Animals and their humans flock to 23rd annual Pet Rock Festival in Grafton

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Will O’Shea, 5, photographs Grafton Police K-9 Kita. (Photos/Ed Karvoski Jr.)

GRAFTON – Lots of animals and their humans flocked to the grounds of Wyman-Gordon in North Grafton for the 23rd annual Pet Rock Festival on Sept. 12. Attendees also included music fans.

“Due to the pandemic that shut down the world in 2020, Pet Rock Fest was held as a virtual event,” a press release noted. “But like a stuffed animal compared to a real dog, nothing beats the real thing.”

2021 marked the festival’s fourth year in North Grafton after previously taking place in Shrewsbury, Worcester and Sturbridge. Once again, proceeds go to local animal charities.

The five-hour event balanced fun activities with education on animal issues. Representatives from numerous animal organizations provided information about their causes. Only vegetarian food was available.

An amateur dog show awarded medals, trophies and prizes for the best ears, owner-dog look-alike, “waggiest” tail, best vocalist and sweetest face. Judges of an adoptable pet parade unanimously chose the foster-based rescue No Mutts Left Behind to win $500. 

On the field, a police search was demonstrated by Grafton’s Officer Joe Coggans and K-9 Zita. Also, the Southborough-based Pups in the Air offered multiple Frisbee-fetching presentations.

Meanwhile, NBC-TV’s “The Voice” finalist Billy Gilman headlined on the music stage. Gilman is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest singer to reach #1 on Billboard’s Top Country Album charts.

Learn more about the Pet Rock festival, its fundraising and animal welfare efforts at petrockfest.org and facebook.com/petrockfest