Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Purina Farms Pet-tacular Holiday Event

Our last event of 2015 was the Purina Farms Pet-tacular Holiday Bazaar at the Purina Farms Event Center outside St. Louis, Missouri, on December 12th & 13th.

This is only one of the buildings on the Purina Farms property. It was very impressive.

Can you spot the Kimba and Hiro travel reps? 

Obligatory booth photo.
We were fully prepared for the fact that it would be mostly dog people there (with their doggie friends). The event center is used for dog shows and the like all year long. What was interesting, though, was that we sold a bunch of cat toys (separate from any book sale) but not a single one of the cute dog toys. The border collie rescue place down the aisle had the same dog toys at the same price, so maybe folks got them there instead. I won't fuss about that one bit.

One whole side of the main room was devoted to rescue groups with animals up for adoption and/or fundraising goods and products to sell. I did not scoop up the crate full of six mewing gray tabby kittens, so I should get a gold star for the day.
I really loved the name of this cat rescue group. That little kitten has an orange spot on her head, just like our Cheetara.
There was another entire room with kid-friendly activities and crafts and bouncy houses.

A great dane rescue was at the end of our row, but they didn't bring any dogs.

The vendor next to us sold healthy dog treat "make at home" kits. You should check them out.
Across the aisle from us was JKL Wood Art. They don't have a web site to share, but we had many long talks with Leigh during the down time. She ended up going home with several of my books, including a copy of "At the Corner of Magnetic and Main" for herself and her daughter. She also got a whole set of my children's books to donate to her local school district: Lonedell R-XIV in Missouri. I hope they love them! I must say, the way Leigh asked me to sign her book copies may be my favorite ever.

There were events going on the whole time, but we were on the far side of a divider and couldn't see any of it. Local dance schools did "Nutcracker" performances, there was a choir and bells, and dogs tried their agility on a small course. Scott caught some of the duck herding, and he said it was really impressive to watch the way the border collies moved and obeyed commands.

Duck herding practice for a dog in training.
Then, of course, there were the dogs. Big ones and small ones and loud ones and super-obedient ones. I always love to watch dogs walk along with their owners and see them glance up, over and over, ready to jump at any command and with eyes totally full of love. Though, I must say, the deaf St. Bernard who refused to go home (just plopped down and wouldn't move) may have been the best entertainment of the day.

Clown poodle in a poodle parade.

This dog was also carrying around that stuffed alligator, but those photos were too blurry. She wasn't still for long.

Epic amounts of fluffiness!! These babies are destined for the show ring.
What we do when we get bored. Scott promised it wasn't blurry.
Overall, it was a fun way to spend the weekend. Saturday sales were decent, but Sunday was a total flop. I appreciated that the booth fees were reasonable, but since it was over a four hour drive to get there and a hotel stay was required, we lost money on the event. Scott and I did enjoy a nice weekend away from the guest house and litter boxes and such, which hasn't happened since I literally don't remember when. That helped to take the sting out of it.

If we were closer, I would do it again. But we are not. I did learn about the Kansas City Amazing Pet Expo in June, so that may be a better event for us. We can pull that off without a hotel.

Holiday book orders have shipped out, and we are settling in for the winter months ahead. There are no events in January. The weather is too unpredictable to plan much of anything. But I'll be back in the flow with two events in February, at least. "Slinky Steps Out" will be back from the editor in January, so the fun of formatting and cover design will keep me busy during the winter.

We are celebrating the wonderful news that "Leia" was accepted into the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) for her freshman year of college in 2016. If you've read "Max's Wild Night," you've seen her drawings that were used within the text. She is over the moon that she could get in, but she still has decisions to make. Other liberal arts schools are on the radar (and she's been accepted), and we haven't heard back from the Kansas City Art Institute yet. She did appreciate the welcome gift from SAIC of some fun and arty gloves. Does a full-ride scholarship come with them??

The weather is getting ready to take a much more winterly turn, and we have a few days of semester exams ahead before we can really relax for the holidays. I have some Christmas specials going next week, so you'll hear more from me on that on the 22nd. I'm supposed to be having a Facebook book party that day, but so far very few people have agreed to take part. Not sure I'll bother if no one cares. Click here if you like prizes and games and bookish fun.

Have a great week, and don't stress out too much. It's a season of joy!!

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