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FurFest 2018 was bigger and better than ever

Valerie Lick, [email protected] • Jul 9, 2018 at 11:46 AM

KINGSPORT — On Saturday evening, visitors to the Kingsport Dog Park were greeted by one of Fun Fest’s biggest block parties: FurFest, a “party for the pooches.”

2018 marks the third year of the dog park’s block parties. It gives dog owners — and, of course, their dogs — an opportunity to try out the 3.5-acre park. It also gives them a chance to support local animal shelters, pet product vendors and many more businesses.

“It’s bigger and better than ever!” said the dog park’s special events organizer, Johnnie Hennessee, as dogs and their owners socialized and visited different booths. “There’s so many more pets and vendors.”

The party’s 20-odd vendors offered clothes, food, and fun to hounds and humans. Human visitors bought hot dogs from Harpo Hot Dogz of East Tennessee while their pets snacked on homemade treats by All Creatures Bakery. Fashionable visitors shopped at Handbags 4 Hounds, which sells used purses to benefit local animal shelters, while many other vendors offered garb for their furry friends. Both dogs and their owners had an opportunity to relax; Johnson City Massage offered both canine and human massages.

Shelters like PetWorks, the Sullivan County Humane Society and the Unicoi County Animal shelter visited the park to show off adoptable dogs. Volunteers and foster owners held dogs in “adopt me” vests, while three adorable puppies romped and slept in a crate.

Dave Cole of the park’s board roamed the area, getting candid images of the dogs socializing, running and wading in pools for the park’s social media pages. Any dog owner knows how tough it is to get a picture of their pooch that isn’t a furry blur, but Dave manages.

“You’ve got to snap quick,” he says, taking a picture of a young boxer in a brief moment of stillness.

At 6:30, the pampered pooches watched as several of Kingsport’s K-9 officers demonstrated their skills. These working dogs, which ranged from seasoned old-timers to a romping youngster, showcased skills from playing tug-of-war to tracking down contraband.

Between refreshingly cool weather, various vendors, and a beautiful park, dogs and their owners had a great time. Longtime park members and new visitors alike turned out in full force, brought together by love for their furry friends.

“Best Fun Fest block party ever!” Johnnie said, laughing. “You can quote me on that!”

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