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Arts school students, BARL team up for first BARK FEST

The Mississippi School for the Arts’ BARK Club and Brookhaven Animal Rescue League have teamed up to host the first BARK FEST on Sunday.

     The event will run from noon to 4 p.m. at the MSA campus in downtown Brookhaven.

     Lu Becker, president of BARL’s board of directors, said the event was the idea of MSA students, who wanted to do something for BARL volunteers.

     “This is a celebration of rescue animals and the people who love them,” Becker said.

     The event kicks off with a “SPAY-ghetti” plate lunch, which costs $7 and includes all the trimmings. Plates can be picked up starting at noon at the MSA Student Life Center drive-thru and later at the festival. Tickets can be purchased from Martha Morgan at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer or from a BARL board member.

     Starting at 12:30 p.m., local musicians will be on hand to entertain the crowd and the music will continue until 4 p.m. Event-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on while enjoying the music.

     Other festivities include games such as Prancing with the Stars, a Golf Ball Relay, Water Relay, Dress-up Relay and a Brook-minister Dog Show. There will be a Smooch-Your-Pooch kissing booth featuring a BARL puppy, and a Pampered Pooch Booth, where dogs can get their nails painted and bows in their hair.

     More fun can be had at the “E-Pawmony” booth, which matches dogs and owners based on personality and a show to decide such things as cutest dog, smartest dog and owner-dog look-a-like, among others. Trainers will also be on hand doing demonstrations of basic commands.

     For kids, there will be an Eye-of-the-Tiger face-painting booth and Mr. Charley’s Fun Jump and train rides.

     “There’s something for all ages,” Becker said. “Everyone will be able to enjoy this day.”

     Those interested in BARL merchandise can check out The Cat’s Meow Resale Shop, which will have T-shirts, cookbooks and more.

     The community is invited to bring their leashed pets to BARK FEST, and BARL animals will be available to participate in the games and for adoption.

     There will be a small fee for some of the events, and all proceeds will go to BARL for the upkeep and care of animals. Becker said the community has donated a lot of the needed items for the festival.

     “The community has been very supportive in planning, helping and volunteering,” Becker said. “We’d like [BARK FEST] to become an annual event.”

     She said that BARL is “always trying to educate and keep the public aware of what a tremendous need there is to help abandoned and unwanted animals.”

     For more information about BARK FEST, or to volunteer, call Becker at (601) 754-2000 or email info@barl.net.