Christmas Comes Early to Australia

Reindeer AngelImage courtesy of ACS

This photogenic pair were the popular "flower" guinea pigs which were a hit at the 2010 Pignic. This year their reindeer and angel outfits were a real show stopper.

While the Guinea Pig Today staff was bundled in the cold on Saturday, our friends Down Under were braving the heat for the fifth annual Pignic in the Park. This year’s event, sponsored by the Australian Cavy Sanctuary (ACS), was Christmas themed and guinea pig owners were invited to bring their guinea pigs, family, and picnic blanket to decorate their corner of the park with holiday cheer.

Shelter staff closed the facility from Thursday through the weekend in preparation of the event. ACS founder Jessica Proietti of Brisbane, Queensland posted on their Facebook page “…if I could ask that only urgent ACS related matters be emailed to me or asked it’d be greatly appreciated. With such a small team we just don’t have time to be organizing shelter biz/fosters/adoptions etc for this week.” Advertisements were posted in the local paper and volunteers were busy moving supplies in preparation for the crowd.

Some of the best hay was on hand for the event. Several farms were called in the search for “the best hay all year.” Just days before the event, Pet Cafe in Corinda, Queensland, donated vouchers to ACS for the Pignic. Pet Cafe carries cavy products such as beds, tunnels, Oxbow food and hay.

piggy dressImage courtesy of ACS

Hazel (left) was born from a pregnant rescue sow and adopted through ACS to a very loving home a year ago. Her beautiful gown landed her in the final three for the Fancy Dress Competition.

The Piggie Pad, creator of homemade small animal bedding and soft goods, took custom orders in advance for pickup at the Pignic. Designer Tracey Jarvis can also fill orders through her website. Carmen Blatchly of The Cushy Cavy brought holiday themed guinea pig cage items. Soft goods were raffled off at the Pignic with proceeds benefitting ACS.

The weather was certainly on their side. While the weather had been hot and dry, a wish for rain came true on Wednesday. The grass at Teralba Park in Everton Park was fresh and green on Saturday. Rain loomed the day of but held off until after the event. There were plenty of repeat visitors and adoption reunions going on all over the park as the cavies and their families made appearances on the lawn. The shelter volunteers kept an eye on the crowd ready to police bad behavior but guests and their cavies were well behaved. Photographers, including Desmond Wong, were taking pictures of the photogenic guinea pigs and their families. Plenty of water and wet foods were on hand to keep the guinea pigs well hydrated in the heat.

The Pignic was certainly not short on prizes. Proietti said of the Fancy Dress competition, “We spent about 10mins judging the final round they were all so creative and unique!” The Fancy Dress winner, Jax, took away a Zhu Zhu pet, a certificate, and other fun piggy related items. Over at The Great Guinea Pig Food Competition, the hungry guinea pigs didn’t stop eating even after a winner was declared. Chloe’s guinea pig, Lucy, was awarded first prize while still nibbling on some watermelon. ACS Volunteers were recognized with awards in appreciation of their service to the rescued guinea pigs. Sack races, face painting, and an inflatable jumping castle were setup for the kids. Stalls were filled with cavy crafts, local organizations and food for all in attendance while a band played on.

The Pignic is usually a fundraising event for the shelter but ACS ended up in the red. Proietti says, “Once hire expenses etc were re-imbursed we ended up short on what was spent. Hopefully we can make up some funds with some online Facebook piggy auctions and post Pignic sales at the shelter.” ACS expects the attention focused on the shelter will help makeup costs by selling products over a period of time. Despite all the work, volunteers still consider it to have been a successful event.

For more information on Australian Cavy Sanctuary and any additional guinea pig related items they will be auctioning off in the future, visit their Facebook page.

If you have a great idea for an article about guinea pigs, please let us know. Guinea Pig Today is a network of guinea pig lovers and we’re always looking for the next great story. View our submissions page for more information on how to submit your idea.

Angela, Editor-in-Chief, GPT

Angela founded Guinea Pig Today and guest writes for CavyMadness. She volunteers with Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue and supports the ROUS Foundation. Her guinea pig, Papua, is the star of WHEK-TV/DT.

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One Response to “Christmas Comes Early to Australia”
  1. Lesley says:

    oh my GOODNESS…these pigtures are so cute. Ahh! We need more events like that in the States!

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