How did The Greyhound Guild get started? Find out the amazing story here…
In December of 1995, a greyhound adopter (also a fan of Renaissance Faires) approached the organizers of the Arizona Renaissance Festival about being dressed in period costume and with some greyhounds, would stand at the Festival’s front gate hoping to stir interest in greyhound adoptions. To everyone’s amazement, booth space for the 1996 Festival was granted on the condition that there were enough humans and hounds to staff it. So, with the support of Arizona Adopt a Greyhound, Inc., and with less than two months before the Festival was to open, both humans and hounds were costumed and an old booth renovated from a fairy-tale castle into Lord AAGI’s Kennel.
With all of the incredible, hard work by so few volunteers, the group must have done a fantastic job because it received an award from the Festival’s producer and was invited back for the next season!
The 1997 Festival season was very much like the first with the continued sponsorship of Arizona Adopt a Greyhound. Again, the booth was known as Lord AAGI’s Kennel and again had hay bales for seats and straw as ground cover. The group vowed not to pick straw out of everything for the next season, so some big changes were planned for the third season.
The group had other opportunities in 1997 to partake in the Hounds of Nobility Renaissance Faire in LA and the UK/AZ Renaissance Festival in Phoenix.
For the 1998 Festival, the booth was redesigned to resemble a country estate. Instead of straw as ground cover, rugs were used to the delight of the hounds and humans, and REAL CHAIRS were provided for the humans, which beats the heck out of sitting on hay bales!
The biggest change for the third season was the loss of the sponsorship of AAGI. This is when the group adopted the name THE GREYHOUND GUILD.
And thus the Guild was born.
The Guild experienced one the biggest changes of all in 1999. This season, the Festival provided the GUILD HOUSE! No more straw, no more mud, no more crumbling stucco! Now the Guild had a roof, wooden floors, and a storeroom – how delightful, considering all the rain experienced the year before.
This year would be the Guild’s busiest to date, as members would participate in not only the Arizona Renaissance Festival but also in many other events in Arizona and as far away as Utah.
The 2000 Festival season was very much like the one before with one slight difference – THIS WAS OUR BEST FESTIVAL SEASON EVER! The patrons were generous and over a quarter million of them passed through the Festival’s gates. As in the previous year, 2000 proved to be very busy with members participating in 10 events.
While the Guild was on hiatus from participating in the 2001 & 2002 Arizona Renaissance Festivals, it still continued to support the event by taking part in many ARF promotions. In 2001, the first year of the millennium, Guild members were overwhelmed with participation in so many events – we didn’t even get the summer off! Things were a bit less hectic in 2002 as the Guild continued to fill its calendar with other events and happenings.
2003 started with a bang! A month before opening day, we were awarded a NEW GUILD HOUSE behind Fairhaven Stage at the Arizona Renaissance Festival. There was quite a flurry of activity, building, painting, decorating, etc. Even though our Guild sign was not on display until the 2nd weekend, our candelabra and ribbons and banners were.
The Greyhound Guild continues to promote retired racing greyhound adoption at the Arizona Renaissance Festival every season. Be sure to look for us every weekend of Faire behind the Fairhaven Stage!
Our success is not due to one or two individuals but to the dedication and hard work of many different people throughout our evolution.
The Greyhound Guild thanks all of them for their support over the years.
May we continue to spread the word about these wonderful hounds!