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Thousands of people are expected to be in New Freedom on Saturday, Aug. 27, when the borough will be going to the dogs for the 12th year in a row.

Dogs' Day in the Park runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day at Marge Goodfellow Park, preceded by a one-mile Mutt Strutt, according to Stacey Helbig of Animal Rescue Inc. She is coordinating the annual event for the southern York County nonprofit no-kill rescue.

The dual events are Animal Rescue Inc.'s biggest fundraiser of the year, according to Helbig.

"It started out as something people came to because they have a love for dogs," she said. "But now it's really a community event."

Sure, many of the 100-plus vendors will be selling all kinds of puppy paraphernalia — things for Fido to wear, eat and play with.

But there's plenty to do for families that don't have dogs, she said.

Activities for kids: There will be arts and crafts for kids, face-painting for kids and a K-9 demonstration by Newberry Township Police Officer Chris Martinez and his K-9 partner, Tazer, according to Helbig.

The peanut butter-licking contest, however, is strictly for four-legged family members, as are the costume contest and awards for prettiest dog, funniest dog and dog with a face only a mom could love, she said.

Some games and contests are for both dogs and their people, Helbig said. They include Temptation Tower, during which humans build Jenga-like towers with dog treats while trying to keep their dogs from knocking over the towers and trying to eat the treats.

In the Clean Your Plate game, people must try to get their dogs to eat a succession of foods, Helbig said. The game starts out with foods any dog will happily scarf down — think cheese — and progresses to food items that few dogs would be willing to sample, such as lemon slices.

"There's games for everybody," Helbig said.

There's also human food and drinks for sale, and a vegan bake table.

"It's all cruelty-free food," she said.

People are encouraged to bring their dogs, Helbig said, but dogs must be socialized and on leashes. Flex-leads and retractable leashes are prohibited, she said.

Mutt Strutt: Animal Rescue Inc.'s annual Mutt Strutt starts at 9 a.m. that day, at the York County Heritage Rail Trail entrance at Goodfellow Park. For those who don't know the park by name, it's behind PeoplesBank and is also home to the New Freedom Lions Club Carnival.

To participate in the fundraising walk, visit the Dogs' Day in the Park/Mutt Strutt website at dogsdayinthepark.myevent.com and register as a walker. Then solicit donations through social media or in person. Once you've signed up as a participant, people who want to pledge money on your behalf can also do so at the website above.

First place in the Mutt Strutt is $500 cash, and all walkers who raise at least $10 will receive an event T-shirt and a goody bag for their dog.

Ten dollars will pay for rabies and distemper vaccines for a dog or cat; $30 will spay or neuter a cat; and $50 will feed a dog at the rescue for 30 days, according to the website.

Helbig said she's hoping between 2,000 and 3,000 people attend Dogs' Day in the Park this year. It poured during last year's event, she said, but some 900 people still showed up.

There's no admission fee and parking is free.

Animal Rescue Inc. has been rescuing stray and unwanted dogs and cats since 1976.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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