Posted: December 13, 2011, 11:30 a.m. PST
Parrot Palooza is held annually at Bird Paradise in Burlington, N.J. BirdChannel sat down with Bird Paradise owners, Kathy and Jack Lance, and asked them questions about what inspired Parrot Palooza. Learn more about Parrot Palooza and Bird Paradise at their website.
What is the inspiration behind Parrot Palooza?
Bird Paradise's annual Parrot Palooza was inspired by a realization for the need to educate bird owners. It was evident from questions customers asked that a large portion of the avian community lacked current information regarding the care of pet birds. In that regard, Bird Paradise conceived of the idea of an event which would enable the gathering of large numbers of people who could come together with a common interest. And so, Parrot Palooza was born. This event was originally intended to be a onetime occurrence; however,its huge success and popularity made us realize that this would be an annual event.
What is the goal of Parrot Palooza?
The primary goal of Parrot Palooza is to provide the latest information with regard to caring for companion birds. This information includes such relevant topics as nutrition, foraging, enrichment and behavior. The vehicle for this education is by way of Bird Paradise providing the best speakers in the avian world. Of course, Parrot Palooza is also about fun. Each year, we have bird shows, toy penguin races, toy-making and pumpkin-carving contests, raffles, and, of course, lots and lots of food. This is a weekend event, and people come from all over the United States to attend. Bird Paradise sincerely appreciates its loyal customer base, and this is one way of our saying "Thank you.”
What is the most challenging part of putting on such a large event?
Preparation for the Parrot Palooza is a massive undertaking, and plans are put into motion the day after the event for the following year's Parrot Palooza. There are many challenges, some of which include the selection and confirmation of speakers, as well as coordinating bus excursions for bird clubs from Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. In addition, hundreds of prizes are selected for the raffles and tables are set up under tents for local bird rescues and clubs. Purchasing the required amount of food is a job in itself. The attendees at Parrot Palooza 2011 consumed 2,800 hot dogs, 1,200 hamburgers, 660 meatball sandwiches, 1,100 ears of corn, 1,000 soft pretzels and 221 cases of soda. Parrot Palooza is truly a labor of love.
What is the most rewarding part of putting on the event?
When all the work is over and the last tent has been taken down and last chair folded up, owners Jack and Kathy Lance feel a sense of true accomplishment. The positive contribution of Bird Paradise's Parrot Palooza has drawn the attention of NOVA broadcasting, and this year that of the BBC. To know that people come from far and wide to attend each year and, most importantly, to know that this bird store has enriched the lives of bird owners and, in turn the lives of birds, is the greatest reward.