Saturday, May 11th marks the date of the fourth annual Paws Humane Society Barks & Blues Festival. What began as a modest attempt to bring more families onto the Paws campus drew such a crowd that we had to move it to Woodruff Park last year. This year we expect over 3,000 attendees and we can hardly wait till the music starts at 4:00 pm. The Festival now has its own website www.barksandblues.com where you can find more information.

Barks & Blues is a family friendly event with something for everyone. Our Kid Zone will be situated near the splash pad at Woodruff Park and will feature a bouncy house with a slide, crazy hair, face painting and crafts. CORTA will be there as well with racquets and tennis balls.

Columbus’ finest food trucks will be cookin’ up barbeque, smoked sausage, hamburgers, hotdogs and funnel cakes. There will be plenty of ice cream and shaved ice to cool you down as the Festival heats up. Be sure to bring your appetite. And, of course, you can’t have the blues without plenty of beer.

This is a dog friendly event with an adoptions tent. Dress up your pet and she may be one of the lucky 15 chosen to enter the pet costume contest which will be held at 5:45 that afternoon.

We are fortunate once again to have our dear friends, Neal Lucas and his trio, get the music started. They are a well-loved Columbus staple, known for their mix of jazz, blues and southern rock. The Mark Sasser Ensemble, my personal favorite, will return to the Festival this year with music that is, “Infused with the Blues and is Good for the Soul!”

Our music line up has something for everyone. GP38, a four-piece band from Muscle Shoals, Alabama delivers high-energy performances of real country music along with all your southern and classic rock favorites. This will be their second year at the Festival. In addition, we are adding local country band, Jonboy Storey to the line-up.

Damn Skippy is also returning to the Festival this year. They are described as a “full on party rock cover band with influences from Van Halen to Guns and Roses, Metallica and Hank Williams, Jr.”

Prepare to be wowed by this year’s headliner, the Heather Gillis Band, coming to us from Nashville. This high-energy group is going to blow your hair back with their blend of rock, soul, jazz, roots and gospel. Heather is a singer/songwriter who knows her way around a blues guitar. You will want to stay up past your bed time for this one.

If you love music and you love animals then this is the place to be on May 11. Best of all admission to the 2018 Barks & Blues Festival is FREE! That is thanks to our amazing sponsors, especially the Stelzenmuller Rescues.