Wednesday, March 16, 2011

North Texas Irish Festival

Two weeks ago, 17 of our wonderful BRAT volunteers in Texas got together and hosted a BRAT booth at the North Texas Irish Festival in Dallas, TX. It was a 3-day weekend event with over 100,000 attendees, running from Friday through Sunday, March 4-6. Our volunteers not only took the initiative to sign BRAT up to host a booth and be represented at the festival alongside 20 other rescue groups, but they also staffed the booth themselves in 4-hour shifts, all weekend long. In the end, it was totally worth it -- their great efforts resulted in some fantastic basenji awareness building in the Dallas community and animal rescue community, lots of interest in BRAT and adopting our rescued basenjis, some new BRAT volunteers, and some donations to BRAT!

For the volunteers, this was their first effort in participating in this festival or any venue of this nature.
The event itself was lots of fun, as there were entertainment and vendors throughout the Park, and attendees were treated to plenty of Irish/Celtic music, dancers, bagpipes and story tellers. Our volunteers arrived early and set up a 10” x10” booth which consisted of a table, two chairs, a curtain backdrop with a 2’ x8” BRAT banner attached to it, and 2 large BRAT signs.

They set themselves up into 4 hour shifts, covering each day from open to close, with a minimum of 2 volunteers on each shift and as many as 5 during the busiest hours of the day. They had at least one basenji at the booth at all times, with several shifts having two. Folks walking by the table were treated to basenji paw-shakes, lots of basenji petting and adoration, great conversations about basenjis and BRAT, and perhaps even a yodel or two!

The table was kept stocked with:
  • The BRAT tri-fold brochure handouts;
  • Clipboards with “Become a BRAT Volunteer” and “Adopt A Basenji” signup sheets;
  • Two binders with pictures & descriptions of the current basenjis available on the BRAT website;
  • Three (3) donation containers.

In addition to setting up and staffing the BRAT booth, our intrepid volunteers also participated in the Saturday afternoon festival parade. Lori and Russ Stowe walked their two Basenjis, much to the crowd's delight, and Maggie Reinhold proudly led the way with a BRAT sign.

Overall, the festival was a huge success. Our volunteers' goal was to increase awareness about Basenji Rescue and basenjis, and they did exactly that: During the weekend they estimate that they talked to approximately 400 people about basenjis, with possibly another 1000 or so at least seeing the booth. There were donations made, as well as 8 people that signed up on the “Become a Volunteer” sheet, and 4 people that applied to adopt via the “Adopt a Basenji” sheet.

Our volunteers and BRAT in general also learned a lot from participating in this event. We picked up plenty of ideas about how to best participate in future "festival" events like this one. The key is to have basenjis present, because they are the real stars and they will attract the interest of children and adults alike. Plus, our basenjis loved the attention!

Our basenji "Stars" of the North Texas Irish Festival were:
  • Pharoh
  • Bana
  • Zaire
  • Bomba
  • Bennie
  • Sahara
Our event "Co-Stars" were the following BRAT volunteers:
  • Lori and Russ Stowe
  • Benjamin and Archana Menke
  • Tina Brown
  • Anita White
  • Jessica and Doug Kincannon
  • Linda Coker
  • Justin and Alissa Long
  • Nancy Watts
  • Kathy Goldman
  • Stacie Meeker
  • Diana and Lubie Martin
  • Rick and Maggie Reinhold
Many, many thanks to both basenjis and BRAT volunteers for their incredible and worthwhile efforts at the North Texas Irish Festival. You were a great success!

If anyone is interested in learning more about this event or how to set one up, please contact Rick Reinhold at


  1. What a fantastic job you all did! The booth looked great and having some friendly/willing basenji ambassadors surely made all the difference in the world. Congratulations to everyone on a job well done!