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Parkdale Petfest returning this September

The festival for two legs, four legs, or no legs at all is returning to the community of Parkdale this September.

Petfest, which has long been one of Calgary’s only major pet festivals run by a community association, is back for one day on Sept. 9 at the Parkdale Community Association.

Although the festival heavily focuses on people’s furrier friends, Petfest event coordinator Tammy German said that the festival embraces all kinds of pets that people have.

“We invite more than just dog- and cat-related vendors—they don’t all end up attending—so it’s nice when we send out those invites, and somebody’s like, ‘yes, I want to be there,'” she said.

In addition to the numerous dog and cat-based non-profits like the Alberta Dachshund Rescue Society, Parachute for Pets and the Meow Foundation, is the Alberta Reptile and Amphibian Society.

Returning this year for three performances throughout the day are the Super Dogs, which will be delighting audiences with some top canine skills at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

“They are a favorite for Pet Fest, so we’re excited to invite them back.”

For folks looking to take in something a little more participatory with their own pet, or who just enjoy the antics of wiener dogs, the festival is also holding wiener dog races in support of the Alberta Dachshund Rescue Society.

“Anybody with a Dachshund breed dog or a Dachshund mix can enter their dog or dogs. Some of them have multiple wiener dogs, and people love watching also the wiener dogs run down the run down the raceway,” German said.

Although entry into the Parkdale Petfest is free, wiener dog owners wanting to take part in the races are required to make a minimum of a $5 donation for entry.

Registration for the races can be made online at the Petfest wiener dog races website, or in person the day of, before 11:30 a.m.

Pets and people welcome

German said that the festival is pet-friendly, and that people can if they like, bring their pet down for the day.

Owners are asked to be aware of other animals attending, and just like taking their pet to any other part of the city, to make sure they are comfortable first in those spaces with other animals.

“We do respect city bylaws. So, everybody is expected to make sure that they’re bringing their pet with them and that it’s on a leash, or in some kind of a carrier,” German said.

“You’ll see a lot of cats in their little backpacks, with the little dome window in it or what have you. So as long as they are secured in some way, they are welcome to attend.”

That has even included some unusual pets in the past, German said.

“Some people bring lizards,” she said.

Parking, as in previous years, is limited at the Community Association itself. But, said German, there is ample on-street parking in the community.

She said that the festival has arranged with Westmount Charter School and St. Bernard Church to allow overflow parking in those lots as well.

Focus on building community, and supporting local business

The entire festival is held each year as a fundraiser for the Parkdale Community Association, German said.

She said that it’s also one of the events that is eagerly awaited by residents of the community.

“Even the ones that aren’t pet parents, we get a lot of local community residents that come down and take advantage of being able to walk over and participate,” German said.

“We’re one of the smaller communities in Calgary with only about 1,200 residents. So it’s really important to us as a community association to show people what we’ve got here in Parkdale.”

German said that the other aspect that Petfest focuses on is helping local Calgary-based pet vendors and non-profits engage with the wider community in an affordable way.

The festival offers some of the lowest table fees for pet events in the city and offers discounts for returning vendors.

“Our philosophy as event organizers has always been to support local business, and because we’re a community-run event by volunteers, that I think right away makes it quite a bit different,” German said.

“Any monies that we do make over our expenses are donated back to the Parkdale Community Association to fund other events and programming in the community. But we keep it very affordable for the vendors.”

She said that for a lot of home-based businesses that aren’t creating products in quantities required to be picked up by major pet stores, it gives them an opportunity to have their often unique goods presented to the public.

“When you have a home-based business like that, it is really just getting your name out there, getting your business out there, getting a product out there for people to fall in love with and enjoy,” German said.

“The only place to get their product is at a vendor market like this.”

For more details and a complete list of vendors at the Parkdale Petfest, see www.parkdalepetfest.com.