks stop by and see me and visit the Airstream. And I just loved getting to see all those dogs!”

Hallford, who is donating her commission from sales at BiTP to the humane society, said she took several orders.

“My family had a great time–and I wish I could see all those beautiful pups again,” Hallford said.

Teen volunteers like Kaitlyn Neese of Greenville High School used their artistic talents to paint faces, and during lulls she and fellow volunteers joined in on the new sidewalk chalk art contest. Neese came away with a second place ribbon for her dogcentric chalk design, with Shelby Lawrence taking first place honors with her Bark in the Park chalk drawing, while Lillian Braxton earned a third place ribbon for her colorful creation.

Event emcee, Montgomery radio personality Major Delay, who has become a regular at the event, not only keep the tunes playing and the contests going, he also made periodic announcements concerning the Alabama game to keep any fans present “in the know.”

Everyone was a winner when it came to the eagerly awaited pet parade and contest, with 13 of the pooches present vying for the title of “top dog.”

It was Anna Sexton’s entry, Little Bit,  who wowed the judges with her good manners and adorable pink and white cowgirl outfit, taking “Best in Show” and and the prize-filled gift basket.

Allen Johnson’s perennial participant, Boston Terrier Payton, earned the title of “Strongest Supporter.”

“Payton’s been in the contest at least five times and he’s won ‘Best in Show’ before, too,” said a proud Johnson, whose cute canine and his feline siblings also regularly appear in the BCHS pet calendar.

The handsome and gentlemanly Skippers, shown by Audrey Gentry, won the title of “Best Behaved.”

Hayden Cowles’ lovely Golden Retriever, Maggie, earned the title of “Best Coat.”

Lillian Jernigan carried the very petite Teddy for owner Anna Grantham. Not surprisingly, the little dog was selected “Tiniest.”

Grantham paraded with her gregarious backpack-sporting Halo, who clearly was“Most Energetic.”

The dapper Toby, shown by Kasi Pierce, earned the title of “Most Well Groomed.”

Two of the most eye-catching canines at the event were Jessica Campbell’s Disco and Marli Campbell’s Diggy, who won “Best Actor” and “Best Supporting Actor,” respectively, for their complete pirate ensembles.

Aztec, walked by Shelby Lawrence, sported a hand-painted artist’s smock made for the event. The handsome young dog took the “Most Original Costume” award.

Bailey Lambert and her friend, Chloe Peavy, paraded with the Lambert family pooch Max, who was wearing his Auburn football jersey. Max earned the title of “Biggest Auburn Fan.”

Right on Max’s heels was Sheree Worley’s Zoey, who was sporting her Crimson Tide jersey. Zoey was awarded “Best Team Spirit.”

And last, but not least, was Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce director Francine Wasden with Louie, who earned the title of “Fluffiest.”

“That was the perfect award for Louie, because he’s certainly a fluffball,” laughed Wasden, who joined others in picking out the toy or treat of their choice as their canine companions’ prizes.

“I think everyone had a good time and it was a good day,” said Kimberly Matthews, the BCHS vice-president and BiTP organizer. “We appreciate all our volunteers, including our members, the school kids and Americorps, for turning out to help us, along with our vendors and all those who turned out to participate.”

The event, a fundraiser and community outreach event for the BCHS, was sponsored by Super Foods, Golden Flake and Coca-Cola.