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BarkFest: everything you need to know about Canberra’s newest dog festival

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Coming this February to QT Canberra, BarkFest is Canberra’s newest celebration of all things pooch.

Picture this: you’re at a colourful festival. There are red carpet arrivals, a pop-up diner, a fashion parade—and more adorable dogs than you can poke a bone at. No, you’re not in heaven. You’re at BarkFest.

Happening Sunday 23 February at QT Canberra, BarkFest is the ultimate dog-lovers event—even if you don’t own a pooch yourself.

Comprising events for both pet owners and their fur babies, BarkFest was created by Tatum Brown of The Social Dog Company as a stimulating and fun outing for everyone—while also raising awareness and funds for Canberra’s pet rescue services.

Having held events across Canberra for the past two years such as Cocktails and Canines and the very popular Dating with Dogs, Tatum says that the social landscape is changing when it comes to pets.

“With the surge in people wanting to include their dogs in their everyday activities, more and more people are wanting to visit dog-friendly businesses and to share outings with their dogs,” she explains.

But if you haven’t gotten along to a Social Dog Company event yet, don’t terrier self up about it (sorry)—BarkFest is the perfect place to start.

A free event for both humans and dogs, the festival is squarely focused on fun—but with an important message: adopt don’t shop.

A variety of Canberra-based rescue associations will be present on the day including ARF (ACT Foster & Rescue) and Greyhound Connections, which will be able to talk prospective owners through the process of adoption or even becoming a foster carer.

As a dog-parent herself, Tatum knows how rewarding it is to adopt a Rescue and wants all Canberrans to know their options when it comes to finding the perfect dog.

“We’re hoping that BarkFest brings the community together and raises awareness and valuable funds for dog adoption services,” says Tatum. “I wanted to create events that bring people together through the love of dog ownership and dogs while also giving back to dogs in need.”

Kicking off the afternoon will be the Pup-arazzi red carpet arrivals, followed by the Paw-lympics, where doggies can compete in feats of agility or just plain goofiness.

Then, take a seat as some of Canberra’s finest drag performers take to the catwalk for Drags to the Rescue—a fashion show featuring rescue pets up for adoption.

“We’ll also have a splash pit and a ball pit, plenty of stalls, a dog-themed cocktail menu for humans and a Doggy Diner for the dogs, with all funds raised through that going towards ARF and Greyhound Connections,” says Tatum.

Bone appetit, indeed!

Taking place on the deck and outdoor area at QT Canberra, there will be plenty of space for fur babies to run around (on leash) and socialise, as well as have a quiet moment if they get a little overwhelmed. And for those dog-lovers like myself who don’t yet own a dog themselves—this event is for you too.

“I’ve designed all of my events to be for dog owners and dog lovers—they’re for everyone,” adds Tatum. Who knows, you may even find your fur-ever dog on the catwalk…

Don’t fur-get, BarkFest is free entry! All you need to do is register via Eventbrite.

the essentials

What: BarkFest 2020
When: Sunday 23 February from 3–7 pm
Where: QT Canberra
Cost: Free entry. Register via Eventbrite

Photography: Ashley St George/PewPew Studio

HerCanberra is a proud sponsor of BarkFest 2020. 

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