The sound of wheeks and laughter floated through the air at the Guinea Pig Pignic on Sunday, July 15, 2012, as more than 200 people and many guinea pigs gathered. The guinea pigs happily munched on veggies and sipped water in their exercise pens, while people explored all the Pignic had to offer — and it offered a lot.
It began with a free health-check and grooming for all guinea pigs with their owner’s paid admission of $5. Proceeds from the Pignic go to support Orange County Cavy Haven. In fact, almost everything at the Pignic raised funds for OC Cavy Haven.
Vendor tables included amazing food items to buy for lunch, all sorts of products for guinea pigs, jewelry, pens and a photography booth where owners could get a professional portrait of their favorite piggie pet.
The fun factor ramped up when the call went out for entries in the guinea pig costume contest. After a controlled but frantic rush to get guinea pigs into costumes, the entrants lined up for judging. Emcee Corinne introduced each one and then had the winners judged by applause. The entries included an angel, a butterfly, a rabbit, a Harley piggie, a convict piggie, a witch, Linny the Wonder Pet and more. The top three winners were a Rainbow Brite group and a Hawaiian ensemble, with 1st place going to a lobster.
Two raffles plus a silent auction added to the excitement. After all, who couldn’t be happy at winning items like tickets for Angels baseball, Discovery Science Center, Knotts Berry Farm and a whole lot more in a raffle?
The veggie eating contest drew about triple the number of participants as the costume contest. Last year’s veggie contest was done with lettuce. This year, the chosen veggie was a baby carrot. Once all participants had a carrot, the contest began! And that’s when everyone realized a baby carrot is a lot of food for a guinea pig to nosh quickly. Some weren’t interested in eating at all, others chewed at a leisurely pace. However, three amazing — and apparently hungry — guinea pigs were declared the biggest “pigs” at the Pignic when they finished in first, second and third place.
Many people at the Pignic learned new things about guinea pigs, whether finding out at the health-check that their pet had mites and what that means, just talking to other guinea pig owners about guinea pig care or picking up informational fliers provided by OC Cavy Haven, it was a fun, relaxed way to learn about guinea pigs. Topping this all off was a talk about guinea pig health given by Dr. Sari Kanfer of the Exotic Animal Care Center in Pasadena, California. Kanfer discussed the importance of taking guinea pigs to veterinarians who regularly treat the species and common health concerns for guinea pigs. Heart disease, vitamin C deficiency, gastrointestinal upset and tooth problems were some of the guinea pig illnesses discussed.
Michiko Vartanian, the OC Cavy Haven volunteer who organized the Pignic, was really pleased with how the Pignic turned out, and she expects to do it again next year. She said even though it’s a lot of hard work, it’s too much fun not to do again. “We raised enough to feed our fosters for several months and take care of some medical needs!” she added. “It was a huge success all the way around. We had four adoptions that day. We don’t do any same-day adoptions, so those were all pre-approved adopters who showed up. And we have several who are interested and filling out applications.”
See the slide show of the Pignic, including costume contest entrants, veggie contest winners and more! Click here>>