Comfortable temperatures over the weekend of April 10-12 at the Orange County Fairgrounds made this outdoor event a pleasant destination for families.
Families were still lined up 100 yards deep over an hour after opening. The families already inside packed the hangar like it was a concert as they huddled around all 70-80 pet adoption agencies.
“It’s awesome,” said Cortney Dorney, a WAGS adoption representative. “Everyone is super excited to be here. The dogs are all excited and playing and everyone who has come through has been really nice.”
The Pet Expo reported 615 animal adoptions over the weekend. When people weren’t resisting the hopeful eyes of potential pets, they were bearing the sun waiting for one of the shows to start.
Families filled the stands for Splash Dogs, a competition of dogs all shapes and sizes leaping as far as they can for a toy thrown deep into the pool. Pro Splasher and Labrador Retriever, Brooklyn awed the audience with a jump just over 25 feet.
Cook’s Racing Hogs and Dogs offered an interactive experience. The miniature pot-bellied pigs and little pups had colored bandanas on for their race, patrons rooted for the hog or dog with the color matching their ticket. Winners got anything from a ribbon to a t-shirt to a hat.
The Purina Pro Plan Performance Team proved to be the most sought after show of the day, with a few patrons even having a small tiff over seats in the front row. Nonetheless, kids gathered around the low gate and sat on the grass to get a better look.
The Pro Plan Performance showcased dogs with agility comparable to gymnasts, launching across the grass to catch their prized disc. The trainer even put the disc in his mouth and the dog leapt by him snatching the disc from between his teeth with ease.
Between audience oohs and ahs, the trainer gave a short lesson on how to teach your dogs at home to be disc dogs. The secret? Start by using the disc as your dog’s food bowl. After that, it seems obvious why these dogs fetch so impressively.
The petting zoo was also a fan favorite, featuring llamas, goats, rabbits, pigs and sheep. Parents and strollers lined up for $1 pellets to feed the not-so-household animals.
Fitting with the fair atmosphere was the food available at the Expo. All of the classic carny food booths were accounted for – everything from funnel cake to turkey legs.
America’s Family Pet Expo will return to the Orange County Fairgrounds next year for its 27th consecutive year.