If you are a dog owner, you know how frustrating it can be taking your dog with you, especially in a city or commercial type of neighborhood where cleaning up after your pet is difficult and it doesn’t seem like anyone thought about your dog when they built the community around you. The good news is, this is changing! Communities and cities all over the country are now focused more and more on being dog-friendly and community oriented. This is a GOOD thing! We all love our furry family members, and we want to be able to take them with us.
With the weather warming up, leaving the dog in the car is not an option anymore, so it is super exciting to have more and more places that are pet-friendly! This is the mission of Fido Fest, an event created by the Pinnacle at Turkey Creek in partnership with Young Williams Animal Center: to make an effort to let people know about the pet-friendly shopping centers they have built and provided the community of Knoxville, TN and in other cities around the country!
On April 22 from 11AM-3PM, Knoxville dog lovers will all gather for a day of fun in the sun where their dogs are the focus! I had the chance to interview the founder of the Knoxville edition of Fido Fest, Kristen Bridgers, who shared the vision and some exciting insider info about the upcoming event!
Q: How did this event come about? Was there an ah-ha moment that you can remember?
A: We are a property management company that has built shopping centers all over the country, and we started Fido Fest, an event held at these shopping center locations, to let people know that we are dog lovers, and pets are welcome within our locations! Backing up to the greenway in Knoxville, there are many people who are out and about, and we are providing a great place for people to stop in on their outing, knowing that they dogs are as welcome as they are!
Q: Did Fido Fest start in Knoxville?
A: Actually, no. We have Fido Fest in different cities around the country where we have built these pet-friendly shopping centers. Here are some of the locations:
-Birmingham, AL at The Summit
-Montgomery, AL at The Shoppes at East Chase
-Mt. Pleasant at The Shoppes at Mt. Pleasant
-Reno, NV at The Summit
-Huntsville, AL at Bridge Street Town Center
Q: When you say the shopping centers are “pet-friendly,” what does that mean?
A: We allow dogs anywhere on the property. Each individual business does choose to allow dogs or not based on their corporate or code requirements, but we encourage that they allow dogs if at all possible. Also, we provide pet waste stations for convenience all around the Pinnacle.
Q: You mentioned Young Williams earlier, how are they involved with the event?
A: Young Williams Animal Center is the beneficiary for this event! Through sponsor support, vendor registration fees and day-of event donations we hope to raise $5,000 for their organization.
Q: What can people expect on the day of the event?
A: Fido Fest is a free event for all who want to come! We expect beautiful weather and about 500+ people to attend!! We have a day filled with activities including: live music, pet caricature artist, animal-themed face painting, puppy splash zone, food vendors like Pei Wei, Moe’s Southwest Grill and Sweet Frogs Frozen Yogurt and more! In addition, we will have a Dog-themed chalk art competition with cash prizes. There will also be a pet photo booth, so don’t miss it!!
Q: Chalk art!? That sounds amazing.. tell me more!
A: The Dogwoods Arts Community of Knoxville organizes the annual “Chalk Walk”, which was the inspiration for this idea. We have 13 artists registered, and each artist will create chalk piece that is dog themed. There will be 3 winners; Best in Show ($250 cash prize), Silver Champion ($150 Cash Prize) and Bronze Champion ($75 cash prize). Winners awarded at 2:30 on the day of the event.
Q: You mentioned music! What bands will be playing?
A: Sparkle Motion, who’s lead singer recently auditioned for The Voice, is a local band that will be playing during Fido Fest!
Q: What do dog owners need to know about manners for Fido Fest?
A: Dog manners are important, and we expect all dog owners to have their dog on a leash at all times. In addition, it is important that everyone clean up after their dogs. If your dog does not get along with other pups, please leave those furry family members at home.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the vendors and Sponsor of the event.
A: Yes! I am so excited to have 27 vendors for the first year of Knoxville Fido Fest! Here is a list of the vendors:
Beaded Pet Collars
International Flair/ Dog Balloon
Also, our sponsors have made this event possible and will help us reach our goal of $5,000 raised! Radio Systems Corporation is based in Knoxville and are the creators of the Invisible fence as well as PetSafe and Sport Dog. They are our Title sponsor, and we feel grateful to have such a dog loving and successful company right in our backyard.
Q: What is the vision for Fido Fest?
A: Honestly, my vision feels fulfilled! We have 27 vendors, sponsors, amazing support from the community, and we are pleased! We want the event to grow a little in future years, but we are super excited and satisfied with how this has all come together.
Pet Treater will be at Fido Fest in Knoxville, and we hope you come by to see us! We will be giving away prizes and a FREE Pet Treater Box! Check out some of the prizes in this video:
We hope to see you this weekend at Fido Fest 2017 in Knoxville!
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