Dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and reptiles are just a few of the creatures that will be on display at the Long Island Pet Expo which is scheduled to take place on Long Island on March 2nd and 3rd, 2019 on the grounds of Suffolk Community College. Now in its tenth year, The Long Island Pet Expo, which is hosted by the Long Island-based Family Pets Shows company, prides itself on being a truly family-friendly event that entertains and educates animal lovers of all ages. Although the event focuses on pets, they’d are also some awesome wildlife exhibitions to be seen.

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Although entertainment is a key factor in the shows, education is also a major focus. Every year, the show hosts dozens of vendors of pet-related goods, special attractions, performances, a petting zoo, animal adoptions and more. The event attracts approximately twelve-thousand visitors and is open to pets...as long as they are well-behaved and remain on leashes. A cat show, “dancing dog” competition, a Parade of Breeds, pet agility courses, “Rainforest Reptile Show,” and a “Butterfly Experience” are among the sights to see.

Recently Dennis Garetano of Family Pet Shows granted an exclusive interview where they discussed the upcoming event, working with rescues and vendors, and more.

Publishing, expos, and organizing

Meagan Meehan (MM): You started out publishing a magazine known as “Horseworld USA,” so how did you first get interested in horses and publishing?

Dennis Garetano (DG): We actually started in 1978 as “Long Island Horse World.” It was a section of our Sports World and grew into its own publication. The Hampton Classic on Long Island was a small show at the time, and now it is an international event.

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Diana Derosa, a local person, was our editor and inspiration to enter the horse world.

MM: Why did you decide to start organizing per expos in 1994 and how come you focus on New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania?

DG: When we stopped publishing the magazines, a new building in Fort Washington asked if we would like to have a horse expo at their building.

MM: How have the shows evolved since the beginning, which ones tend to be the busiest, and what is your favorite part of organizing these shows?

DG: In 1996 we added pets to our horse expo, and changed our name to Horse and Pet Expo. Each show gets stronger every year. I would say our Oaks show and Long Island shows are the busiest.

My favorite is when I ask the young children how did you like the show--one girl recently said “fantastic”!

Locations, vendors, and shows

MM: How do you find the locations, vendors, and non-profits that you work with?

DG: Since we have been doing this for more than 20 years, people find us. We also use social media and our strong website to attract non-profits and vendors.

MM: The Long Island Pet Expo is coming up soon, so how many species can visitors expect to see?

DG: At the Long Island show we have ferrets, reptiles, exotics, cats, birds, dogs and much more.

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MM: What sort of feedback do you get about the shows and how do you envision them expanding in the future?

DG: Expansion takes time since we are self-sponsors and, at each building, we are getting close to being full. Our plans are to expand in New England for 2020 and add another show in Nassau County on Long Island. We are a family show, and we treat everyone from the attendee to the vendor to the demonstrators as family members.