Peace, Love and Dogs: Woofstock music festival celebrates third year in Fishers
By James Feichtner
Music; Peace; Love … and Dogs. This motto, while closely replicating the ideals represented in the famous Woodstock music festival of 1969, may actually be more fitting for the Fishers annual pet-focused festival. Taking place on Sept. 19 at the Nickel Plate Amphitheatre, The City of Fishers and the Hamilton County Humane Society will partner for its third-consecutive year to host Woofstock, a music festival celebrating both pets and their owners.
“It’s the third year the event has been here and every year it has grown,” Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said. “We just think it’s a really neat event. So many of our residents here have pets and they have a passion for it, and it’s just fun to see everybody come out. It’s just one of those unique events down at the Amphitheatre.”
The day of fun begins with the infamous Parade of Paws starting at 1:30 p.m. where owners and their pets will join together in a group walk around the Nickel Plate District.
“What we do is kick off the whole event with the Parade of Paws, which is our dog walk. It’s kind of a walk of solidarity. It’s almost a mile. It’s just a ton of fun,” Stevens said.
The parade will be led by this year’s grand marshal, Turbo Roo, and his sister, Ruby Roo, two wheelchair bound Chihuahuas born without their front legs. Last year’s grand marshal was Fadness’ dog, Daisy.
After the parade, the festival goes into full swing with tons of activities for the whole family to enjoy.
“We’ll have live music on the ‘Woofstock’ stage all day; the whole Dog Day Afternoon aspect of the festival,” HSHC Executive Director Rebecca Stevens said. “Over 100 vendors, food trucks; we’re going to have a beer and wine garden. That’s new this year. It’s fun for kids and adults and the dogs. We have activities for everybody, which I think is really unique for the event. We have a kids tent that has everything in it from Larry the Animal Guy with reptiles for the kids to face painting. There’s going to be a Fishers Police canine demo. All kinds of fun activities for the dogs like paw painting and the Cool Zone, which we set up by the fire station where we have all these baby pools for the dogs to lay in and cool off. And, of course, lots of food for the dogs and the people. It’s just really a ton of fun.”
Before locating to Fishers, the festival had sampled other venues in Hamilton County over the years, but the HSHC decided to dub the Nickel Plate Amphitheatre Woofstock’s final home.
“We started out with having our Woofstock event in Noblesville, at the time Verizon Wireless Music Center,” Stevens said. “We had it there for a few years and it evolved into a festival that we combined with Dog Day Afternoon, which we put on in Carmel, and so we moved to Carmel for a couple of years and then this fantastic venue opened up. The venue was just perfect. The combination of having dogs out here; a large group of people; it’s a music festival and all of the vendors. This is really a perfect venue for that and so we’ve stayed.”
The purpose of the festival is to help support the HSHC and its endless endeavors to help the animals in the county.
“The whole point of it is that it’s a fundraiser, so all the proceeds are going to the Humane Society of Hamilton County,” Stevens said. “It helps us do what we do, which is be one of the only open-admission, truly no-kill shelters in the country. We couldn’t do it without fundraising events like this.”
Admission to the festival is $5, with free admission for veterans. For more info on the festival, visit http://www.ddawoofstock.com/
About the Hamilton County Humane Society
Established: July 19, 1984. Moved to current location in 2006
Type of Organization: Nonprofit animal shelter and clinic
Municipalities served: Fishers, Carmel, Noblesville, Westfield, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department and Cicero/Sheridan
2012 Animal placement rate: HCHS – 90 percent National average – 35 percent