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Bark in the Park will wag its way into local hearts

The first “Bark in the Park Fun Run” is scheduled at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27, at Baker Park in New Castle

By DARREL RADFORD - dradford@thecouriertimes.com

Andy Rooney, the late radio and television broadcaster best known for his “60 Minutes” segments, once quipped “The average dog is nicer than the average person.”

If only Rooney could be in New Castle this Saturday.

For 90 minutes, Baker Park will become Barker Park, as the “Bark in the Park Fun Run” wags its way around a course lined with contests and treats for the animals as well as their best friends.

“The Bark in the Park Fun Run is a great way to kick off the summer, interact with the community and become involved,” New Castle Parks and Recreation Director Mike Bergum said. 

The non-competitive event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. will benefit the Baker Park Dog Park and the Henry County Humane Society.

The event is $15. Participants can preregister by 4 p.m. Thursday to get a T-shirt on the day of the event. Registration forms are available at www.cityofnewcastle.net/egovdouments/1553612175_82248.pdf.

Registration forms and fees can be dropped off or mailed to the mayor’s office, 227 N. Main St., New Castle, IN 47362.

“If you intend on being at the event and can’t pre-register, please email your information and intent to Mike-Bergum@cityofnewcastle.net,” Bergum said. “This will secure your spot and a T-shirt.”

Don’t own a dog? That’s no problem at this event.

Individuals who don’t own a dog can still participate by simply walking the course or by temporarily “adopting” a dog. Shelter dogs will be available for individuals to walk.

“This is a wonderful way for someone who does not own a dog to be part of the event,” Bergum said. “It is also a great way to give back to the Henry County Humane Society.”

Bergum explained the course will be a loop inside of Baker Park. Walkers and their dogs will make several loops around the course.

For the dogs, the event will be more than just a nose-sniffing sensation. 

• There will be stations around the course where walkers and their dogs can stop to participate in contests and enjoy treats. Local food favorite “Weenie World” will also be on hand with “pup cups.”

• The New Castle Animal Shelter Canine Good Citizen Program will be on site for dogs to become certified.

• Vendors will be on the course to provide information and products.

• Paws Up Pups of Muncie will provide opportunities for agility demonstrations and classes.

For the owners, dogged determination to take care of their animals will be rewarded by a variety of food vendors available to sell them some tasty rewards.

Also featured will the New Castle Police Department K9 dogs, who will be doing demonstrations.

Begum hopes the Bark In the Park Fun Run will become an annual event.

“This is a feel-good way to be part of something special and support a great cause,” Bergum said. “Walk your dog. Walk a shelter dog or just walk yourself. Any way you walk it, a difference will be made.”

The Bark In the Park will coincide with the 20th anniversary F.U.N. Playground celebration, also scheduled Saturday. That event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.