Here's an event where F&B could well stand for Friskies and bones: It's the second annual Meet the Breeds (meetthebreeds.com), billed as the world's largest showcase of purebred breeds of dogs and cats, taking place Oct. 16-17 at New York City's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Presented under the combined auspices of the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers' Association, the show will feature more than 1,000 animals representing some 200 breeds.
"We expect anywhere from 35,000 to 40,000 [human] attendees, like last year," says Gina DiNardo, assistant vice president of the American Kennel Club, who helps organize the show and deals with details most planners never have to face. "We create special exercise areas for the dogs. Plus, we have to find hotel rooms for many of our exhibitors and their animals, and it's not so easy when so few New York properties allow pets." (Fortunately, hoteliers are more agreeable on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River.)
There's also a focus on cleanliness unrivaled by most other events. "We have what we call the Hygienic Squad going around constantly to keep things clean in the booths," DiNardo notes. (Each animal is showcased in booths individually decorated to depict the history of the breed, and owners often dress in the garb of their dog's or cat's native homeland.) "Like other shows, though, we work with sponsors to reduce costs. In our case, that means cat litter manufacturers and the like."
The most important lesson learned from last year's inaugural show? "The best way to cover the floor is with carpet squares, which can be replaced if an ‘accident' occurs," says DiNardo. "Last year, on opening day, just before the doors opened, we were aghast to see a blatant stain right down the center of our blue carpet. We managed to cover it up but vowed never again!"