Finally! We got a ticket into the VIP tent at Woofstock. We’ve been trying for a few years, always missing ‘the first 1000 people,’ cut off.
Welcome to the 15th Anniversary of Woofstock, May 26 and 27, 2018, in Woodbine Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Woofstock claims the title of North America’s largest dog festival.
So, what’s inside the Woofstock VIP (Very Important Pooch) tent?
Admittedly, after the build up, it was underwhelming. A short red-carpet walk-in, our names checked off a list and we’re inside a hot tent, with a few white couches and several orthopedic dog beds that my crazy terrier-cross Victor reluctantly sat in to humour me – he wasn’t tired yet. Plus, a there was a table of Open Farm dog treats, which Victor didn’t want, but no snacks for humans.
The swag bag was worth signing up for, though. Inside were sponsors’ bags of treats, including Open Farm, and even a bone-shaped cookie cutter and recipe from PetGuide.com (recipe below).
What did Victor love?
The leash free zone, just like he did at Pawlooza in London, Ontario last summer. But crowds and heat get him a bit tense.
This got me thinking about strategies for Woofstock survival – or getting the most out of your summer Woofstock experience.
Here’s how to survive, and thrive, at the dog festival:
- Get there early. Parking in the area, or anywhere in Toronto, is hard to find and expensive. Parking in the lot along the beach off the Lakeshore is possible if you arrive shortly after 9 am, and only $9 all day.
- Buy your tickets in advance online. Now that there’s an admission charge, there will be a line up which moved quickly if you’ve got your tickets pre-purchased, plus you save five dollars.
- Head to leash-free zone first so your pup can burn off some steam. That’s what I learned with Victor, and several pet parents of high energy pooches had the same idea.
- Read the schedule. Plan where to be when, especially if there’s a show or activity that interests you. This year President’s Choice Super Dogs braved the heat and put on four shows a day; dogs (who can line up) could try the lure or agility courses; and social media pet celebrities made an appearance.
- Feed your dog in the morning but know that trying treats will be on the Woofstock menu. Vendors are a big part of the event and Victor, getting tired in the heat, started with a Flying Hound Pup-cicle, turned away from cricket treats, and took home a bag of Amber’s Barkery dog cookies in Crazy Canuck maple and peanut butter and banana.
Check out our taste treat review on The Gate, Toronto’s online entertainment magazine.
Victor did alright navigating throngs of pooches – many rushing his face which he hates, so we only spent about an hour in the heat. Fortunately, festival staff was incredibly good at lining the walkways with bowls of water – and filling them over and over again, even when dogs like Victor stuck his head in while they were doing it.
Here’s that promised VIP dog treat recipe:
Easy-Peasy Peanut Butter Dog Treats
2 cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 375 degree F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the flour and baking powder together in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, add peanut butter, egg, and water, then mix until smooth.
Add the wet mixture to dry and stir until dough is stiff.
Place dough on a floured surface and roll to a thickness of ¼ inch.
Cut with cookie cutter and place on the cookie sheet.
Place sheets in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from heat, let cool and store in an air-tight container.