ST. GEORGE – The heat didn’t discourage the approximately 300 people who came out to this year’s SunRiver Pet Festival held Saturday at the SunRiver Golf Course.
The eighth annual event brought out pet lovers and their furry friends who came to enjoy a day with the animals all the while raising money and awareness for various animal shelters and rescue groups.
The primary focus of the fundraising efforts at the 2016 pet festival was the highly anticipated county animal shelter to be built near Purgatory Correctional Facility.
The county animal shelter is still in the planning and fundraising stage but is being slated as a way to fulfill the obligation to have a shelter for the unincorporated areas in Washington County. Additionally, at a public proposal held in March, county officials discussed a bigger vision for the animal shelter which would give inmates at Purgatory Correctional Facility the opportunity to provide care for the shelter animals.
Funds at the SunRiver Pet Festival were raised through several key ways, said Josh Cram, SunRiver’s event coordinator. These included donation jars placed throughout the event, vendor fees, ticket sales for an opportunity drawing and entry fees for the Fur Real, Best Dressed and Pet Photo contests.
Winners in the Fur Real and Best Dressed contests were as follows:
- First Place | Myia | Dog
- Second Place | Cloud | Cat
- Third Place | Jericho | Dog
- First Place | Taquito | Dog
- Second Place | Wicked | Dog
- Third Place | Hopper | Frog in a tux
Though the pretty pets were certainly a big draw, what really brought out the participants was the opportunity to help the shelters and promote pet adoption.
“This event is important because of the shelters,” Jasmine Lynn, a vendor at the event said. “I love this event. I adopted my dog, I support adoption. I think it’s probably the most important.”
Akira Stewart, a self-described passionate volunteer for Providing Animals With Support Adoption Center, agreed.
“A lot of people still buy pets from the pet store,” Stewart said, “and just are not aware that you can find a lot of the dogs that you’re looking for at local shelters and local rescues.”
Events like the SunRiver Pet Festival provide a huge amount of exposure for their shelter animals, Stewart said, and give them opportunities to find the best homes possible for their adoptable pets.
Cram said that he was pleased with both the vendor support and the turnout for this year’s festival.
“Everybody just seems to have a great time.” Cram said. “It’s been a great event today.”
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