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JAR Interview: Unleashing Joy at the Holiday Barkzaar at The Barnacle in Miami's Coconut Grove

Step into a slice of Florida's history at the Barnacle Historic State Park, the verdant backdrop for this year's festive Holiday Barkzaar. (Photo credit: Leonard J. DeFrancisci)
Step into a slice of Florida's history at the Barnacle Historic State Park, the verdant backdrop for this year's festive Holiday Barkzaar. (Photo credit: Leonard J. DeFrancisci)

Welcome to another vibrant feature at Just Add Rover, where we explore the heart of pet-friendly community events. Today, we're offering you an exclusive inside look at the Holiday Barkzaar, nestled in the lush backdrop of Barnacle Historic State Park in Miami's picturesque Coconut Grove. This event is not just a marketplace but a celebration of community, local entrepreneurship, and the deep bond between dogs and their owners. Frankie Berti, co-founder of Equipaws Pet Services, unveils the details of this heartwarming event, set to take place on November 18th from 11 am to 4 pm. Join us in a setting that's as beautiful as it is festive. (Editor's note: Having frequented the Barnacle myself, I can personally attest to the park's enchanting allure!)


Key Takeaways

  • Community and Philanthropy: Equipaws Pet Services is deeply rooted in giving back, evident in their extensive involvement with local charities, community events, and their dedication to creating social opportunities for pets and their owners.

  • Engagement and Entertainment: The Holiday Barkzaar isn't just about shopping; it's an immersive experience offering fun activities like the dog lure course and the Santa Paws Photos, which provide safe and stimulating entertainment for dogs of all breeds and energy levels.

  • Supporting Local Businesses: The event is a hub for pet owners to connect with local vendors and pet professionals, from trainers and veterinarians to boutique artisans, showcasing the vibrant pet-centric entrepreneurship in Miami.


Celebrating the festive season, this promotional snapshot from Equipaws Pet Services showcases vibrant vendor booths gracing the lawns of Barnacle Historic State Park during the Holiday Barkzaar event. (Photo credit: Equipaws Pet Services)
Celebrating the festive season, this promotional snapshot from Equipaws Pet Services showcases vibrant vendor booths gracing the lawns of Barnacle Historic State Park during the Holiday Barkzaar event. (Photo credit: Equipaws Pet Services)

Q: What inspired the creation of the Holiday Barkzaar?


A: One of Equipaws Pet Services’ core values is giving back to the community by creating opportunities for pets and their parents to socialize, supporting local businesses, and supporting pet rescues. We’ve helped organize Woofstock, an annual fundraiser every first Sunday of May, for the Barnacle Historic State Park for many years, so it made sense to bring the same opportunity during the holiday season. The cooler weather and the anticipation of happy holidays and early shopping bring a lot of pets and their parents out!


We truly believe in supporting local businesses and helping our community of pet lovers grow! We are sponsors and members of many organizations to honor our belief in the importance of community. We’re also:


  • Members of the Rotary Club of South Miami. Flavia [Berti, Equipaws Pet Services Owner] has been a member of the board for six years and co-chair of the South Miami Rotary Art Festival.

  • Member of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce in Miami

  • Member of the Howloween Planning Committee for Paws4You and sponsor for their First Aid Tent

  • Sponsor for the Dog First Aid Tent for Paws in the Pool at Venetian Pool, Coral Gables

  • Member of the marketing committee for the SOMI Art Fest (new name of the South Miami Rotary Art Festival)

  • Women4Success Committee Member

  • Organizer for raffle benefiting Ashley’s Legacy a 501(c)3 that provides financial resources to established kitten rescues involved in saving unwanted, abandoned or homeless kittens in Miami.

  • Organized Woofstock, benefiting Barnacle Historic State Park and the dog rescue chosen for the year ( ex. Paw Patrol Animal Rescue & Sanctuary)

  • Sponsor monthly dog-friendly events at the Barnacle Historic State Park like movie night

  • We lead pack walks monthly (South Miami & Coral Gables areas) for doggy and human socialization

Q: Can you share more about the activities and attractions, such as the Dog Lure Course and Off-Leash Dog Fun Zone?


A: The Happy with Dogs Dog Lure Course is a fun and humane version of live game coursing, where dogs hunt by sight. Dogs chase a mechanical lure, which is usually a white plastic bag tied to a string. The lure is quickly pulled by a machine through the grass or course. It’s run by a lure operator (in this case, Happy with Dogs, a local dog training company), the mechanical lure has a string run through a set of pullies. When the plastic lure is pulled, it replicate a small animal running, stimulating your dog’s natural prey instinct. It’s so much fun for dogs who have a lot of energy, who love to chase, or who are hunting breeds. It’s an oportunity for them to have fun in a safe, controlled environment and to exercise, as well. Our lure course was donated and is being run by Happy with Dogs, as mentioned above.


Off-Leash Area: dogs can safely play off-leash in an enclosed play area in the park where dogs can socialize and stretch their legs. We provide kiddie pools for them to splash and cool off in under shade. Pet parents are in the off-leash area closely monitoring their pets. Our lead pet sitter will be on hand to monitor playtime, and we also have very strict rules printed out for all to see and abide by. All dogs who enter the park must show proof of rabies vaccination, and must not be aggressive or overly scared/anxious.


Q: The holiday portraits with Santa Paws are a charming touch. Do they require any special preparation for the dogs?


A: Dogs only need to bring themselves and any cute holiday outfits they’d like to wear! Tropical Santa Paws is visiting Miami early just for us and he can’t wait to hear every dog’s gift list. Pet parents can make sure they have a spot with Santa by purchasing their portrait session online at a discount. It’s $20 online, $25 at the event. There will be a QR code for them to access their digital photos within a couple of days of the event.


Q: For those looking to support local vendors, could you highlight some of the pet-friendly products and services that will be available?


A: We have so many wonderful local pet vendors who have been a part of our pet community for many years! We have fantastic trainers like Happy with Dogs and Applause Your Paws, two of the best dog training companies in Miami. We have the following vendors in each category:



It’s a great way to meet the pet professionals you need in your life!





Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Just Add Rover. While we strive to present accurate and reliable information, Just Add Rover does not endorse, approve, or certify such information, nor does it guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, timeliness, or correct sequencing of such information.



© 2023 Just Add Rover. All rights reserved. This interview has been conducted for www.justaddrover.com and is protected by copyright law. Reproduction of the interview, in whole or in part, is prohibited without prior written consent from Just Add Rover.

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