The overwhelming success of Calgary’s first cat festival shows Calgarians are eager to support events that allow them to treat their pets.
“We are so impressed,” said Stephanie Sterling, owner of the Meow Foundation. “This is the first year for the cat festival and we’re just amazed at the attendance. People are happy, excited to be here. We’re just thrilled to be a part of it.”
The Calgary Cat Festival and Market opened its doors on Saturday, Sept. 24 to a large number of cat lovers looking to explore the festival and find a special something for their furry companion.
“I just found out last night it’s sold out,” said festival organizer June Wong, shortly after the doors opened. “We sold 1,000 tickets.”
Wong said the inspiration to launch the Calgary Cat Festival and Market came from her seeing the success of various dog events across the city.
“I hadn’t come across any cat events,” Wong said. “I know there’s one in Vancouver and in Edmonton, and I thought, ‘Why not in Calgary?’”
The two-day festival was held downtown on Stephen Avenue where more than20 local vendors showed off an array of different products.
“I think the best part is the opportunity to advocate,” said Sterling. “It gives us an opportunity to let people know who we are, what we do, and just get them familiar with our organization.”
The event was put together in support of local animal shelters and rescues, many of which have been at capacity throughout the pandemic. Despite the difficulty of navigating through the pandemic for animal shelters, some local animal businesses have continued to see a steady stream of customers.
“We’ve been pretty busy,” said Chase Pet Stands co-owner Susan Ellis. “Even if (people) don’t have a lot of money, they’ll spend it on their pets.
I know there’s one in Vancouver and in Edmonton, and I thought, ‘Why not in Calgary?’ – Jude Wong
“People who own animals are all awesome, they’re just so nice and they’re concerned for animals,” said Ellis. “We’ve met some very, very lovely people.”
Considering the success of the first year of the festival and market, Wong said she’s felt support from Calgarians and vendors alike to keep the festival going beyond this year.
“I want to combine both (of my) loves: supporting animal rescues as well as supporting local businesses, and combining them into one event,” said Wong. “It’s been amazing.”