Woofa-Roo Pet Festival

Town council refuses Woofa-Roo signage request, to look into programmable signage

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Woofa-Roo Pet Festival will have to seek other ways of promoting its event after town council nixed a signage request at the April 23 meeting.

Lorene Clayton, festival director, asked council if the Woofa-Roo Pet Festival could share the Miracle League of Amherstburg sign along Front Road North. She said she was willing to have other festivals share the sign posts as well, not just her event.

“I would like to use the sign every year for one month prior to the festival,” Clayton requested. “I’d like to open it up for other festivals and special events.”

Clayton said she used to use the sign in front of Duffy’s Tavern and Motor Inn, but with that gone as part of the demolition of the site, she needs to use other options. Lawn signs are used, but Clayton said she understands the need to limit signage within Amherstburg.

Noting she has only two weeks to use lawn signs in Amherstburg, Clayton said that presents difficulty in advertising her event.

Additional signage to be affixed to the Miracle League sign on Front Road North was the subject of debate at the most recent town council meeting. The town is exploring programmable signage.

Asked whether she had permission from the Miracle League to erect the signs, Clayton said “they have no objections” to the plan. However, manager of licensing and enforcement Nicole Rubli told town council she was in receipt of a letter from the Miracle League requesting no additional signage be attached. That also meant a request from the Rotary Club of Amherstburg was denied later in the meeting.

Director of planning, development and legislative services Mark Galvin said the Miracle League sign was not paid for by the town and noted there would be “a number of competing interests” if town council were to allow others to post on the same sign posts.

“It would be very difficult to co-ordinate that,” said Galvin.

Clayton disagreed, believing it would be no different than the banners that hang over Sandwich St. S. that are booked on a first come, first served basis.

CAO John Miceli suggested the town consider programmable signage at the north and south entrances to the municipality. He believed the town should be proactive as it pertains to promoting tourism and special events.

“It will be done tastefully. It will be programmed to a municipal standard,” said Miceli.

Council will receive a report on the matter with Mayor Aldo DiCarlo trying to console Clayton by stating that while her request wasn’t granted, her delegation did spark further investigation into the signage matter.

The Woofa-Roo Pet Festival will be held at the Libro Centre this year on July 21-22.

Woofa-Roo sees incredible numbers, despite brief storm during set-up Friday

 

By Jolene Perron

 

When a quick storm passed through some parts of Essex County Friday evening, a number of tents at the pet festival were overturned.

However, after putting in countless hours of work overnight, they recovered and the weather for the remainder of the weekend was in their favor.

From the dock diving organized by Ontario Dock Dogs, to the display of the many skills by Border City Barkers, the festival was a huge hit with pets and their humans.

One of the more popular events at Woofa-Roo’s festival was dock diving, where dog owners threw toys into a large pool of water to encourage them to jump as far as they could.  Some dogs reached lengths of 24 metres.

One of the more popular events at Woofa-Roo’s festival was dock diving, where dog owners threw toys into a large pool of water to encourage them to jump as far as they could.
Some dogs reached lengths of 24 metres.

“We’ve been coming here for three years and Cody really enjoys the event,” said Joe Ulakovich, owner of seven-year-old Yorkshire-bichon Cody. “We did some shopping, and it’s a great day out for the family. It’s a nice event, it’s very family-oriented and it’s comfortable being here with the family. We can give him treat samples and see what he likes.”

Owners such as Jon Ashe, owner of a two-year-old miniature Labradoodle, said the event is great for people who want to socialize their dog with other animals. Although it was his first year at the event, he said he plans on coming back next year and wants to teach his dog how to do dock jumping. He said all of the dogs they encountered over the weekend were great, and he loves bring able to bring his dog to an event, since he is a part of their family.

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“This has been phenomenal, we have had record-breaking crowds,” said Woofa-Roo director/founder Lorene Clayton. “Everyone is happy, we have a lot of dogs and the response has been very good. This is a dynamic weekend with a charitable twist as our festival benefits nine different charities and rescues. We enhance their profile with the public, help their fund raising efforts, increase their volunteer base, foster homes and secure homes for animals needing to be re-homed.”

 

Fun fetched by thousands at Woofa-Roo Pet Festival

By Shelbey Hernandez

 

The “Olympic-style pet event,” as the founder so calls it, has celebrated its another year as a success.

Despite the rain on Saturday, thousands of pet owners and their furry friends were seen diving off docks, jumping over obstacles and enjoying the many pet-engaging activities offered at the one-of-a-kind pet event. The event was held at the Libro Credit Union in Amherstburg on Saturday and Sunday with around 12,000 in attendance.

A very well-trained Radar had a blast during the dock diving competition which was part of the fourth annual Woofa-Roo Pet Festival held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg last weekend. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

A very well-trained Radar had a blast during the dock diving competition which was part of the fourth annual Woofa-Roo Pet Festival held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg last weekend. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

The festival was created by Lorene Clayton who saw a void and wanted to fill it. With no pet festivals to be found in Windsor-Essex, she decided to create one herself. As a dog owner herself, she felt it necessary to have a place where people could celebrate being pet owners. She modeled her event after the Dog Bowl, a large pet festival in Frankenmuth, Mich.

Her first go at it attracted 7,000 people. Last year, that number jumped to more than 11,500 people. The event also supports local pet charities and rescues by donating large sums of money and being the place where adoption and rescue centres can gain greater exposure.

What Clayton notices about the event she started is how it brings people together.

“They have a common bond. The minute they come into this gate, they have a common bond with a perfect stranger and the dogs that are here and the people who are here, there are social barriers that are just gone because everyone knows that the person walking next to them shares that love for that animal,” said Clayton. “So it’s a way to celebrate pet ownership and people are eager to do this.”

During the fourth annual WoofaRoo Pet Fest, a German short-haired pointer is photographed competing in the flyball competition at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg last Sunday.

During the fourth annual WoofaRoo Pet Fest, a German short-haired pointer is photographed competing in the flyball competition at the Libro Credit Union Centre in Amherstburg last Sunday. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

The event comes with many different vendor booths, K9 demonstrations, pet activities and Olympic-style games for pets and their owners to compete in.

One of them is dock diving, which pet owner Deloni Leslie had her dog Ari competing in. Leslie said she has come to the pet festival since the first year it started but didn’t start competing in dock diving until last year. Since then, she’s been hooked and has given the organizer nothing but praise.

Chasing bags around a large expanse was one pet activity that many pets really enjoyed. It was known as the lure coursing event which took place during the WoofaRoo Pet Fest held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

Chasing bags around a large expanse was one pet activity that many pets really enjoyed. It was known as the lure coursing event which took place during the WoofaRoo Pet Fest held at the Libro Centre in Amherstburg. (RTT Photo by Shelbey Hernandez)

“I’m a big supporter of Woofa-Roo. I think it’s been amazing since day one,” said Leslie. “There’s nothing really like it in our community and yet, there are so many people with dogs and obviously a ton of people here. Since year one, I think the organizer has done an amazing job. She keeps adding something to it every year and it’s just a really great, fun thing to do. Even if your dog doesn’t want to do any of these things, there’s a lot of things to do and see and shop.”