Barktoberfest is coming to Gilbert in a plan organizers say should double the size of the canine celebration.
The Town Council has given the Gilbert-based Friends for Life $1,000 and approval to use the Civic Center grounds for this weekend’s event.
Organizers with the nonprofit animal rescue group say the new site’s size and proximity to main roads should increase attendance over a Mesa park near Baseline and Gilbert roads used previously.
In the past, about 1,000 people have shown up with their pets, but the organization is seeking 2,000 this year.
“There is better exposure here than the Mesa property, because it was set back,” said Alison Ferrante, assistant town prosecutor and Friends for Life volunteer. “We totally appreciate Mesa always working with us.”
Ferrante, who owns two dogs, said the event will offer dog owners many chances to show off their pets’ skills and costumes, including Canine Idol, a best-dressed dog contest, a dog and owner lookalike contest, most creative trick, and “DogVinci” painting.
There also will be music and a DJ, hot dogs, a dogwash, pumpkin and face painting, a bouncy for kids, and tarot card and psychic readings for pets.
The group had planned to seek use of Gilbert’s Cosmo Park for the festivities, but because the park only recently opened and has less parking than the Civic Center, organizers opted for the larger site.
Greg Thomas, the police officer who worked with Cosmo, Gilbert’s first K-9 and namesake for the new park, will show off tricks with his current partner, Mike.
Friends for Life office manager and onsite caregiver Erica Wellman said there will be a variety of raffles, from baskets to plane tickets, to raise funds for animals in need.
“There’ll be plenty of things to look at, window shop and buy,” she said. “This is going to be one of our biggest events that we’ve had.”
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Gilbert Civic Center, 50 E. Civic Center Drive, near Gilbert and Warner roads.
Information: (480) 497-8296 or