The brainchild of business partners Rebecca Ashworth Earle and Dawn Oliver Doyle, the festival is now in its fourth year and was created after a realisation that the North East was lacking in dog events of this kind. Every year it becomes more popular with people wanting to find new things to do with their dogs, explore and learn what’s new in the world of dogs and have a great day out.
For the last 3 festivals, Kirkley Hall, a land-based college just outside of Ponteland, has been the perfect venue; allowing over 50 acres to create the festival and plenty of parking fields. Its location means it is easily accessible and gives plenty of space to expand and create a fantastic visitor experience.
The festival takes a full year of planning and a full week of hands-on preparation at the venue to turn empty fields into an array of have-a-go activities, display rings, dog shows and 100’s of trade stands.
This event was created with the ‘whole dog’ in mind and as a team they hold a very strong belief that dogs should be given the absolute best life possible for the short time they grace our lives – and that is very much the inspiration for this event. Activities are handpicked for the event with Dawn and Rebecca working closely with clubs having known many of them for several years.
Displays and guest speakers are carefully selected to bring the best entertainment coupled with education. Rebecca and Dawn do all of this themselves with knowledge and experience not only of the holistic dog but also in event management, social media marketing and everything in-between. With this approach they can put dogs at the centre of the festival and run a successful event at the same time.
The festival plays host to numerous have-a-go activities; flyball, gundog scurries, hoopers, parkour, scent games, fastest recall and temptation alley to name but a few. There are also three dog shows with lots of rosettes and prizes to be won. There will be two demonstration rings this year with showstopper displays from falconry and herding dogs. A Wellness marquee where guest speakers will be talking about nutrition, welfare, canine activities, and behaviour. Add in lots of shopping, food stalls and a funfair what more can you need
Rebecca and Dawn are no stranger to dogs with over 40 years’ experience between them; having had dogs all their lives and both working their dogs, training in various disciplines, and competing in dog sports. Currently Rebecca shares her home with four working cockers and a collie-cross, whilst Dawn has seven working cockers.
As a team they live, breathe and work with dogs every day. The event is the result of years of passion, dedication, and investment to create an annual one-of-a-kind festival for dogs; and they hope to be able to continue for many years to come.
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