By, KIM BATES
This past weekend, Oct 20 and Oct 21, the Great Iowa Pet Expo of 2018 was held in the Jacobson Exhibition Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
“Think of it as a home and garden show for pets and pet people,” Cathy Erikson said. “We have a big trade show, with 120 booths. We have education, we have entertainment.”
Erikson owns and produces the Great Iowa Pet Expo and the same types of expos in Kansas City and Indianapolis. These expos are a part of the Great Midwest Pet Expos. Iowa’s Expo was the first of the three. Creating the Pet Expo is a year-long process.
Erikson is a Drake University alumni who studied in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and graduated in 1979. Erikson began producing events for other companies when she decided she wanted one of her own. She was looking at horse shows in Illinois when she discovered a Pet Expo in Chicago. From then on, she decided to create one in Des Moines, Iowa. Erikson has two horses, two German shorthaired pointers and a donkey.
The Great Iowa Pet Expo 2018 has many activities including the trade show, shopping, food, entertainment, interactive games and prizes and booths where you can adopt an animal along with booths that will clean and groom your pet. Animals at the show include dogs, cats, horses, donkeys and goats. All are welcome to interact with rescue animals along with the horses, donkeys and goats. People attending are more than welcome to bring their animals along.
“It’s nice to go someplace where you can bring the dog,” Amanda Robinson said. “I like to see the rescue dogs and all the different breeds of dogs here.” Robinson was attending the Great Iowa Pet Expo with her dog, Riley, who is two years old.
“It’s great exposure for all the vendors and the rescue groups,” Deanna Spaur said. Spaur has been a volunteer for AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport, for six years. Spaur has adopted all three of her dogs from AHeinz57.
AHeinz57 is a no kill animal shelter based in De Soto, Iowa. Thanks to the Great Iowa Pet Expo 25-30 animals were adopted during the event. Animals can vary from dogs, cats, ferrets and bunnies all the way to a pig.
Each year, AHeinz57 attends the Great Iowa Pet Expo because it is good exposure to groups of people. The organization appreciates exposure because they rely, mainly on donations. AHeinz57 is a non-profit organization. They provide foster homes for animals to re-introduce them to society and they, also, provide training for animals.
“Anything that needs help, we’ll be there,” Spaur said.
The Great Pet Expo is a yearly event, this was the 19th year. Everyone was welcome, and this was classified as a family event. Every pet owner and pet were welcome and encouraged to attend.
PHOTO BY GRACE HULIN |PHOTO EDITOR