Hundreds of dogs of all breeds, colors and sizes took control of the Loudoun County Fairgrounds on Saturday for an event designed solely for them.
The 10th annual Barktoberfest is put on by Friends of Homeless Animals to support its no-kill pet shelter. Games, contests, music and more entertained hundreds of attendees for 12 hours, beginning at 10:30 in the morning.
“It’s pretty wild,” said FOHA Program Manager Tracey Griffith. “It’s just a fun day for people to take their children and dogs to.”
One of the most anticipated events of the day was the owner-dog look alike contest. Manassas resident Daniela Sinner won alongside her dog, Spock. Barktoberfest onlookers cheered at the sight of the matching duo.
Other attractions included games for children and dogs, eight musical performances from area bands and an alcohol barn, which featured Tito’s Vodka, wine from Northgate Vineyards and beer from Bad Wolf Brewing Company.
Christina Duffy, a six-year Barktoberfest attendee, drove to the fairgrounds from Fairfax County with her dog, Sophia.
“It’s such a great event,” she said. “I enjoy supporting local shelters since my dog is a rescue.”
Three dog parades held throughout the day gave those thinking about dog adoption an opportunity to find a pet. Although attendees couldn’t adopt on the spot, they were able to start the adoption process.
“What we’re doing, we want to do it correctly,” Griffith said. “We just want to make sure that when we send a dog or cat out to a home, ideally it’s going to be a permanent thing.”
At night, the festival transformed into a sea of illuminated people and dogs, as the third annual GlowDOGGlow 5K and one-mile race were held. Dogs and owners dressed in heaps of glow bands to run the race and win prizes for best glow and best dressed.
Weeks before the race began, runners were given the chance to further support FOHA by creating a personal fundraising page on Firstgiving to collect donations from friends and family.
Additionally, a FOHA-sponsored online auction has already brought in nearly $10,000 of the total $36,000 in donated items up for bid. Bidding will end Sept. 27.
All proceeds from the event and auction will go to FOHA.
The nonprofit’s next event is the Two By Four Race Against Childhood Cancer, which will be run in conjunction with the Canines-N-Kids Foundation. It will be held on Oct. 1 in Brambleton.
To bid on items in the online auction or donate to FOHA, go to barktoberfest.org or foha.org.