What began as a handful of neighbors organizing a get together for local dog-lovers and their pets has grown into the world’s largest dog festival. Bark in the Park, the annual celebration of all things dog, is taking to the William Street park on Saturday, September 17, for a day of contests, tricks, performances, food, vendors and general merry-making.

“I’ve been told over and over that there is nothing out there quite like it,” says Bark in the Park chairman Ken Podgorsek. “When people ask me ‘Who should go?’ I tell them, ‘If you love dogs, you should go. If you don’t care about dogs, then don’t go, because it’s all about dogs.’”

Benefiting the Humane Society Silicon Valley, the San Jose Animal Care Center and the Campus Community Association (CCA), Bark in the Park is a great way to meet new friends, both canine and otherwise, and contribute to local animal charities.

“Over the years we’ve given over $100,000 to pet charities, says Podgorsek. “It’s part of the way that we’re able to invest in pet charities in our greater community.”

Featuring tail wagging and costume contests, sheepdog demonstrations, an obstacle course, the ever-popular pet look-alike competition, kids events, music and more, Bark in the Park is gearing up for another record-breaking year in terms of attendance.

“Our numbers have steadily increased and history says that they will probably increase this year,” says Podgorsek. “The first year we estimated that there would be 75 to 100 dogs and two or three hundred people,” he continues, “and there were 2,000 people and 300 dogs. Last year there were 15,000 humans and 3,700 dogs.”

A proven success with humble beginnings, Bark in the Park has become a highlight for local pet owners; a chance to mingle, check out breeds, pick up some new doggy accessories, get trick ideas, see performance dogs doing their thing and celebrate their four-legged friends.

“Bark in the Park is a fun event,” says Podgorsek. “It’s all about people having a good time and enjoying a nice day in a nice neighborhood park with their dogs and other dog owners.”

Bark in the Park is Saturday, September 17, 10am-5pm at the William Street Park in San Jose. The event is free but a $5 donation per dog is encouraged.

More Info on Bark in the Park at William Street Park