The annual dog-themed festival, Bark and Paw, is back for the ninth year. To be held rain or shine Saturday in downtown Denison, Bark and Paw will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday and will continue until 2 p.m.


While social dogs are welcome, all dogs must be leashed and proof of current vaccinations is required.


Here are five things for event patrons to know before heading over to Heritage Park on Main Street Saturday.


1. The race begins before the vendors open


The Denison Animal and Welfare Group will be hosting a 5K and fun run before the festival begins. Dogs and humans can take part in the 5K. Race registration begins at 7 a.m. and vendors will open for business at 9 a.m.


“We have about 24 vendors registered for the festival that starts at 9,” Main Street Director Donna Dow said. “That is a little more than we had last year.”


2. Contests will be held throughout the day


After the 10 a.m. blessing of the dogs, there will be Wiener dog races and small dog races. Then comes the tail wag and ugliest dog contest. There will also be master and dog look-alike and dress-alike contests.


A complete list of events will be available on site Saturday.


3. The most popular events are generally the puppy parade and the Wiener dog races


The dog parade is at 11 a.m. and Dow said that event generally has the most entrants.


“People really like those and we have the most people present for both of those events,” Dow said. “People really like the parade too because that can include everyone.”


The theme for this year’s festival is luaus and the best dressed contest for those in the theme will be at noon.


4. Dogs must be present to receive awards


Dow said that in the past it has been hard to keep larger dogs entertained during competitions where they cannot compete. This year, there have been changes made to the contests so dogs do not have to stay on site all day to receive their prizes.


“We did not do any new events, but we kind of took another approach to the ones we have,” Dow said. “For instance, the big dogs had to stand around all day for the biggest dog competition. So, many left before we had the contest. Now, we have an open time so people can register then come back for their events.”


All dogs have to be present at 2 p.m. for award announcements. At that time, the best of show, or dog with the most points from contests throughout the day, will be announced.


5. Pet adoptions and microchipping will be taking place on site.


After DAWG hosts its 5K in the morning, staff members from the organization will be microchipping dogs for $10 per dog.


“Unless we have severe weather, everything will be going on according to plan,” Dow said. “Follow our Facebook pages to know if there are any changes throughout the day.”


For more information, visit http://www.Facebook.com/BarkAndPawsDenison.


Future Brown is the Lifestyles and Entertainment Editor for Texoma Marketing and Media Group. She can be reached at SBrown@HeraldDemocrat.com.