CHESTERTON | The annual Bark in the Park in Chesterton was a howling success in that there was no howling and only happy panting and tail wagging on the downtown square Saturday.
Paul Bykowski and his wife, Geri, of Portage, enjoyed an Italian ice as they watched the many breeds and sizes of dogs pass by, but they didn't bring a dog to the pet-oriented event.
"My wife wanted to go to the farmers market, and it was bigger than we expected," Paul Bykowski said. "It's nice to see all the people in the park. We might go get our granddaughter with her dog."
Ken and Pam Snow, of Valparaiso, brought Bailey, a friendly black-and-white pooch, but said they weren't planning to enter her in any of the contests for cutest dog or best trick or other events.
"We came just to see the people and meet other dogs," Pam Snow said. "We were walking up the sidewalk and (Bailey) was pulling the leash because she couldn't wait to get here. I'm amazed at all the sizes, colors and shapes of the dogs."
Maggie, a bichon. and Molly, a shih tzu, were brought by their owner, Pat Tener, of Valparaiso.
"We've been here a couple of times," Tener said. "It's a neat event. I love seeing all the different dogs, and it's good for my dogs to socialize."
Among the pet-related booths, visitors could let their dog paint a masterpiece "PawCasso" or, for a dollar, get a case of puppy love at the puppy kisses booth. There were plenty of treats for people, too, with food booths for almost any taste and fresh produce.
Mary Acton was selling delicately decorated eggs in several sizes from chicken to ostrich, but she wasn't interested in having the dogs visit her display.
"I have to keep the dogs out, especially the ones with the big tails," Acton said.