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Local Experts Featured at EquiFest 2016


By Daniel Meyer

People passionate about horses will have two full days to share their love at Western New York’s premier equine exposition when EquiFest 2016 takes place later this month in Hamburg.

With a wide variety of activities and events scheduled to take place on both Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20, the annual celebration of all things horse will include local equestrians among the featured presenters.

Specialized clinics, hands-on demonstrations and detailed presentations are all on the agenda for the event, which will be held at the Showplex and Discovery Center on the Hamburg Fairgrounds (5600 McKinley Parkway) on Saturday, March 19 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, March 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The annual gathering will include more than 100 vendors who will be showcasing a variety of products and services available to attendees, including but not limited to saddles, riding wear, cowboy boots, tractors, trailers, tools and a wide variety of equipment. There will also be a Chinese raffle, a working blacksmith shop, a farm combine and a special equine meet and greet interactive experience.

Families with children are encouraged to attend, as there will be plenty of activities and entertainment inside the “family fun corral,” including face-painting and arts and crafts projects.

Among the respected equestrians that will be making presentations are Mollie Vacco of Springville and Gail Pearles of Cattaraugus.

Vacco, who has been a student and teacher of Parelli Natural Horsemanship for well over a decade, will present a program entitled “Essential Oils and Horses” inside the ADC Demonstration Ring starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 20. Vacco is a passionate instructor when it comes to understanding horse behavior and providing tips on how to better bring together people and their horses. She has traveled throughout the country to give various presentations on a variety of topics.

Vacco always enjoys the annual gathering of like-minded people.

“Equifest provides an opportunity for everyone to start looking forward to the upcoming horse season,” says Vacco. “It is great to see Western New York’s horse community gather to share their common love of horses and experience and participate in the workshops and clinics that are offered. It is just a wonderful event.”

Pearles, who owns a 60-acre ranch, will present “Laminitis, Causes and Treatments” inside the ADC Theater at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 20, as well as “Horsemanship, Fine or Otherwise…Keeping the Horse’s Point of View in Mind” inside the ADC Demonstration Ring at 2 p.m.

Equifest will include participation from various community stakeholders, including the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Unit and emergency response volunteers. Organizers expect approximately 5,000 people to attend this year’s event, with some traveling from as far as Ohio and Canada.

To see a complete schedule of events for both days, including information on the presenters and scheduled demonstrations, visit

Doors will open at 10 a.m. each day. A $1 donation will be asked for at the door for anyone 13 years of age and older.

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