Furry and feathered friends on display at Red Deer Pet Fest

For the first outing, organizers of Red Deer Pet Fest were thrilled with the early gate numbers.

Less than two hours into the two-day event, they had already sold more than a quarter of the tickets they were aiming for.

“Red Deer always supports their community,” said Russ King, one of the event organizers.

Shaune Fandrey, an event organizer and a director at the career assistance network, said she wanted to do some fun events instead of work type events.

“We’re all animal lovers, we all have multiple pets,” said Fandrey.

On Saturday and Sunday, 41 vendors packed into the Westerner’s Prairie Pavilion for the inaugural Red Deer Pet Fest. King and Fandrey hope to grow the event next year.

“As a group we thought, if we get a thousand people we’d be thrilled,” said Fandrey, by 12 p.m. they had already had 285 ticket purchases.

“I think we’ll hit our thousand, honestly I would have been happy with 500 people because it was our first event,” said King.

Headlining the event were the the President’s Choice SuperDogs who performed tricks and races for the audience. They had shows every two hours both days starting at 11 a.m.

February was chosen as the month to put on this type of event in part because of the SuperDogs availability, but also to have a fun event in February, when it’s typically cold and people are less likely to want to go outside.

It also included a Super Dogs Talent Show on both Saturday and Sunday. Dogs had to be preregistered for the audition.

“Red Deer needs events like this,” said King. “It’s family friendly and people can come out and spend the day. The kids can have a good time.”

Vendors included pet clothing, feline vacation resort, boarding, training, veterinary clinics, Alberta Animal Services, a bird aviary, pet decor and even guard dog training.

The vendors were predominately small businesses. King said some may see more people over the weekend than they see in a week at their business.

The event continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and runs until 6 p.m. on Saturday.