The Greater Houston Area has its fair share of dog lovers, and there are lots of shelters and rescues doing their best to care for canines that are in need. Often their resources are stretched and a steady influx of homeless dogs is a huge problem for the organization's and people who try to meet their needs.
In 2007, two pet industry entrepreneurs named Jennifer Kitchens-Street (Urban Paws Magazine) and Jamie Bakke (Pampered Paws Boutique) recognized that the Kingwood community needed a pet event to raise awareness of the importance of rescue and adoption in the area. Both share a love for their four legged friends and understand that there are a huge number of animals that need to find new homes. Kingwood Barkfest was created as a result of their shared passion for animals and desire to help increase area pet adoptions.
Asking Jennifer about the size of the event, she says, "We receive a great turnout for the event and it has grown quite a bit over the last eight years. Generally we see anywhere from 2,000 to 2,500 attendees." People planning on visiting Kingwood Barkfest will have plenty of activities to keep them busy and entertained. As Jennifer explains, "Pooches and their people will find live entertainment, demonstrations, arts and crafts booths, information about adoptions, festival foods, and more."
Dog lovers can also expect to enjoy a range of canine competitions as well. "Demos and contests abound at the event! Some of our usual highlights include a canine costume contest, pet tricks, a best kisser contest, as well as demos by Houston Frisbee Disk Dogs and canine agility and freestyle dancing.", explains Jennifer.
Kingwood Barkfest is free, and among the entertainment options that visitors will be able to enjoy, is music provided by DJs. I spoke to Robert Castro, one of the people who will be providing a soundtrack for all the dog lovers to enjoy.
Asked how he got involved with Kingwood Barkfest, Robert replied, "I've known the co-founder of this event personally, ever since we were kids in the neighborhood. Jennifer Streets-Kitchen has worked with different agencies to raise awareness and funds for finding dogs forever homes in Houston. She is amazing and deserves so much credit for her passion and abilities to put these events together."
Speaking about his direct involvement with the festival, Robert continued. "This is the first year that Magic Moments Productions, which is myself and John Housman, will be part of this great cause. We will provide several services, DJ, MC and keeping the crowd pumped throughout the day."
Robert explains that Barkfest visitors can expect to hear a wide variety of music. "We will be playing multiple Genres for this event. From Pop to classic rock, hip/hop and classic 80's songs. I think some of the biggest challenges will be making sure that all the songs are family friendly. It takes us a lot of work to go through each song and then run them through our software to manually remove anything that might be deemed inappropriate, and of course the weather cooperating is important.
Providing services to an event like Barkfest is also a labor of love for Robert, as he continues:
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"We have four dogs, with two of them being rescues. We are passionate about promoting and helping dogs finding forever homes. We know the love and joy they can bring to families, or just anyone. We just want raise awareness for abused and homeless dogs and if they are having fun while they are there then we have done our job. We are used to doing many different type of events but we have never done anything exactly like this. We are positive that this will be one event that everyone should attend, especially dog lovers."
Stray dogs have a rough time, especially in big urban environments, so any event that helps raise awareness about the importance of adoption, and helps out area shelters, is worth supporting. Kingwood Barkfest was created out of a passion to help animals, and is well worth attending. Some visitors may well make new friends of both the two and four legged variety. The festival is located at Kingwood Town Center Park - 8 N. Main St. Houston, TX 77339. 281-360-5111