30 DAYS OF FREE – NEW ORLEANS: Day Twenty Seven

Activity: Barktoberfest

Difficulty rating: easy to get in, hard to believe.

I was out of town for a while and forced to take a hiatus from my New Orleans blogging, but this has worked out nicely because the last few days of free are now coinciding with Halloween. This is a festival that America takes very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that they make the holiday accessible to everyone, even people who would otherwise be unable to celebrate Halloween, for example, because they are dogs.

A fine education program for the differently abled

Barktoberfest is one of a string of spooky, dog-themed parties across the city which celebrate, I suppose, scary dogs. The dogs were all dressed in costumes, doing fairground attractions like bobbing for tennis balls or the boxer kissing booth, and every dog got a little trick-or-treat bag to take home. Aside from the unsettling ethical choice of making dogs wear clothing, there was nothing overtly frightening about a bichon frize dressed as a shark or a baby dachshund dressed as a bee.

Except how cute it is!!!

My favourite part of the festival was the choice of musical entertainment. The stage time was shared between two different acts; one was a middle-of-the-road, old man cover band who played the finest selection of well worn, family friendly hits that you could sing in your sleep, the other act was a gaudy, semi-naked drag queen with a Lady Gaga wig who mimed to jazzed up versions of Top 20 pop songs. When the band took a break the drag queen would leap up and perform a flirty dance to Lovefool by the Cardigans, then the old men would hop back up and do another chorus of Brown Eyed Girl. I can only imagine that two staff members of Barktoberfest had cousins who were performers and they just decided to run with both.

While it was definitely a lovely and bizarre event, it made me miss my Good Dog back in Australia. She would’ve loved to sniff all those butts and vomit up a pile of nutria chews. Plus, it would’ve been nice to have a dog at a dog-themed party, like it’s nice to have money at a bank or a child at a school play. Without one you’re kinda thinking “why am I here? And why did they cast Timmy as Lear? He has the emotional range of an eight year old.” All the humans were a little distracted with breaking up dog fights before they happened and I just kept saying “my dog is in Melbourne” a lot so people didn’t think I was a dog pedophile while I was patting their pups.

Here’s a picture of the best dog costume. The Unicorgi!!