For a 50-year-old organization, the Pet Animal Welfare Society of Norwalk, or PAWS, is open to trying a few new tricks, and attractions, when it comes to its fifth annual outdoor festival, PAWS in the Park.
"For the 50th anniversary, we wanted a bit more of a splash," said volunteer Fern Pessin, a Bridgeport resident who has been helping the organization with the event.
PAWS in the Park will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Taylor Farm Park in Norwalk. Admission is free. PAWS is a nonprofit organization that rescues homeless animals -- about 115 dogs and 435 cats annually -- and works to place them in new homes. It runs a shelter in Norwalk.
This year will feature several new activities, including a "Must Love Pets" singles tent, a new "CATastic" tent with adoptable cats and clicker training workshops and a demonstration of a pet playground and activity area.
In the singles tent, expect to find some icebreaker activities and games to help in the way of introductions. Pessin said she hopes it will be a good way for people and pets to connect.
"We are using the pet theme to help people meet each other," Pessin said.
Those looking to adopt also might find a match, as there will be dogs and cats there that need a new home.
Part of the day also will be a celebration of the organization's 50 years. Pessin said it is hoped that the many volunteers over the past half-century will turn out for the day to be part of a recognition ceremony to be held midday through the day.
There will be other things to do, too, which should appeal to all ages. Norwalk Animal Control is expected to be there, as well as the Norwalk Police Department's K9 unit, which will be giving demonstrations. Pet Playgroundz will be tossing a few Frisbees to some high-flying dogs. Such agility may inspire participants to check out an exercise program that allows owners and dogs to work out together.
"It's not just running after your pet," Pessin said, laughing. "It's about strength training and cardio."
After your dog has made his or her way through the dog agility and challenge course, it might be time for a makeover by professional groomers. To capture the look and the moment, head on over to the photo booth, which will be on the park grounds.
Pessin said the organization also is looking for a few good doodlers. Children will be invited to create some unique and indelible images on a long scroll of paper, which the organization hopes to hang around the lobby of its shelter.
For more information, visit www.pawsct.org.
Look for exhibitors with products for people and pets alike. Food trucks will be on the premises, serving up lunch and treats.
Pessin said she hopes lots of people come out, those with pets or otherwise.
"There is a whole lot of things for people to do as a family, a whole lot to do for people who want to come with their pets and plenty for people to do even if they don't have a pet," she said.
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Taylor Farm Park, 45 Calf Pasture Beach Road, Norwalk. Saturday, Oct. 6 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. Rain date Sunday, Oct. 7. 203-750-9572, www.pawsct.org.