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Everything you need to know about this weekend's "Coachella for Dogs" on Pier 97

Will Gleason
Written by
Will Gleason

All dogs might go to heaven, but while they’re still wagging their tales in this life, give them a taste of puppy nirvana this Sunday at BarkFest. Created by pet-supplies subscription service BarkBox, this annual blowout (now in its second year) is turning Pier 97 into a world’s fair for hounds, with three different themed pavilions, performances, celebrity appearances and delicious grub. 

See Spot run
At the Shape Up Pavilion, both humans and their fur babies can release their caged-up energy with games like Pupp Putt Mini Golf, during which people try to putt a tennis ball into a hole before their four-legged friend gets a chance to steal it. For less hands-on owners, Run Around the World lets dogs jump over obstacles like the Great Wall of China and swim in the Nile River. Shake off after all the activity in a giant, colorful ball pit where you can get your picture taken.

Be a culture hound
The Arts & Culture Pawvillion is the digging grounds for more refined canines. Pups can have their portraits drawn by caricature artists in front of famous monuments or appreciate dog-themed sculptures and paintings in the Pawp Art exhibit. Delight one of your best friend’s keener senses with “Sniff Around the World”—an exhibit presenting yummy and pleasant smells. Then, inspire your pup to be more like Rin Tin Tin or Lassie with the exhibit “Famous Dogs in History.” 

Learn new tricks
The third and final stop in the world fair, the Innovation Pavilion, is a small consumer electronics pop-up featuring creations originally funded through Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns. Among the futuristic gizmos on display: a Furbo dog camera that catches video while you’re away from home and CleverPet, a game console that engages your dog through puzzles and treats. If this is your favorite portion, be sure to mark your territory with the Hydrants of the Future & Pee Zone. 

Meet a few top dogs
You and your best pal can wag your tails to live music from Brooklyn bands Great Caesar, a chamber rock band, and Tanlines, an electronic/indie-rock duo that cranks out danceable jams. Also, meet Internet-famous pooches Tuna and Marnie—an Instagram shot with either might add a bump to your less-than-viral pet account. 

Fetch some treats
If all the excitement has you both running around in circles, take a break to wolf down tasty bites from local food trucks like Neopolitan Express’s organic pizza or all-American fare (hot dogs, burgers, chicken tenders) from Yankee Doodle Dandey’s, and lap up suds from Brooklyn Lager and Blue Moon. (Expect plenty of pet treats as well.) At the end of the day, reward your dog for playing nicely by gifting a new toy from the Pup Up Shop. We have our eye on a politically themed chew toy like the Dognald (Trump) or Hillary Kitten. 

BarkFest is at Pier 97 Sun 22 2–8pm. $40–$130, admission price for one human and up to two dogs.

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