The second annual Calgary Cat Festival and Market will take place on Friday and Saturday at the Telus Convention Centre with new exhibits and guests, including a talk with Mark Simon Hewis, head of the famed UK stop-motion animation company Aardman Studio

The event features 32 vendors and a combination of businesses and rescue organization booths.

A new show this year also features cat-themed art pieces. June Wong, the event coordinator, says the show includes 70 artworks and pieces of photography that people will really enjoy. 

Matthew Swann, a local musician, will be enlivening the convention centre with an acoustic performance.

There will also be a presentation centering around a new program called Little Free Fibre Library, a donation centre for gently used fiber craft tools, equipment, books, yarn, or thread and the creation of a community knitting hub. The libraries will have gently used or brand new books that are donated. Wong has partnered with several senior residents for this project and is hoping to open 20 new libraries for the residents. 

Gail Ellis, a senior and pro-knitter, will be teaching attendees how to knit a cat-themed item. Wong is very passionate about this particular feature.

“We believe that that’s crucial to our mission statement to go back to that DIY space, create beautiful cat-themed cards and to share it with others,” she says.

One of the key features of the festival, whose entire mission revolves around helping cat rescues, will be an easy cat adoption system that organizers have put in place. QR codes will be displayed in the lobby at the event, letting guests discover the cats or kittens for adoption.

Wong says that because cats are sensitive to noise, this system will keep the animals safe and make it an easy and enjoyable experience for anyone looking to adopt.

Looking to expand

Wong started the festival last year thanks to a grant she received from the Calgary Downtown Association. Now she is hoping to see an increase in attendance numbers compared to last year, when the festival first launched. She says that last year she heard from many people who wanted to attend but all the tickets were sold out. 

“That is our goal,” she says. “To hopefully expand on the festival and make it bigger and better and, most importantly, to support our local rescues.”

Wong is hoping that the festival can continue to grow in its programming and fanbase. She says she may even offer pop up cat festivals at different times of the year, such as a Christmas market.

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