CONYERS — With the opening of Rockdale County’s first dog park in June, the annual Pink Pooch Festival is moving from Olde Town Conyers. The festival will take place on Sunday, Oct 13, from 2 to 6 p.m., at Richardson Park on Union Church Road in south Rockdale,

Tara Huchel-Nestich of The Pampered Puppy in Conyers began the Pink Pooch Parade and Festival in 2012 to bring humans and canines together in honor of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with pink being the official color of the cause. Dog owners were invited to wear pink and bring their furry friends out to Olde Town for a leisurely stroll in the parade, then take part in the festivities afterwards.

But with the opening of the new dog park in June, Huchel-Nestich said the decision was made to move the event to Richardson Park.

“Part of the reason the Pink Pooch Parade started was we were originally on the committee to build the dog park eight or nine years ago,” she said. “We had some town hall meetings and it just didn’t go over well. So we said we would start doing some animal or dog events in the public, and that’s kind of where the Pink Pooch Parade began. But when the dog park opened, we decided what better place to have the Pink Pooch Festival than at our county’s brand new dog park.

“We’re not having a parade, but we’re having a survivor’s walk on the football field,” Huchel-Nestich added. “It will be similar to the parade — there just won’t be vehicles — we’ll have the Girl Scouts carrying the flag and the ROTC, and we have 111 dogs registered to take part. We’ve had a really big response this year.

“There will also be food trucks this year. We’ve never had food trucks. And there will be a separate section with inflatables for children. We also have a pink pony coming for kiddie rides.”

The dog park features two fenced in areas — one for dogs under 30 pounds and one for dogs over 30 pounds — with agility equipment such as doggy crawls, hoop jumps and hill climbs, dog grooming tables, dog friendly water fountains, dog waste stations and park benches for owners. It was built with SPLOST dollars.

Rockdale County Commission Chair Oz Nesbitt Sr. said he is “super excited” about the Pink Pooch Festival taking place at the new dog park.

“So there are going to be pink pooches all over the dog park,” said Nesbitt. “If you’ve not been to the Pink Pooch Parade, this is the eighth year we’ve had it. We encourage you to come on out and bring the kids. Even if you don’t own a pet you can come out and see all these wonderful pets dressed up and decked out in their pink.

“But it is all about breast cancer awareness, and what a unique way to bring awareness to breast cancer by highlighting your pooches and your dogs and your pets.”

The festival will feature music, food trucks, raffles, a survivor’s walk for breast cancer survivors, a pet show, and a pet contest. There will also be an array of vendors not only for those attending, but also for their pooches, including doggie bakeries, local veterinarians and dog trainers.

To register for the pet show and pet contest, email pinkpoochparade@gmail.com or call 770-712-7653.

Richardson Park is located at 3779 Union Church Road, just south of Ga. Highway 138. It has a Stockbridge address, but is located in Rockdale County.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.