A popular event aimed at improving a local haven for dogs returns this weekend.
The Jacksonville Bark Park Initiative’s Bunny Bash returns to the Bark Park this Sunday. The event allows for dogs and their owners alike to get out in the park and enjoy some Easter holiday fun.
Jacksonville Bark Park Initiative Committee Chair Abbi Stevens says the committee wasn’t able to hold the event the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so they are excited for it to return this year.
Stevens says the Bunny Bash’s main event lets dogs have an Easter egg hunt of their own, of sorts. “It’s basically a tennis ball, quote Easter egg hunt. We put tennis balls throughout the park and the owners can come in and sign their pups up for five dollars a pup, and they get a little goody bag and then get to hunt for tennis balls. We usually allow two to three balls per pup according to how many dogs attend.
The balls are numbered so then they come back and we draw random numbers for prizes. We usually have several prize baskets that we give away. It’s just a fun time for the animals and their owners and it’s fun to see the dogs get so excited.”
The event will also have a small vendor fair with items for both dogs and owners alike. Stevens says there will also be a special guest and the opportunity for attendees to take home a memento from the day spent at the part with their favorite four-legged family member.
“The Easter Bunny will make an appearance, and we have Wormowski Photography, they’ve always been great and were instrumental in the park as well. They have always volunteered their photography services to the park, which is awesome. So they are going to be there and attendees can get their picture taken with their pet, or their pet alone, the kids can join in. A five by seven print is the result and it’s fifteen dollars.”
A 50/50 drawing will also be held during the event with tickets costing $1.00 or six tickets for $5.00. Stevens says a pet costume contest will be held at the end of the event if there are enough dogs there in costume, with prizes being awarded to the winners.
Proceeds from the Bunny Bash help support future upgrades to the park. Stevens says a recent upgrade was the new dog water fountains that were installed and first turned on right before the pandemic hit. She says those fountains will be working this weekend and throughout the rest of the year.
Stevens says the Jacksonville Bark Park Initiative is a 501c3 non-profit that works to promote and upgrade the park. She says although the park is managed by the City of Jacksonville, the Bark Park Initiative works under the umbrella of the Jacksonville Park Foundation.
Registration for The Bunny Bash begins Sunday at 12:30 pm with the event and tennis ball easter hunt beginning at 1:00. For more information on the Jacksonville Bark Park Bunny Bash, go to the Bark Park Initiative Facebook page.