By: Susan Erler | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: October 2013
Participants in last year’s Barktoberfest costume contest.
Outdoor activities and the cool, fall weather go hand in hand. Add into the mixture fun family events, including great entertainment, food, crafts, and adorable, furry animals, and you have the annual Owasso Harvest Festival.
This is the 9th year for this community-wide celebration, to be held Saturday, October 26 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Rayola Park, located at 8300 N. Owasso Expy. next to the YMCA and off Highway 169. Event coordinator April Dean says that it just keeps getting bigger and better. “Each year we add a new twist, making it even more fun and exciting for all who attend. Keeping things fresh, interesting and new is why people keep coming back.”
Inflatables for the children guarantee a good time for the young guests, and craft vendors are always a big hit with moms and others wishing to get a jump on Christmas shopping. The list of items and businesses that will be at the festival is growing every day. For the most up-to-date listing, check out the City of Owasso website and click on the Harvest Festival link. Older children will be thrilled to find out that a laser tag course is going to be at the festival again, and at no charge. The whole family will enjoy a number of tasty food trucks on hand including Andolini’s and Open Table.
Live entertainment throughout the day on the event stage is sure to add a festive atmosphere, and the first-ever Owasso Sings contest will showcase Owasso’s finest vocal performers, maybe even the next “American Idol” winner. “We are really excited to host a family-friendly and mostly free day for Owasso residents,” states April. “Being able to bring families together is important to us, and this is just one way to accomplish that.”
Probably the cutest part of the festival is the annual Barktoberfest hosted by the Owasso Animal Shelter. “Barktoberfest is a community event to support the Owasso Animal Shelter and to celebrate ‘Adopt a Shelter Dog Month,’” explains Brandon Hemsoth. “Shelter staff and members of the community plan the event, which offers an opportunity to meet your animal control officers and also learn how the current pet overpopulation affects the entire community.”
Barktoberfest has a wide array of vendors who attend, allowing local pet owners the chance to see a large group of organizations, products, and area veterinarians all gathered in one location. Merchandise and discount services designed to promote healthy and safe pets include low cost micro-chipping, nail trimming, vaccinations and much more. “We are very excited at the outpouring of support we receive each year. Just a few of the organizations that have already signed up to be a part of our event include: Pawsitively Pets Pet Care, SAHO, Therapetics Service Dogs of Oklahoma, CAARE, Inc., Companion Dog School of Tulsa, Washington County SPCA, Blow! Twist! Pop!, Spikes Place, Dog Training with Brenda, Bring Your Own Dog Pet Grooming and Boarding, Family Animal Medicine, K9 Officers Sordo and Benny, K9 Officers Avery and Asko, and Southern Agriculture.”
“Probably one of the best parts of this event is the number of shelter animals that get adopted that day,” adds Brandon. “It is great to see all the animal rescues and local shelters that bring their pets out to our event. It is heartwarming to see these animals become a part of a family. This is the main reason we host the event, and it makes all the hard work worth it!”
Be sure to keep watching the local City website (go to www.cityofowasso.com and click the "City Events" link) or like the Facebook pages for Owasso Harvest Festival and Barktoberfest for current information. It is a great day of food, fun and family, and a wonderful way to get to know your neighbors. You won’t want to miss the excitement! If you are interested in becoming a vendor or sponsor, or have any questions regarding the festival, please call April Dean at (918) 376-1504. The festival offers several sponsorship levels and is in need of gift card donations.