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Volunteers needed to assist with annual BarkFest Saturday

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Isaac Sivils enjoys getting his face painted at BarkFest 2013. The 2014 Brookhaven Animal Rescue League event is coming up Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the campus of the Mississippi School of the Arts.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / Isaac Sivils enjoys getting his face painted at BarkFest 2013. The 2014 Brookhaven Animal Rescue League event is coming up Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the campus of the Mississippi School of the Arts.

As America celebrates National Volunteer Week April 6-12, the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League is inviting area residents to get involved in the organization, and what better way to start that involvement than attending BarkFest Saturday?

Volunteers are still needed to help at the event, says BARL’s Volunteer Coordinator Jayne Wells. Anyone interested in volunteering is encouraged to contact Wells at 1lovestorescue@gmail.com or BarkFest Event Chairman Samantha Sivils at samanthasivils@gmail.com or 601-695-1987.

Held annually in the spring in Brookhaven, BarkFest is a celebration of rescued dogs and the people who love them, and will take place on the Mississippi School of Arts campus from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

BarkFest has activities planned for the whole family, including the family dog. The day-long event will include face painting, a dog show, dog painting, a jump house and an Easter egg hunt for the kids and dogs. All dogs attending BarkFest must be vaccinated, well behaved and leashed.

More than 1,000 eggs, half filled with candy and half with dog treats, are ready for the hunt. Children must be supervised and dogs must be leashed to participate in the Easter egg hunt. The hunts will run twice, once at 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m.

The “Brookminster – Like Westminster. Only Better” dog show will begin at 10 a.m. Fun categories are included, such as Most Terrific Trick, Least Obedient, Best Smile, Most Vocal, Celebrity Doppleganger, Twinsies, Most Glamorous, Obedience School Drop Out and Wiggliest Bum.

Each dog show category will be $8 or $30 for unlimited categories. Registration will be hold at the BARL merchandise booth until 9:30 a.m. Participants are entered into a drawing for a grooming session with Classy Clips.

Chicken strip plate tickets are currently being sold for $8 each. Each plate includes four hand-breaded chicken strips, fries, special sauce and a cookie.

Plates may be picked up from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Contact Dawn Daw at 601-695-4745 to purchase tickets. This will be the only food at the event, with the exception of the Bakery Booth, which will sell a variety of cakes, pies, cookies and other sweets.

BARL volunteers will have numerous adoptable dogs onsite to meet and greet the public. Anyone adopting a BARL animal that day will be entered into a drawing for a one-hour photo session with BARL’s official photographer, Samantha Sivils.

Percy King will be onsite with his menagerie of exotic animals, including 10-foot pythons, alligators, hedgehogs, turtles, birds and more.

The Transformers Car Club of Mississippi will be joined by The Camaro Car Club of Mississippi at BarkFest. The Transformers have both vehicles and matching robot costumes.

Live entertainment throughout the day will feature the music of Stone Water.

A new addition to BarkFest is the “Color My Paws Race for Rescues” to be held the morning of the event. BARL volunteers are ready with 100 pounds of pink, blue, yellow and green colored powder to toss at the runners.

Registration for the race will be in the Gregg’s Office Supply parking lot directly across from the library at 6:30 a.m. Categories will include a 5K run/walk, the dog trot and a kids’ one-mile fun run. Adult registration is $25, children is $10 and dogs, $5. Participants will be entered into a drawing to win four tickets to the Angola Prison Rodeo.

Various vendors will be selling unique items, and a lemonade stand by Raising Cane’s will be serving cool drinks.

A merchandise booth will sell BARL T-shirts, hats and memberships. Anyone purchasing a BARL membership or renewing a membership will be entered into a drawing for six tickets to a Mississippi Braves baseball game, and purchasers of BARL T-shirts will be entered into a drawing for a gift basket from Cane’s.

BarkFest also will feature other door prizes and drawings.

The idea for BarkFest came about from the MSA students’ desire to raise awareness of the work BARL does in the community. For more information on BarkFest, please contact Sivils at samanthasivils@gmail.com or 601-695-1987.

BARL is a non-profit organization serving Copiah, Franklin and Lincoln counties. BARL provides food, shelter and veterinary services for abandoned and unwanted animals until they are adopted. All BARL animals are vet checked, vaccinated and spayed/neutered. Dogs are also micro-chipped.

Anyone interested in adopting, contributing or volunteering should contact BARL at 601-757-4367 or info@barl.net. Donations are tax deductible and may be mailed to BARL, P.O. Box 3477, Brookhaven, MS 39603.

Many of BARL’s adoptable animals may be viewed online at www.barl.net