Halloween, Oktoberfest, dogs... It's not every day that you can enjoy so many great things at once. And in New Orleans, it's even rarer to have so many great things and perfect weather in the 60's and low 70's. But thanks to Dat Dog's annual "Barktoberfest" celebration—and a fortuitous fluke of a forecast—Saturday, October 22nd was just such a day.
Every weekend, Dat Dog hosts the Magazine St. Art Market in its courtyard from 12 p.m-6 p.m. Local vendors set up shop, selling a variety of handmade goods from jewelry to bath products to paintings. It's always a fun way to spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon; you can browse all the unique wares, support local artists, enjoy one of Dat Dog's endless varieties of outrageous hot dogs, and finish it all off with a sweet treat from Dat Iceroll, a pop-up specializing in custom rolled ice cream that's just as exciting to watch being made as it is to eat.
Once a year, however, the market gets into the fall spirit for this special themed event. DJ Sir Real set the musical mood with Halloween hits like "The Monster Mash," and many of the vendors had candy dishes set out at their booths so that shoppers could do a little trick-or-treating. In keeping with the Oktoberfest vibe, Dat Dog featured specials such as beer brats on pretzel buns and pretzels with beer infused cheese dip, as well as discounts on several of their beer selections.
At its heart, however, the event was all about the dogs. Owners dressed their pooches in their most creative Halloween attire for the costume contest, in which they paraded the pets across a stage for a delighted audience of animal-lovers. With categories like Ugliest Dog, Best Owner/Dog Look-a-Like, and Best Costume, the courtyard was full of smiles and laughter. Outfits included superheroes, food-inspired ensembles, different kinds of animal, and more. There was even a Ken Bone in the mix!
Guests could also purchase a raffle ticket or get one free by bringing a pet supply donation, with proceeds and donations benefiting Zeus' Place on Freret Street. Prizes included items from Zeus' Place or Jefferson Feed, Pet and Garden Center, as well as a grand prize of a bike from New Belgium Brewing. Zeus' Place also brought several adoptable furry friends along who were stealing hearts left and right.
Any member of the New Orleans community knows that food, music, and art have a way of bringing people together for a good time, but dogs add an extra something special to the atmosphere. Walking around and chatting with pet owners about their dogs' costumes, it was clear that all were beaming with pride for their four-legged family members. With everyone celebrating a mutual love for canines, there was an undeniable feeling of cheer in the air that went beyond holiday spirit... or unusually lovely weather!