Alyssa Cerroni thought about her love for Pupperoni, her 6-year-old mixed breed dog who used to live on the streets of Mission, while planning the second annual Woofstock music festival.
Cerroni, the vice chair of Yaqui Animal Shelter, the nonprofit which hosts the event, said she did not grow up around dogs. But, after Pupperoni came into her life, her heart has sought to help as many stray animals as she can find homes.
“I spend most days at work thinking about how I can help stray animals,” said Cerroni, a communications professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. “She (Pupperoni) completely changed my life. I learned the value of having pets in life — mentally, physically, emotionally and even spiritually.”
Woofstock will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday at Allysa’s Acres, a ranch at 1711 E. Mile 2 Road in Mission. The event is a take on Woodstock, the historical 1969 music festival which drew more than 400,000 people.
While describing how well her and Pupperoni get along, Cerroni referenced to the Matching Hypothesis, a theory which states people seek others who are similar to them.
“I firmly believe this to be true with me and Pupperoni,” Cerroni said. “We even have some physical facial features that are similar to each other, and our personalities, too.”
Cerroni described Pupperoni to be “fiercely independent and very loyal.”
“She also knows when someone needs love, and is good at giving the love when needed,” she added.
Pupperoni is a tan mutt, with small ears and a white chest.
“She taught me how to love and have fun, and how to enjoy life,” Cerroni said, who considers Pupperoni as her child.
Cerroni’s hope for Woofstock is to encourage others to take a chance on stray animals, because if she didn’t, she would not have met her best friend.
“I really can’t imagine life without her,” Cerroni said.
The free event will feature four local musicians and bands, including DiiEdwards and Liquid Sky Rocks. A variety of food vendors will be open to attendees, with vegan options also available.
In addition to music, guests can take part in the Mr. and Mrs. Woofstock Pageant where local beauty queens will judge the outfits of participating animals. Participants are encouraged to follow the event’s ’60s and ’70s theme, but all costumes are welcome.
A $5 fee is required to participate in the pageant. All donations and profits collected from food sales will go toward the supplies and facilities needed to care for the more than 250 animals in the rescue center.
Yaqui Animal Rescue is a no-kill nonprofit shelter in Sullivan City which opens its care to all animals, including dogs, cats, horses and goats. Cerroni said that it is especially important to support the animal shelter in the Rio Grande Valley because of how dire the stray-animal problem is here.
“The RGV has one of the largest stray problems in the U.S.,” Cerroni said. “We are really hoping to reach out to as many people as possible through this event, to teach them how to care for their dogs and how they can support us in helping the stray problem.”
Last year, around 300 people and 100 dogs attended the event. This year, more than 500 people are expected to come. Guests will be entered into raffles, with prizes including gift cards to local hair salons, tailored cups and mugs and free classes at Orangetheory Fitness.
A Chihuahua Race will also take place, with all dogs between 10 to 15 pounds eligible to participate.
Through music and entertainment, Cerroni said the motive behind hosting the festival is to encourage others to open their hearts to stray animals.
“The mission is to educate the community about what it means to be a responsible animal owner,” she said. “And this event is the perfect opportunity for pet owners to enjoy music with not only their human family members, but with their furry family members, too.”