Dogs will be happy at this year’s Barktoberfest, held Saturday at Lions Club Park, where they will be allowed to swim.

“This is the first year that we are opening the Family Aquatic Center for dogs to swim and we are really excited about that,” said Sherry Wolfe, recreational superintendent for the Killeen Parks and Recreation Department.

Wolfe said she attended similar gatherings in other cities, such as Puppypaloosa in Harker Heights, and her pomeranian, Stewie, always responded positively to the swimming.

“I’ve gone to other events that have water and my dog loves it,” Wolfe said.

The event will feature dog obedience demonstrations, pet vendors, pet adoptions, dog competitions and lots of friendly sniffing in the off-the-leash play area.

“Dogs love to get out to the park and socialize with other dogs,” Wolfe said. “All of the owners are very courteous and aggressive dogs don’t usually come to this event.”

The festival will start at 9 a.m., with a blessing of the animals performed by Father Vincent Romuald, associate pastor at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Killeen.

Deacon Jim Rodgers, who also performs animal blessings at the church, said the blessing includes a reading of prayers and an anointing of the animals with holy water.

“We bless creatures to continue to bring that love into their family,” Rodgers said. “People love their pets because they hang around for a lot of years and they don’t ask for much.”

A disc catch competition begins at 11 a.m. The Pooch Pageant, which includes categories of best pooch smooch, pet-owner look-alike, best trick, smallest dog, tallest dog and best costume begins

at noon.

For more information, call Killeen Parks and Recreation at (254) 501-8889.

Contact Brandon Janes at or (254) 502-7552.

Contact Brandon Janes at or (254) 501-7552

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