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Owners, pets hit the town together at first-ever Pets in the Park

It was one of the busiest weekends on the Penticton calendar. There was the Terry Fox Run, the Okanagan Toy Run, Pickleball for Mental Health, three days of the Young Stars Tournament and its offshoot Party on the Plaza, and more.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

And PentictonNow covered them all, in person.

But into the midst of that hectic schedule waded a brand new event. Held Sunday at Gyro Park, it was a pet expo of sorts -- a way for regional pet lovers and their pets to get together and have some fun, win some prizes and learn about local pet-centric businesses and services.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

The brainchild of Penticton (or is that PETicton?) resident Kona Sankey, who earlier this year developed a Facebook page that points pet owners toward pet-friendly locations and services throughout the area, "Pets in the Park" was also a way to say thanks in person to the 500 followers the page has already attracted.

"Things are a bit crazy," laughed Sankey as PentictonNow arrived at the event Sunday at noon. "It’s a little windy, but it's sunny and beautiful and the dogs are out in droves. I love it."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> Kona Sankey

Gyro wasn't quite packed, but for a debut event that catered to a select group of peeps on an otherwise busy weekend, the hundred or so people we saw walking amongst a dozen exhibitor booths -- and a dog agility circuit -- seemed like a pretty fair turnout.

Of course, amongst the humans were a variety of domesticated animals too, including lots of doggies, a few kitties, a herd of goats, a flannel-wearing bearded dragon and more.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

"We have snacks, we have coloring pages for the kids, we have prizes at almost every booth, and a silent auction over there at the end," said Sankey.

Manning one of those booths was Penticton artist Lindsay Peltz, who has a strong affinity for drawing felines.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who> The 'catty' artwork of Lindsey Peltz

"Yes, I paint portraits of cats mostly," said Peltz. "I love pets and I thought this would be a great opportunity to come out and share my work with people and get to see some cute pets too.

"And I know Kona, and I wanted to help her put on a great event and bring pets to the people of Penticton."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

One of those people was Chelsea L'Hoir, a former and future dog owner and an admitted pet fanatic who heard about the event and rounded up her buds to drop by.

"I'm here to pet all the puppies and get all the love," she said, a huge smile across her face. "I've been telling everyone about it. I saw the flyer at Starbucks and took a photo and sent it to all my friends. We all went for breakfast together and came down here.

"It's been great."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>

According to Sankey, Version 1.0 of Pets in the Park was strong enough to warrant a sophomore event in September of 2023. September 24 to be exact.

Interested parties, whether they're potential exhibitors, volunteers or donors, are encouraged to reach out at the Pet-Friendly Penticton Facebook page here or wait for the website (www.petfriendlypenticton.ca) to launch by end of month.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia</who>



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