As Director of Woofa~Roo Pet Fest, I am delighted to welcome you to one of the fastest growing festivals in Essex County!
Woofa~Roo Pet Fest was just a concept in the fall of 2012 and quickly became a labour of love by combining a passion for animals and many years of managing experience. Although absent in this area, large pet festivals are enthusiastically embraced throughout the country. Modeling the very successful pet friendly Dog Bowl in Frankenmuth, Michigan (drawing 40,000 people), I decided to set a goal to become Ontario's Largest Olympic Style Pet Event. Essex County was ripe for a major pet and family friendly event . . . and so it began.
In 2013, our inaugural year, we introduced the wildly popular Dock Diving as our marquis event along with other canine games and demonstrations including, dog agility, the elite Windsor Police K9 Unit and more. In spite of our very low operating budget, we attracted more than 7,000 people and created a buzz for our major sponsors; Canadian Tire Amherstburg and Blackburn Radio.
Thank You 2016 Sponsors
The stage was set as we moved into our second year.
2014 proved successful as we realized a considerable increase in attendance (more than 9,000) and a new presenting sponsor - The Windsor Star. We also introduced comical parrots and a new event unique to this area, Lure Coursing, sponsored by BizX Magazine. Our plan was working, canine competitors were flooding the area to compete at Woofa~Roo and attracting thousands.
We continued to grow in 2015 on a carefully planned shoestring budget without the benefit of government funding. The new CAN/AM Flyball Tournament, the Children's Castle Lane, and exotic pets were all incredibly popular and boosted our attendance well beyond our projections. Our August 2015 festival saw more than 11,500 people and 3,500 animals in attendance. 2016 saw overnight campers anxious to compete in our many events as we added Disc Dog to our list of canine activities. With an economic impact of over 1 million dollars for the region, we are confident that we've found the formula to reach our goal!
The figures that we are the most proud of however, are the numbers that reflect our aid in the community. Our large charitable component enabled our charities and rescues to raise close to $25,000.00 and complete dozens of animal adoptions. We have become an important volunteer opportunity, enabling hundreds of students to earn community hours and pleased that we are one of the few festivals who welcome those with special needs - 10% of our volunteers are people with disabilities.
Woofa~Roo Pet Fest doesn't have a huge staff or a board to pull it all together. I have the assistance of a small group of key volunteers and generous sponsors. Together we bring this dynamic weekend with a charitable twist to Amherstburg every second weekend in August. It's an amazing effort from a very loyal group of animal lovers who have now become close friends.
It's an absolute pleasure to know that people wait with great anticipation for the next Woofa~Roo - many alter their work and vacation schedules to attend.
We hope you will consider becoming a sponsor as we celebrate animal ownership, August 12th & 13th, 2017!
Desiree Nickerson Photography
Friendly Pets Are Welcome To Bring Their Responsible Owners!
Please Read Our Pet Policy.