Last Thursday I attended the third annual Internet Cat Video Festival. It’s the original one, and it’s in my backyard, so I’ve been lucky enough to experience all three! I know the festival now tours, but if you’ve never attended the one in Minneapolis, you’re missing a completely surreal experience.
This year the festival took place in its original location at the Walker Art Center, and the estimated 10,000 attendees were not disappointed in the reel of some of the greatest cat videos in the world. The festivities started around 7 p.m., and the reel began at dusk; however, my husband and I arrived super-early to make sure to nail the perfect spot for our blanket and our car. As you can see from the photo, it was a little crowded.
Between the throngs of enthusiastic cat-worshippers and nonstop activity, there was a little sensory overload — but in the best possible way.
Here are my 10 favorite things from the festival.
My husband (pictured on the right, wearing the Catman shirt) is my constant companion in the world of all things cat. He’s a wanderer, and doesn’t like to sit still for long, so while I chatted with fellow feline fanciers, he walked around and took photos for me. He’s a total extrovert and never meets a stranger. I’m a lucky lady to enjoy these events with my cat guy. Get the “Catman” shirt here and the “Cat Dad” one here.
This hysterical pair of real engineers have secured their spot in the cat-video world with such hits as “An Engineer’s Guide to Cats,” and “An Engineer’s Guide to Cat Yodeling.” Their newest installment, “The Engineer’s Guide to Cats 2.0 — the Sequel” was a nominee for the coveted Golden Kitty award at the festival, and was hysterical. Paul and T.J. stopped by Feline Rescue’s booth to meet and greet fans — me included. I felt extraordinarily short between the two.
Speaking of Feline Rescue, they’re my favorite local rescue and were a definite presence at the festival. I’m always glad to see them out and about because I get to see my friends who volunteer there, and also love that it creates awareness around adoption and the importance of spay/neuter. Oh, and the following day they hosted a fundraiser starring Lil BUB! And my husband and I got to help!
My fellow blogger and overall creative powerhouse Alana Grelyak and team created a hilarious web series called “CATastrophes,” and Animalist.com recently picked it up as part of its lineup. Alana and the crew were at the festival interviewing attendees all about the super powers they think their cats wish they had. My Cosmo’s super power? Drool that can psychically open locked doors — gross, but effective.
I could probably fill an entire post with only photos of the interesting people-watching at the festival. Some attendees’ faces were catified, and others were decked out costumes of all sorts. I wore my cat ears, tail and favorite cat shoes, which broke as I was walking back from the bar. No, the shoe-breaking and bar-visiting have no connection.
Besides the cat videos, there were tons of things to do and see on the grounds of the Walker. There was face painting, jugglers, food trucks, artists, a band and several booths representing everything from local rescues to Animal Planet. My husband and I took a series of unfortunate pics at Animal Planet’s photo booth. It wasn’t AP’s fault — we just didn’t figure out the whole “being ready when the camera clicked” thing. Yeah, I won’t be posting any of those photos.
People watching was fun, but T-shirt-watching was even better. I saw some of the typical Grumpy Cat and BUB ones, but also spotted a huge variety of really funny and unique numbers. My husband’s favorite was the Freddie Krueger shirt, so I promised I’d include it. Paris Hilton wants a walk-in closet for shoes — I want one for cat T-shirts.
The people who came to the festival did it for one reason: the love of cats. It was like a feline Lollapalooza! Everyone was in a great mood, and our adoration of kitties bonded us in a way that cannot be adequately explained. Watching cat videos can be such a solitary experience, so when we all come together to celebrate our shared devotion to the whiskered ones, it’s nothing short of magical.
Based on the whole “crazy cat lady” stereotype (which is completely bunk), one might expect the festival to be dominated by females. Not true. Even more than in past years, men proudly took their place among the contingency of feline devotees. Go, cat guys!
How could I write about a cat video festival and not mention the videos? Watch the reel highlights here, but you can bet the whole kitten caboodle was an hour of nonstop, kitty-riffic entertainment. There’s something so cool about watching the Jedi kitten video along with thousands of others, and laughing at all the same parts. It’s the little things, you know.
The Golden Kitty award-winner was “8 Signs of Addiction,” which had the crowd roaring. The creator was even there to accept the special trophy.
So if anyone thinks cats are giving up ownership of the Internet anytime soon, the 10,000 people on the lawn of the Walker will beg (brief dog-humor interlude) to differ.
Read more about cat festivals of previous years:
Read more by Angie Bailey:
About the Author: Angie Bailey is an eternal optimist with an adoration of all things silly. Loves pre-adolescent boy humor, puns, making up parody songs, thinking about cats doing people things and The Smiths. Writes Catladyland, a cat humor blog, Texts from Mittens (birthed right here on Catster) and authored whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds, a silly book about cats wheeling and dealing online. Partner in a production company and writes and acts in comedy web series that features sketches and mockumentaries. Mother to two humans and three cats, all of which want her to make them food.