The fifth annual Parkdale Petfest was anything but gone to the dogs over the weekend.
Instead, Calgarians by the hundreds went to see all thing pooch.
The annual pet festival is become of the best attended and longer-running fundraisers for the Parkdale Community Association.
“I think this is amazing, and it draws people into our community,” said Petfest organizer Tammy German.
“Having having an event this size and this calibre, drawing thousands of people to Parkdale, it’s just an amazing way to highlight our community.”
The September 10 event had over 80 vendors, food trucks, wiener dog races, and a display of canine agility courtesy of the Superdogs. This is the second year that the Superdogs have attended the Parkdale Petfest.
“It’s unbelievable to be able to add it to an event like this—it is great for us… because it brings people, it draws attention to to everything we’re trying to do here.”
All of the proceeds from Petfest go towards supporting Parkdale via the community association.
“We are 100 per cent volunteer run, so this is not a business, and nobody’s making money off at this event.”
She said that being a volunteer run event also gives it a different and more inclusive vibe than other festivals.
Better vendor experience
German said that the festival began rather inauspiciously with less than 150 attendees, and on a very snowy day.
Today the festival serves as a pet friendly way for Calgarians to gather, and for vendors to take part in a pet festival that is less exclusive, and less expensive, than other commercially run events.
“We actually had a business in the community that was a pet supply store, and we were chatting one day, and she was letting me know how difficult it is to get into some of these pet events,” said German.
“A lot of the time it’s like over $1,000 to get into them, It’s very expensive for vendors to be able to afford that, and they’re often very exclusive so they don’t allow everybody to join.”
“So we decided what we’re going to be the opposite, we will be very inclusive will be very affordable, and we try not to say no to anybody.”
The festival even goes so far as to offer discounts for returning vendors, lowering their cost to return year-over-year.
German said that they’ve received feedback from vendors that the community association is very easy to work with. She laughed, “I’ll toot my own horn on that a little bit.”
Wiener dog races highlight rescue organization
Ladelle Pitcher, foster coordinator for Alberta Dachshund Rescue (ADR), said that Saturday’s wiener dog races were more than just entertainment for the crowd.
“It was more of a fun run than it was a professional run, but it helps raise awareness that these guys are fast,” she said.
“They are very energetic and they do like to run.”
She said that the races are a staple for the organization, and that proceeds from signing up to race in them go towards supporting the goal of rescuing Dachshunds.
The races, said Pitcher, also serve to highlight the importance to owners to keeping their Dachshunds fit to avoid health problems common in the breed.
“A lot of people don’t realize that there are issues with their backs and they need to be very much in shape.”
“It helps bring awareness that the most of the time they need exercise otherwise they don’t behave properly.”
German said that it was important to her personally to have the wiener dog races in Petfest. She said that as a former Dachshund foster with ADR, the races help draw attention to the work the organization is doing.
Winnie, a female Dauschund was the winner of this year’s wiener dog races. Her owner, Olivia Dobek laughed, “when she has a target acquired, that’s it.”
“It was just so much excitement for Winnie.”