Dogs have their day

AUGUSTA. Canines are king at the fifth annual Pupstock Festival at the Sussex County fairgrounds.

| 18 Jul 2023 | 03:46

Hundreds of people and their dogs gathered for the fifth annual Pupstock Festival on Saturday, July 8.

The event at the Sussex County fairgrounds was dedicated to our four-legged friends.

Kristin Vincent-Ferraro, creator of the Pupstock Festival, has a rescue dog. “We couldn’t adopt every dog. We wanted to do something to get other dogs adopted.”

The festival, which was not held for two years because of the pandemic, has attracted between 700 and 1,200 people,depending on the weather. The crowd this year was estimated at about 1,100 people, which included 500 walk-ins.

Vincent-Ferraro said people come from all over, with some people driving more than two hours.

Activities included puppy foam parties, a bubble extravaganza, a peanut butter eating competition and a costume contest. The Doggie Art Zone tent had a table where owners could create a custom pawprint of their pet, a do-it-yourself Tattoo Zone, Rainbow Scratch Art and face painting.

Veterinarians from Heart + Paw, an animal hospital in Lake Hopatcong, gave two wellness talks during the festival.

Live entertainment was provided by the Red Reyne Band and by Jack D’Angelo.

For adults wanting an alcoholic beverage, there was a Yappy Hour in the beer garden. The 25 vendors included food trucks and those with dog-related items for sale.

Pupstock Festival sponsors were UEM Events & Design, Elixir Mobil Bar, Sussex County Mixed Martial Arts & Fitness, Heart + Paw, iHeart Media, Bark and Bones Bakery, and lawyer Elenora L. Benz.

Fourteen volunteers helped out with the festival.

Proceeds benefited BARKS Animal Rescue and St. Hubert’s, both of which offered information about pet adoptions.

In the past, Father John’s Animal House was at the festival, but Vincent-Ferraro wanted to feature different shelters in Sussex County.

Eilis Calnan of St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Chatham Township said, “This is the first time we are a vendor for Pupstock. It’s been really successful.”

Vincent-Ferraro said the organizers try to come up with activities for dogs, adults and children to enjoy, making the festival different from other dog events.

It takes about a year to put together the Pupstock Festival. Shortly after it is finished, organizers start planning for the next one.