Dogs, beer and music: Barktoberfest returns to Michigan

(Photo credit: FluxFactory/Getty Images)

The temperatures are starting to drop and the leaves are just starting to change. Yes, fall is fast approaching, and with it comes a celebration of the changing seasons. Over the weekend, the city of Royal Oak, Michigan hosted one of its most popular fall festivals: Barktoberfest.

“We usually host between 3,000 and 5,000 people,” explained Shelly Kemp, executive director of the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, before the event. “It’s beer, music and dogs.”

A long-awaited return

Organized by the Royal Oak Chamber of Commerce, Barktoberfest is now in its sixth year. According their website, Barktoberfest is “centered on dogs and their parents, with locally brewed beers and live music.” Unfortunately, the event was canceled for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the event is back for 2022 and has received attendance records.

The weekend featured a long list of local breweries and vendors selling everything from home brewing supplies to bottle cap art. Meanwhile, a central stage presented 8 hours of live music on Friday and Saturday.

But it wouldn’t be Barktoberfest without the dog-centric events that people came for. Contests for puppies of all ages and sizes filled the festival to the brim. Dog parents have entered their canine companions into costume contests, best trick contests, sausage dog races, and even a puppy dash!

For the first time this year, the dogs were able to attend a foam party in a dance club. And for the hyperactive puppies, the festival included a lure course with handkerchiefs on pulleys.

Everything for a good cause

However, Barktoberfest is not only fun and playful. Dogs and beer can go hand in hand, but the weekend was also a time for local rescue shelters to come out and talk to the adoption community, fosteras well as volunteer opportunities.

On top of that, a portion of the proceeds from the event went to support two local animal rights groups: Olivier Foundation and the Detroit Dog Rescue.

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