Sacramento’s first Pet Expo, scheduled for December 6, has been cancelled because the St. Louis-based company that organized it said workers who had been frightened by the events in Ferguson, Missouri did not want to leave their homes, which were too close to the unrest.
120 vendors had plans to attend the Cal Expo event, but the Amazing Pet Expo’s CEO, Sheila Rilenge, sent an email which read, in part, “…We do not have ample staff available who feel comfortable leaving their home, young children, elderly parents and/or pets in order to travel across the country to produce both events.”
Sacramento’s Fox 40 KCRA reports that the email also said that the company’s main offices are at a flashpoint designated by the National Guard. Hilenge added that a representative from the company would call disappointed vendors next Monday.
According to KRCA, the company added another reason for the cancellation: another Pet Expo is scheduled for the same day in Pomona. That event will still be held.
Eden Halbert, who had planned for six months to attend, told Fox 40 that she will lose $5,000 because of the banners, signs and marketing material she had purchased. Halbert, who owns of a dog boarding and photography business in Placerville, said, “So, when I heard the cancelation, to me that was like waking up on Christmas morning with coal in the stocking. If I had any more notice — any more, even a few days, I would not be left with a pile of boxes of products I can’t use.”
Halbert spent roughly $900 to reserve two corner booths. Despite the fact that the organizers of the event have assured vendors there will be refunds, Halbert said, “It’s less about these costs, and more about the lack of opportunity to get in front of possible great customers.”