Could there have been a better way to spend that perfect Saturday? The sun came up and shone all day on what is becoming FOTAS’ signature fundraiser, the Woofstock Festival of Mutts and Music. In its second year, and continuing to grow, Woofstock is yet another reflection of a very special community.

The kick-off to the day was a parade of dogs called The Mutt Strut, a special fundraiser with an assortment of local celebrities, prizes and the opportunity to win the 64G iPad cellular and Wifi.

At the festival entrance, it was plain that no one would go hungry. Papa Russ’ Bar-B-Q, Papa John’s Pizza, Bruster’s, Coach T’s and the Willcox were all on hand to satisfy a range of appetites.

This year, the “music” component offered live broadcast from 93.9 Bob FM, Tony B. from WKSX 92.7 FM and a return engagement of Aiken’s own jazz ensemble, 4 Cats in the Doghouse.

Woofstock offered so much to do and see at the event that one might have missed the rockin’ backdrop that gave the day such a festive feel. Tony B and The Cats went out of their way to include all the dog-lyric favorites: “Hound Dog,” “Walkin’ the Dog,” “Who Let the Dog Out?” rendered by some of the finest musicians anywhere.

In addition to the 18-plus businesses and individuals that contributed door prizes or raffle winnings, more than 45 vendors and exhibitors encircled the two performance rings. There were artisans, unique and pet-related products and services, rescue groups and community nonprofits.

Local and national businesses, too, signed up to have a presence in front of Aiken’s dog-lovers, knowing there probably isn’t a better group of people with whom to do business.

The centers of the rings offered a variety of dog events, from efforts to match adoptable shelter dogs with potential homes, agility and training demonstrations and health and fitness exercises to three dog contests reminiscent of the mutt dog show from Woofstock I.

Surely, the opportunity to see if one’s dog was Best Kisser, had the Best Trick or Best Costume had to be one of the festival highlights.

What made those contests even more special was that the judges, Sofia, Sophia and Christian – had won their positions as judges in the Woofstock Essay Contest. They had written responses to the question, “What can we (Aiken County) do about all the unwanted puppies and kittens?”

That question is at the heart of FOTAS mission, as well as six-plus months of work to create our Woofstock Festivals.

Although hundreds of people contributed to the festival’s success, there are two without whose tireless leadership Woofstock II would never have happened – the late Susan Henderson and Edie Hubler. God bless them both.

The Woofstock Festival brings us together around a very special cause. This year, in addition to raising nearly $20,000 for the new county shelter, it brought us all together on a beautiful day to enjoy how much we can accomplish together.

FOTAS volunteers work with the Aiken County Animal Shelter, 411 Wire Road. For more information, email or visit