Duluth holds first 'Bark at the Park'

DULUTH - Atlanta has painted cows, Sandy Springs has its turtles and Duluth will now have painted pooches.

To celebrate the "Dog Days of Duluth" and the unveiling of the 25 painted canine sculptures, the city will be holding its first "Bark at the Park" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the downtown green space near Main Street. The festival will be open to real dogs too, Downtown Manager Elizabeth Rudin said.

"We wanted to host a pet-friendly event with lots of vendors selling dog-related items," Rudin said. "There will also be pet adoptions with several rescue shelters and breeders on hand from Atlanta and the surrounding area," she said.

Watering stations and plenty of shaded areas will also be available in case the temperature reaches uncomfortable highs.

"Dog Days of Duluth" is a public art fundraising event presented by the Red Clay Theatre and Arts Center. The event is intended to bring together artists, business and social groups, sponsors and residents to enrich the community of Duluth, as well as to raise funds for the Duluth Historical Society Strickland House Fund.

Rudin said the sculpted dogs were crafted by professional artists and that they run the gamut on breeds, naming Saint Bernards, Bulldogs and Labrador Retrievers as a few. She said they'll be shown off downtown over the next few months and will then be auctioned off at the Duluth Fall festival in late September.

"It's really going to be a lot of fun," she said.