In an enriching interview with organizer Jennifer Morrone of the Pup Days of Summer Fest, we explore the inspiring origins, exciting activities, and the heartwarming cause at the heart of this annual event. Join us as we delve into the growth of the festival, the unique blend of fun and philanthropy, and the palpable sense of community it fosters among pet lovers.
Philanthropic Initiatives: The Pup Days of Summer Fest actively supports the Dooney Sullivan Angel Fund, helping pet owners in financial crisis provide medical care for their pets.
Interactive Activities: The festival offers a plethora of engaging activities for pets and their owners, including Pup Paintings and Pup Passport, ensuring a fun-filled day for all attendees.
Safety Measures: A high priority is placed on the safety of all attendees, both canine and human, with measures in place to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone.
Future Expansion: There are promising plans for expanding the event in the future, with an array of activities and educational seminars on pet health and behavior on the horizon.
Q: Can you describe the inspiration behind the Pup Days of Summer Fest and how it has evolved since its inception?
A.: In 2021, I launched the Peninsula Pups Dog Walking Club as an opportunity to connect with other dog parents and create activities we could do with our dogs that offered our four-legged besties enrichment. While our area offers a variety of festivals and events that allow us to bring our dogs with us, I really wanted to create an event that focused specifically on activities for dogs. As the owner of a pet sitting company, I have many connections with other businesses that have a pet focus, so it was easy to recruit other businesses to participate in an event that was geared to their target audience. Every one of our vendors is selected because they have a product or service that has a pet focus.
Because we hold the event in August, it is important to have a dog friendly indoor space to keep the dogs and their humans comfortable. Our first Pup Days of Summer Fest event in 2021 had seven business and was hosted by a local dog trainer with an indoor training facility. We had about 40 people attend and raised a little over $300 for our local animal shelter.
Last year, we added few outdoor activities including splash pools, pup paintings, and face painting for the kids. This year we are excited to be able to offer mini portrait sessions with one of the area’s best pet photographers. Our new location at Tradition Brewing Company has allowed us to expand the event to 20 vendors and 2 food trucks and are anticipating over 200 people attending.
Q: What are some of the most exciting interactive activities for dogs and their humans at this year's festival? Could you share a bit more about the "PUP Paintings" and "Pup Passport"?
The Pup Picasso is one of our more popular activities that humans and dogs get to do together. Paint colors are picked out by pup parents and added to a canvas and slipped into a zip locked bag. Then you add a little peanut butter on top. As the pups lick off the peanut butter, they create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. It is a lot of fun to watch.
Every family is given a Pup Passport at the welcome table that lists out all our special vendors. Every family that completes their pup passport will be entered into a special prize drawing. This encourages the attendees to stop at each vendor and participate in the activities.
Q: The Dooney Sullivan Angel Fund sounds like a wonderful initiative. Could you explain how the funds raised during the event are utilized to help pet owners in crisis?
The Dooney Sullivan Angel Fund is a 501(c)(3) housed at the Veterinary Care Foundation. Funds are available to assist pet owners that have fallen on hard times and lack the funds required to support their pet in a medical crisis. The pet owner will be nominated by the doctor based on financial need, and the perceived outcome of the case. (Meaning that medical intervention will make a desirable outcome to the life of the patient)
This foundation was started a little over a year ago and last year's Pup Days of Summer Fest Event was the first big fundraiser for this charity.
Thanks to our community partners who provide us with space, and have donated, the splash pools, canvases paints and other supplies; 100% of the money from vendor fees and raffle sales goes directly to The Dooney Sullivan Angel Fund. Additionally, donations are collected from the Portrait Sessions, the Pup Paintings and Pup Mani/Pedis (nail trims).
Q: With various activities involving dogs, what safety measures are in place to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for both dogs and their owners?
We discourage the use of retractable leashes and encourage everyone to give their dogs a good long walk prior to attending. There is plenty of space outside the event for dogs to find a quiet place to enjoy some personal time. Vender spaces are spread out to avoid overcrowding. I also have several trainers assisting throughout the event with crowd control or ask an attendee to leave an activity if a dog is becoming overstimulated.
Q: The raffle prizes seem like a major attraction. How do you choose the prizes, and can you give us a sneak peek into what attendees might win this year?
We are so lucky to have our PAWmazing sponsors, vendors, and friends in the business community donate raffle items. Additionally, the Animal Medical Care Center, who is the host of the Dooney Sulivan Angel Fund, collects donations from their distributors. This year one lucky winner will go home with a year’s supply of Hart Guard and Next Guard. My business, Critter Sitters and More, LLC is sponsoring a thank you gift for everyone who purchases a raffle ticket. I want every pet go home a winner.
Q: How does the Pup Days of Summer Fest engage with the local community? How do you promote inclusiveness for all animal lovers, including those who might not own dogs?
We like to partner business in the community to showcase their products and promote their talents. Everyone who is a part of the event is invited to contribute to the Facebook event page and assist in the promotion. We have been fortunate each year to have event location donated has been donated to us we have not had to incur any rental fees that would take a way from the money we are raising. Our business partners who have store fronts are always great about posting our flyers as well.
Even though Pup Days of Summer Fest is primarily focused on dogs in our lives, many of our vendor have products for a variety of pets. We do to encourage all pet lovers to attend and participate. Having a brewery host us this year has increased the event exposure.
Q: Are there any plans to expand the event or introduce new features in future editions?
We are already planning for 2024 and are excited to return to Tradition Brewing Company. We are hopeful expand the outside activities and set up an obstacle course with one of our local dog training companies. The brewery has offered to assist with the additional permits that would be required to do this. I would also like to incorporate some educational seminars on pet health and behavior.
(Editor's Note: Read about the pet caricature artist at the Pup Days of Summer Fest in our interview with Tierra Hunter of T.SimoneDesign.)
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.