DOGSTIVAL, the New Forest celebration of dogs, is ready to return despite an animal welfare row which forced TV naturalist Chris Packham to pull out of its debut earlier this year.
Dogstival will be back at Pyelwell Park, near Lymington, in 2020 with another array of displays, attractions and 200 stalls for thousands more visitors and their four-legged friends.
As reported in the A&T, its launch in May was marred by protesters making threats against Mr Packham after legal action by his campaign charity, Wild Justice, prompted a tightening of bird shooting rules.
Dead birds were tied to the gate of his home near Ashurst which sparked safety concerns from Dogstival organisers Richard and Domine Nowell.
However, the couple are undaunted and will be back again this year – although without Mr Packham as guest star.
Mr Nowell said: “We’re delighted to announce Dogstival’s return for next May. We’ve tried to cram as many of a dog’s favourite activities into one weekend.
“Whatever your dog’s breed or age, there will be something to try, sniff or taste. We’ve also incorporated plenty of activities for children to learn or take part in, too, centred around their love of dog.”
Next year’s event will host TV’s Vet on the Hill, Dr Scott Miller, in the K9 Health and Wellbeing Tent. Visitors will also have the chance to camp in style with a “glamping” option for those keen to make a weekend of it with sea views, a pop-up pizza restaurant and shower facilities.
Mr Nowell added: “Our second event sees our aim to help owners understand more about their four-legged friends continue, and this is why we’ve decided to expand our already popular Behaviour Stage offering, by adding the expertise of TV vet Dr Scott Miller.
“We’re also super excited about adding glamping to our offering as it brings an authentic festival spirit to the weekend.
“Pylewell Park is a truly stunning estate, so being able to stay here for the weekend with your dog is a real treat for both human and hound.”
Other highlights will be a dog pub serving dog-appropriate refreshments and snacks, the K9 Chill Out Zone with massages and express grooming, and the main arena featuring shows including the Essex Dog Display Team.
Yvonne Gosney, brand manager of event sponsor Go Get It, said: “We had a fantastic time welcoming visitors to our Go Get it Garden earlier this year and can’t wait to embark on next year’s show and all the new activities they have planned. It’s definitely going to be bigger and better in 2020.”
Dogstival runs 16th-17th May at Pylewell Park, near Lymington. Tickets are £13.90 for adults, £8 children aged 5-16 years, with under-fives free. Camping starts from £20 per person per night.
To find out more go to www.dogstival.co.uk or follow @dogstival on social media.