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RACINE — Billy’s Posse Inc., a lost dog search and recovery team, is partnering with 5Kevents.org to present the Racine community with its first official Bark in the Park pet festival, in conjunction to the Root River 5K.

Various community organizations, businesses and nonprofits will meet up at Island Park, 1698 Liberty St., for Racine’s first annual “Bark in the Park” pet festival.

Entry to the pet festival is free; however, an additional cost is required for the 5K. The event welcomes well-behaved leashed dogs and their humans.

From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. pooches and their pals can meet for a full day of fun at Bark in the Park.

The festival will feature an optional walk/run, a free microchip clinic, pet food giveaways, a dog costume contest, children’s activities, food trucks, adoptable dogs, K9 demonstrations, a beer garden, vendors, raffles, and more.

Live music performances by Spirit Shakers and Cheryl McCrary will take place. Additionally, McCrary will be the host for the day as the event’s emcee. An appearance from Miss Racine, Maria Jose Castillo Venegas is also expected.

Root River 5k Run/Walk

The day will kick off with registration at 8 a.m. for the Root River 5K. Registration is $35 per participant for the walk/run and can be completed online.

The funds raised from the walk/run will benefit Billy’s Posse. Financial support from this event helps the organization continue to serve Southeastern Wisconsin. The walk/run will start at 9 a.m. and dogs are welcome to participate in this portion of the festival as well.

Kristin Wilson, Assistant Director of Billy’s Posse, spoke about the costs of running the volunteer organization.

Expenses like insurance and data plans for their trail cams are due every month, while the organization must also pay for supplies for the volunteers, traps, trail cameras, website, and other administrative costs.

“It all adds up real quick,” she said.

Bark in the Park Pet Festival

The Root River 5K took place to benefit Billy’s Posse last year to help with all of the expenses. New for this year is the addition of Bark in the Park in the City of Racine.

Ideal Location

“During last year’s 5k, we realized the neighboring community is who calls us to transport found dogs to the shelter because they don’t have gas or a car,” said Wilson. “That made us realize they probably don’t get to the vet or shelter, or can’t afford to get their dogs microchipped.”

In light of the challenge, the volunteer organization is providing a solution by utilizing Island Park for Bark in the Park.

“There was never anything big coming to them in the beautiful park. We wanted to share the park with our supporters, and the community, and provide some needed services,” she explained, “such as the microchip clinic.”

Microchip Clinic

Stop by for a day full of interaction with furry friends, shopping, and meeting dogs in need of homes at this community-centered event. Two important aspects of the event are the microchip clinic and the food giveaway.

If you have a pet who needs to be microchipped, come early to the event. Pet Key has donated 300 microchips. Volunteers will be on-site assisting. The free microchip clinic will be in the pavilion. Owners are able to make arrangements by calling 262-833-7480 for the clinic.

Pet food giveaway

Likewise, those in need of pet food can benefit by coming to Bark in the Park. Pets of our Future, a new nonprofit in Racine, is sponsoring this portion of the event and pet food will be available at no cost.

Raffles and Auctions

Bark in the Park will also be hosting raffles and a silent auction. Two of the biggest items are tickets to a Milwaukee Admirals hockey game and a donated signed football from the 2021 Green Bay Packers. There will also be 50/50 raffles and chances to win items from local businesses.

Supported by:

Bark in the Park is supported and sponsored by many local businesses and organizations. The festival will feature vendors, financial support, donations and appearances from the following:

  • Billy’s Posse
  • Chewy
  • Petco
  • Pet Key
  • Havahart Pets
  • Toppers
  • Chay’s Tae Kwon Doe
  • Racine Zoo
  • O’Reilly Auto Parts
  • Joey’s Yardarm
  • Sebastian’s
  • Color Street
  • Biggie Paws Rescue
  • Milwaukee Admirals
  • Washington Park Municipal Golf Course
  • Bentley’s Pet Stuff
  • Buckhorn Bar & Grill
  • Three Spoiled Dogs Bakery & Pet Sitting
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Lakefront Brewery
  • Mel Marie
  • InSinkErator
  • Bay Rights Auto Parts
  • Rot’s Hots
  • Pets of our Future
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Central Bark
  • PetU
  • Katie’s K9 Klubhouse
  • Castle Lanes
  • Creative Construction of Wisconsin
  • Boathouse Pub & Eatery
  • Home Depot
  • Kenosha Kingfish
  • Teezer’s Bar & Grill
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Strawberry Fields Animal Rescue Illinois
  • 5K Events

More information about the event and activities can be found online. There is still time to sign up as a sponsor or vendor. Visit the event’s website to get involved. Find up-to-date information on the Billy’s Posse Facebook page.


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