‘Barktoberfest’ features dogs, brews and bands

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published September 6, 2017

 Sterling Heights resident Brianna Paquette and her Yorkie, Mia, enjoy themselves at the 2016 Paws in the Park Royal Oak. This year, the event has a new image along with a new name, Barktoberfest Royal Oak.

Sterling Heights resident Brianna Paquette and her Yorkie, Mia, enjoy themselves at the 2016 Paws in the Park Royal Oak. This year, the event has a new image along with a new name, Barktoberfest Royal Oak.

File photo by Donna Agusti

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ROYAL OAK — What do you get when you combine dogs, craft beer and live music? Barktoberfest, of course.

The Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce’s Barktoberfest will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 16 and 17 at Memorial Park, located at the northeast corner of Woodward Avenue and 13 Mile Road.

“With the popularity of craft beer and the focus of so many businesses on pets and Michigan-made products, Barktoberfest creates a destination event that owners and their four-legged friends can enjoy together,” said Chamber Executive Director Shelly Kemp.

The City Commission unanimously gave its approval to the event during the commission’s Aug. 28 meeting. In the past, the chamber has hosted an alcohol-free, dog-focused event called Paws in the Park Royal Oak.

“This is basically Paws in the Park; the only change is they have requested to add a beer tent with live music,” said Royal Oak Police Chief Corey O’Donohue, who was looking for direction from the commission regarding allowing alcohol in a city-owned park.

Historically, the only event in a city-owned park where the commission has allowed alcohol to be served is the annual Shakespeare in the Park.

O’Donohue said there has never been an issue reported during that event.

Paws in the Park was well-attended in the past, attracting about 2,000 people per day throughout the weekend.

Weather-permitting, Kemp said she expects the same number of dog lovers this year.

“We’re having similar things that we had the last two years,” she said, adding that there will be pet contests and a lot of silly family fun.

Kemp said she encourages residents to leash up their dogs  — all leashes must be 6 feet long or shorter — and come out to the park to enjoy the locally brewed craft beer, food and live music.

ROAK Brewing Co., Axle Brewing and Perrin Brewing Co. will supply the craft beer. Live music will include a performance by the Orbitsuns.

Food trucks and plenty of water bowls will be on-site, along with pet products and local artisans with Michigan-made items for two- and four-legged customers.

All canines in attendance are invited to participate in the pug run, Howl-A-Week Contest or the wiener dog races. Registrations for all contests will take place each day at the Chamber of Commerce information booth. Prizes — donated by participating sponsors and exhibitors — will be awarded throughout the weekend.

The event will be fenced in to ensure pet safety.

Entrance into Barktoberfest Royal Oak will cost $5, with the exception of children ages 10 and younger, who will be admitted for free. A portion of the gate proceeds will benefit Detroit Dog Rescue.

“It’s going to be a wonderful activity for the community, and as the president of the Chamber of Commerce, I enjoy seeing great things come out of that organization,” said Jason Gittinger, owner of the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music.

For more information, visit RoyalOakChamber.com or call (248) 547-4000.

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