Report on the free stitch 'French Bulldog Festival Rooted in France' 2021 Meetup Event at Akigase Park Saitama

Despite the weather turning cooler as 2021 draws to a close, we experienced an unprecedented warm spell on the day of the 1st annual free stitch ‘French Bulldog rooted in France’ Meetup Festival on Sunday 21st November 2021. 

This time we moved the location of the Meetup event to the ‘Kibou no Kuni’ ground at Akigase Park in Saitama prefecture to make the most of the space and good weather - making it perfect for our team of professional photographers and camera team to capture the excitement of the event

A strong turnout of over 300 participants joined the event with their families and dogs for a day of activities and communication. It was great to see the French Bulldog community getting out and about to meet fellow dog owners face-to-face after over a year of COVID-19 restrictions. 

Staff and participants were careful to observe health and safety protocols so that everyone could enjoy the events with peace of mind - these included both staff and participants wearing face coverings, installing and checking close contact apps, and frequent hand sanitisation. 

At the Meetup event this year, free stitch offered French Bulldogs and their owners a chance to enjoy our popular selection of activities and training, which included our ever-popular charity photoshoot, 30-meter sprint competition, group photo, training and obedience sessions, and games. In addition to these activities, free stitch set up and provided ample space for the dogs to stretch their legs off-lead in the dog run area. Both dogs and their owners enjoyed meeting and communicating under the changing colors of the autumn leaves. 

We were also joined this time by our support exhibitors who had on offer a range of products and services uniquely tailored to the French Bulldog breed. Among these were specialist lead and collar retailers, dog masseurs, and pet wear manufacturers. 

Alongside our regular event activities, participants were given the opportunity to try free stitch’s new lineup of Original Dog Food and to try their luck at our charity tombola for a chance to win a fantastic spread of prizes. 

The free stitch Original Food booth this year gave dogs the chance to taste and purchase our new selection of English Country Duck, Angus Beef, and Scottish Salmon flavors. We were surprised at the overwhelmingly positive reaction to both our medium and small kibble food for All-life Stage Dogs. We hope that next time many more dogs will be able to come and try out our delicious food. 

The charity tombola event remained as popular as ever and queues formed in front of the tent well before the afternoon start time. Each family had one try on the tombola and everyone walked away with a prize.   

Our regular training team comprised of Mr. Morishima and Ms. Nagawa attended to give instruction on behavior control, the basic ABCs of French Bulldog training, and agility seminars. 

Featured seminars this time focused on training fundamentals for young dogs and dogs who may suffer from behavioral issues. As each breed has its own idiosyncratic responses to training and obedience, many participants were able to take away valuable tips on how to best approach applying core principles to their French Bulldogs and further improve their quality of life.   

As with past events, the charity photoshoot booth continued to draw visitors who wished to have professional and commemorative photos taken of their dogs. Available to participants who book in advance and for an entry fee, free stitch offers both medium to high-resolution photos of dogs that can be used for printing, framing, or applying to a variety of homeware, such as mugs and keyrings. As the name implies, all proceeds from the photoshoot are donated towards promoting awareness of animal welfare in Japan. 

The 30-meter sprint was also a pleasant surprise for us at free stitch this year as we got to see a lot of French Bulldogs testing their speed boundaries in competition for the fastest dog for the first time ever. Times were recorded throughout the event and the top three winners received awards and prizes at the end of the day.

Rounding off the event at around 3:30 pm, free stitch closed proceedings by awarding prizes, including 12kg of free stitch Original Food, to the fastest dogs, game competition winners, and conducting a prize draw that participants had been entering throughout the day.

Overall, the French Bulldog Meetup 2021 was a resounding success. Spirits were high and even though clouds gathered towards the end of the event, the weather held out for everyone and their dogs to enjoy the day. free stitch would like to thank everyone who attended and worked at the event and we hope to see everyone again in 2022!  

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