COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Local music-enthusiasts, dog-lovers, artists and food trucks alike gathered for the Barks and Blues Music Festival in Woodruff Park. The event, hosted by Paws Humane Society was first created in 2016 and now occurs annually to fundraise and generate awareness of the organization. This year, it also lines up with National Rescue Dog Day.

Although pet adoptions were not a part of the event, plenty of canines were in attendance as their owners enjoyed the event.

“Really the biggest highlight is going to be our Bon Jovi tribute band [Slippery When Wet],” said Paws Humane Director of Marketing and Development Josh McQuien. He remarked the band’s appearance and vocals have an uncanny resemblance to the music star, making it an “awesome” act to see.

As McQuien explained, the name “Barks and Blues” was originally chosen because it rhymes, but the festival has expanded to include music of all types. This year’s other performers include Terry Young & Willie Taylor, the Parker House Band, the Shelby Brothers and Stained Glass Saints.

“I’m so glad to be here, I think I’ve been part of every festival except the first one, so it’s something I look forward to every year,” Mark Sasser, lead singer of the Stained Glass Saints, said.

He remarked that it is great to play for a music-loving crowd in support of a good cause. He said that he hopes the festival will help incite future policy changes regarding local animal rescue.

Marsha Witherspoon and her dog Iggy were also enjoying the event.

“It’s a nice day and nice to see all these dogs out and everybody out about,” said Witherspoon, a Phenix City local who said she’d come to get some treats for Iggy from Twiggy Sweet Treats, a vendor at the festival.

The festival will go until 10 p.m. tonight, with headlining band Slippery When Wet performing at 8 p.m.