Woofstock® claims to be the largest outdoor festival for dogs in North America. While we can’t vouch for the claim, we can let those who are interested know that the event takes place Saturday September 26 and Sunday September 27 in 2015. Woodbine Park in Toronto Beaches neighbourhood is the venue, and be prepared to use public transit to save your over-excited poochies interminable time in the hot car while looking for parking!
The hype-catchline states “It’s grown into a festive tour de force, now drawing tens of thousands of dogs in the know, their faithful humans in tow, from across the country and the U.S. It’s without question, the largest outdoor festival for dogs in all of North America.”
If we here at Furever sound jaded, its because we are jaded. For the last several years, there really has not be anything much to actually do there with your dog, especially if they are a non-sporting breed. And this despite the urging of festival organizers to bring as many dogs as you own. Perhaps the encouragement comes from the logic that if you have pooch with you, you are far more likely to try that dress on her, offer that new treat to him, and subsequently buy what the vendors are pushing. Back in the early years, vendors were fun – they tended to clean our the dregs of their storerooms and offer seriously good deals. Now, most of the long-timers are simply re-locating their racks with prices fully intact, same as the home store.
If you are in silly swag and Purina merch, yes there is lots to be had; ideas and solutions for pet problem – meh, there are some to be found. But I think what makes the whole Woofstock experience a huge disappointment for me every year is the disrespect with which they manage the rescue organizations. Always marginalized, typically hard to find, never accompanied with prominent signage, and little to no promotion during the significant PR ramp up prior to the dates. The costs of participating are extremely high for charitable and not-for-profit organizations. If they can afford to be there at all, they have to earn back their costs of booth space, transportation, whatever merch or inventory they made to use in whatever fundraising initiative they’ve programmed.
A select few rescue groups (only one that I personally know of) may have the benefit or partnering with a commercial organization and share a booth. But when it gets down to brass tacks, the commercial organization has to do exactly the same thing – make back the costs of attending. Unless the rescue group has a complementary program that helps sell merch, or a super cute irresistible puppy that draws in the crowds, do they benefit at all in the collaboration? The old stand-by “we get visibility” doesn’t really help pay the parking tab.
So good people of North America, if you attend, scope the merchandise, make sure your wallet is fat, and please take the time to search out (look hard!) and visit the dog rescue organizations. Participate in one of the Walkathons. Donate, volunteer, foster or adopt with them. They’ll need all they support they can earn at Woofstock 2015.