LAND O’ LAKES — For just over a year, Doggie Cakes Bakery and Pasco pet owners have been meeting on the back patio off the Market Off Main for a monthly “Yappy Hour” to raise money for the first “Pasco Pet Fest,” which takes place at the Florida Estates Winery today, Saturday, Oct. 5.
From 11 a..m to 3 p.m., pet owners from Pasco and surrounding counties will converge on the winery to taste wine, listen to live music, learn more about local animal rescue groups and let their furry friends mingle.
“We want it to be a fun event,” said Jason Longo, a New Port Richey resident and the marketing and events director for Doggie Cakes Bakery. “We are celebrating what Pasco is, the beautiful surroundings and the winery. We are noticing that people are planning to come from Hernando, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties.”
“We are hoping people will meet the different rescue groups and fall in love with a breed or volunteer to be a foster family if they don’t want to adopt,” Longo added.
The event was created by Trina Messano and Jason Longo of Doggie Cakes to offer a pet-friendly festival to Pasco County. This year, the proceeds will be donated to Pit Bull Happenings, a West Pasco nonprofit dog rescue group. Many other rescue groups will be present with their adoptable pets and message.
Longo is keeping his fingers crossed for good weather and a good turnout. The doggy baker said he and his wife expect at least a thousand people and are hoping for more. While the event is free, sales from the raffle and silent auction will go to the pit bull rescue group.
The winery is also offering wine tastings $15 a person with a large portion of the proceeds being donated directly to the charity. Donations from the Florida Estates Winery will include all tips, and $1 for each bottle and 50 cents for each glass glass sold.
“People can bring their pets inside the building for the wine tasting, so this event is unique in that aspect,” Longo said.
Several musicians and performers are donating their time to entertain guests and their pets at the event.
John Shipe, Joe Cirino and Jennifer johson are among the performers who will take the stage at the event to offer live music to Pet Fest Patrons.
The South Florida Ghostbusters, a group of dedicated fans, graphic artists, and prop builders will attend the event equipped with highly-accurate costumes and props from the Ghostbusters franchise. As a nonprofit organization they raise money for different causes and organizations.
Longo emphasized that Pasco Pet Fest is more than just an annual event for pet owners and their canine companions to enjoy meeting one another, tasting food at different vendors and enjoying the festivities. He hopes that through the website, Doggie Cakes and the Pasco community can build an enduring resource for pet owners county-wide.
Under the “Pet Friendly Pasco” header on the website are links to animal welfare organizations, dog parks, pet events, dog-friendly restrauants, pet-friendly attractions and pet-friendly accomodations in Pasco.
“When we made this program and website itself, we wanted to make it an enduring thing, more than just event itself, Longo said. “We are going to keep growing that and continue building a resource locally so people know where they can take their pets and adopt new ones.”
Florida Estates Winery is located at 25241 State Road 52 in Land O’ Lakes.
For more information, visit the website at www.pascopetfest.com.
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