The blog may have seemed a little quiet recently. That's because everyone at Animal Ark has been extra-busy due to our involvement with the Minnesota State Fair. Because this was our first year at the Fair (which is the second largest fair in the nation) we did not exactly know what to expect.
We knew it was going to be a lot of work. There were 3 volunteers needed in our booth at all times for three shifts per day. That amounts to about 400 volunteer hours to schedule and coordinate. Add to that, setting up the booth, designing educational displays for it, and stocking it with products for sale, scheduling 2 Animal Wise Radio live remotes and you can start to get a sense of the effort that went into making the 12-day event a smash hit.
According to many visitors to the Pet Building, the Animal Ark booth was the place to be. There was frequently a waiting line 15 - 20 minutes long to get into the booth to spin our prize wheel!
The prize wheel was far more popular than we expected, which was both good and bad news for us. To give you an idea how popular: the Pet Building opened at 8 AM August 27th. By about 8:01 AM, there was a line nearly 50 people long waiting to spin the wheel!
All sorts of fun prizes were given away, including tickets to the Animal Ark Holiday Auction, sweat shirts and spot cleaner. Probably the most popular prizes, however, were certificates that can be used to purchase items at the Animal Ark Thrift Store. These "Thrifty Dollars" were such a hot item at the fair that some fair-goers reported having walked all the way across the fair grounds for a chance to win.
We also had some wonderful merchandise for sale, the most popular of which was the entire PetzLife product line. Wow! Did we sell a lot of PetzLife product! We also talked to many happy customers already familiar with the product line.
N2O, a remarkable odor elimination product, was also quite popular. We ran out of inventory and needed to restock a few times.
We also sold a good amount of FlexPet, which is my favorite pain and arthritis formula for dogs and cats. We were offering a State Fair special of $29, with a wonderful buy 2 get one free deal. We sold a lot. But, we still have some left. We are, therefore, continuing the special, with the FlexPet available at the Animal Ark Thrift Store in St. Paul and the shelter in Hastings.
This last Sunday Animal Ark's Neuter Commuter was also on the scene and generated much discussion about the importance of spaying and neutering companion animals! It also gave us a fun location from which to broadcast Sunday's Animal Wise Radio.
But, the Fair was not all just about fun and games. It was also a wonderful opportunity for us to talk to people about a wide range of important animal causes. Most importantly, we designed a portable display to help educate people about the difference between responsible breeders and puppy mills. Here are some images from the graphics that decorated the display:
All-in-all, we could not have anticipated what a wonderful event this would be. It is now pretty much wrapped up, except for the final work of breaking down the booth and making plans for next year!
A huge "thank you" to everyone who pitched in to make the Minnesota State Fair a whopping success for Animal Ark!