The Phoenix Reporter and Item (

Greater Philadelphia Pet Expo returns to Oaks

By Dave Barr, For 21st Century Media

Monday, January 13, 2014

The 2014 Greater Philadelphia Pet Expo will be returning to Philadelphia this January.

The expo will be held on January 17-19, 2014 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks. This is the 20th anniversary of the first expo, which took place in 1994 in Fort Washington.

The purpose of the expo is to introduce and educate the public to the wonderful world of pets. Some of the attractions on hand this year include: The Delaware Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association, the Rat Show, a Big Cat exhibit, the Rainforest Reptile Show, K9 Classic Dog Show, the Delco Bird Club, petting zoos, pony rides, pet adoption opportunities, pet vendors, and other events and attraction dedicated to the world of pets.

The organization in charge of putting this all together is the Family Pet Shows company. Family Pet Shows is a family owned and operated company that for nearly 20 years have successfully hosted pet expos beginning in 1994 in Pennsylvania. The company now hosts six different pet expos annually in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Family Pet Shows, formerly known as The Horse and Pet Expo, is run by husband and wife team Karen and Dennis Garetano and their son Joe. In 1994, after years of publishing Horseworld USA magazine, they thought of the idea to host a horse expo. After two years of successfully hosting the horse expo, they expanded the show to include other pets and changed the name to Horse and Pet Expo and began adding new locations. Throughout the years and shows, Family Pet Shows has grown in size and popularity in each location.

“We provide a fun family entertainment event. We have a lot of special attractions,” Karen Garetano said.

Drawing in crowds of thousands of pet lovers to each of their shows, Karen & Dennis have always been dedicated to making the shows educational, fun, focused on the importance of responsible pet ownership, entertaining with talent from various pet and human acts, and having many pet vendors and rescue groups. They graciously offer free booth space to 501c3 rescue and adoption groups to help save many animal lives. Unlike some pet shows, the majority of the floor space is devoted to entertainment and educational programs presented by their various acts. They strive on making this truly a family and pet friendly pet show in every venue.

The expo is open from 4 to 9 p.m. on Jan. 17, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 18 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 19. Admission for adults is $12 and $5 for children ages 11 or younger, and children 3 and under are free. The first night is Family Night, where kids 12 and under are admitted free.

While it might be about pets and pet lovers, family is “what we project at the show,” according to Dennis Garetanos.

The Garetanos’ are looking forward to “another show [where] people really enjoy themselves,” Dennis said.