Snakes, and Spiders, and Gators, Oh My: Linn County Fairgrounds and Expo Center hosts herpetoculture event
The weekend of April 7 and 8 brought hundreds upon hundreds of species of creatures with anywhere from no legs to eight legs, to the Linn County Fairground and Expo Center in Albany. The Pacific NW Reptile and Exotic Animal Show, PacNWRS, held an event at the center this past weekend and had a list of over 45 vendors in attendance.
“The Pacific Northwest Reptile and Exotic Animal Show is an educational and sales event that we put on a few times a year: two shows in Oregon and two shows in Washington. One of our main focuses is education and teaching people about these animals and that they are a viable option to be kept as pets,” said Noah Criswell, an owner of PacNWRS.
This event may not be for some with certain phobias, but the pure joy that radiated from some of the event attendees was palpable.
“It’s so cool! I never held a snake before. This is a Ball python. My mom won’t let me get one,” said 10-year-old event attendee Hayden Bond.
There were many others that had the same level of excitement while at the show.
“I just purchased a Ball Python. He’s a little guy, just about 6-months-old. This is my first snake. My mom would never let me have one as a kid, and now that I have my place, I thought it was time to get one,” said customer Sean from Portland.
For those that may be worried about negligent sales, and improper instructions and handling of animals, the worry is not needed at this event. The vendors are knowledgeable and willing to take the time to answer any questions an attendee may have about an animal regarding its care and upkeep. They really focused on making sure a customer knew ahead of time what they were buying, and the level of commitment needed to care for these creatures.
“It’s always wise to do the research about the animal you’re interested in purchasing before you purchase the animal itself. Know what you need to take care of it, how it has to be fed, how much space it needs, then buy the cage and set it all up. After all of that, you go and purchase your animal,” said Michelle Verheyden, owner of Hiss and Hers out of Portland, Oregon.
While many of the vendors at this show will only be afforded four events a year with PacNWRS, they do participate as vendors with other events throughout the year. Being part of multiple events gives opportunities to potential customers looking to start a new hobby, as well as being a resource for those wanting to continue their hobby in Herpetoculture.
Whether you are wanting to see snakes, tarantulas, turtles, alligators, or even parrots, the cost of entry is well worth it. The entry cost may vary per event. This past event in Albany had a $10 entry for those over the age of 10, $5 for those between the ages of 6-10, and it was free for children under the age of 6.
“We like to see community support for this type of event and interest in these animals. Seeing the smiles on the kids faces, that’s what we’re about,” said Criswell.