Four-legged fun: Barktoberfest returns to Helena for fourth time

Published 1:19 pm Monday, October 22, 2018

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA – The Helena Amphitheater was full of fur the afternoon of Sunday, Oct. 21, as dogs and their owners took in all the festivities at the fourth annual Barktoberfest.

Barktoberfest is a family-friendly event hosted by Two-by-Two Animal Rescue in Helena which aims to bring fun for the whole family to the annual fundraising festival.

More than 45 vendors filled the Helena Amphitheater that included plenty of specialized dog vendors, food trucks, a kid’s zone with bouncy houses, face painting, pony rides, a bake sale, artists and more.

Other highlights of Barktoberfest included an off leash dog park, a dog adoption center, low cost vaccines and microchips, celebrity dogs who showed off their talents, door prizes, a silent auction, a photo booth, a gift shop filled with Two-by-Two Rescue gear and more.

Jennifer Nolan, who has volunteered at Two-by-Two Animal Rescue for seven years serves as one of the festival directors alongside Kellie McKinney, believes the festival has grown every year.

“We doubled the vendors with over 45 this year and over 100 volunteers,” Nolan said. “I think it just gets bigger every year. I like the off leash dog park that we offer because it gives a place for the dogs to run and play with other dogs their size. Another huge highlight is our low cost shot clinic because it gives an opportunity for people who have animals and they don’t have the money to get them vetted and come and get shots.”

Roughly one hour into the festival, volunteer Trudy Johnson noted that more than 1,500 people had already attended Barktoberfest which was close to the entire attendance mark from a year ago.

Two-by-Two Animal Rescue is a 501 C (3) no-profit, no-kill organization. Two-by-Two began in 2002 when Sonya Smith began feeding strays in Old Town Helena, according to their website.

She noticed another concerned citizen had been leaving food for them too and placed a note in a bowl. The note was found. They met and combined their efforts to rescue the many stray dogs dodging traffic.

For more information on Two-by-Two Animal Rescue and Barktoberfest, visit