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Hall County throws efforts behind Pet Fest
2-day fundraising event will raise money for county animal shelter
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Lake Lanier Pet Fest

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 25 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 26

Where: Laurel Park, 3100 Old Cleveland Highway, Gainesville

How much: $5 parking


Hall County is gearing up for Pet Fest, a two-day fundraiser and a first for the fledgling Hall County Animal Shelter.

"It's a big event and it's going to take a lot of people to pull this off," Hall County Public Information Officer Nikki Young said. "We're expecting a huge crowd."

The festival, to be held Sept. 25-26 at Laurel Park, will include live music, a dock diving competition for dogs, food and a pet adoption tent.

The goal of the event is to raise money for adoption programs for the shelter.

"It'll go directly to the pets," Young said. "We're not a charity obviously; it's a government department, but the responsibility of Hall County Animal Services is to control the homeless pet population for public safety reasons. We feel the best way to control that population, the most humane way to do it, is to adopt the pets out. We don't want to have to euthanize the pets."

County staff members are working feverishly to publicize and prepare for the event.

An insert was mailed out with annual tax bills to let people know about the event, and a banner will be draped across the parking deck downtown.

"They're going to have us on Good Day Atlanta, the Fox 5 morning show," Young said. "We're listed in all the local publications, and I've got a commercial running on Comcast and on TV18."

Young said the county has received a good amount of sponsorships to fund the event.

"This is an event that touches a lot of people's hearts, so they're willing to help us out," she said.

Closer to the event, county staff will be setting up at Laurel Park to accommodate the different activities planned throughout the weekend.

"Right now, we're talking logistics and getting all our food together," Young said. "We're really excited. It's been an adventure getting something this big off of the ground."

Cindy Langman, program coordinator for the Hall County Animal Shelter, said the other goal of the event is for the new shelter to make a name for itself in the community.

"Events like this help separate us and help brand us," Langman said. "We still get confused with the Humane Society. People don't necessarily realize that we have a large adoption area here."

Langman said there has been a great response to the event from the community so far.

"I don't think the North Georgia area has ever had anything like this before. It's a little bit unique," Langman said. "The fact that we have over 20 vendors signed up speaks to how popular this sort of event is."