Vallejo Reptile and Oddities Expo raises funds for rescue – Times-Herald

Every “niche” market has its passionate aficionados, and reptiles and quirks are no different.

This weekend’s Reptiles & Oddities Expo fundraiser for JnW Reptile Rescue has drawn all kinds of people, from lizard lovers to snake scholars, tarantulas tailgaters, to those who love frogs. There were also steampunks, goths, and people with pet spiders named Spindra.

There was yet another subset of people at the Expo that can’t be denied – families with young children who were just thrilled to do something after a year-long pandemic kept them indoors.

The line was a few hundred feet long when it opened and people kept coming in. This was good news for Joe Lam and Wendy Rozenewski, whose animal rescue depends on donations in addition to income from children’s parties and other events. Lam is also an expert (and human) at removing rattlesnakes, but that’s a different story.

The Solano County Fairgrounds showroom was stocked with stalls selling everything from albino pythons to zebra-tailed lizards.

Justin Horton and his sons Henry, 7, and Jack, 4, of Vacaville, buy a ball python from Bob’s Oddballs during the Vallejo Reptile and Oddity Expo on Saturday at the Solano County Fairgrounds. (Chris Riley — Times-Herald)

Jeff Leverett of Reptile Mania sold “Pacman” frogs from South Africa. Insect-eyed, gnarled and cute, the Pacmans like to live solo in terrariums, where, Leverett said, they barely move.

“You can go on vacation and come back and they’re in the same place,” he said.

Pacman’s live solo because they tend to eat each other out, Leverett said. But they are more than happy to live in the serenity of Thoreau as long as they have a few bugs to pounce on.

Leverett said he was not surprised by the crowd.

“I have done six of these shows since the pandemic,” he said. “We had record sales.

There might be a certain irony in having an animal sale for an animal rescue, as some people might come out with a 5 inch snake that will eventually grow to 7 feet – but every salesperson makes sure that whoever leaves. with one of his creatures has all the information and supplies they need. And everyone is happy to be just a phone call away if something goes wrong.

Perhaps the most captivating animal of the event was Ginger, the rhinoceros iguana, who looks like a small dinosaur. She will look you straight in the eye with a look reminiscent of her ancestors.

Reptiles weren’t the only carnivorous beings at the exhibit – pitcher plants were for sale. Like the Pacman, the pitcher plants wait for tasty morsels to wander through their lair. Their nectar is intoxicating for insects.

Scot Harvest ran his Haunted Goodies booth, where he sold his unique zombie stuffed animals. Basically, he takes cuddly soft toys and even Minnie Mouse dolls and turns them into blood-sucking monsters. He adds fangs, claws, bloodshot eyeballs and a lot of blood from their recent “killings”.

Her granddaughter, Lily Simpson, 17, was having fun helping her. When asked if she liked being there and having a “weird” grandpa, she proudly replied, “Yes, definitely. My whole family is weird.

Some family dynamics were a little more unstable. A mother, with her hands on her hips, was talking to her daughter who was holding a snake.

“You have to feed it and take care of it, you know that, don’t you?” Said the mom. “It can’t be like your guinea pigs or anything else …”

Which brings us to the need for JnW Reptile Rescue. Vallejo is fortunate to have a place to turn when reptile shopping doesn’t go as planned. This keeps Lam busy, but he enjoys his job. Last year, they saved 157 reptiles, according to Rozenewski.

“There was no income for the rescues and it was a huge expense for us,” Rozonewski told The Times-Herald. “You need veterinary care, food, shelter and it all costs money. We lost most of our funding in 2020 because the fairground event is our only major fundraiser each year. “

Judging by things on Saturday, much needed funding is rebounding.

In addition to animals, the exhibit features taxidermy, unique Gothic jewelry, gorgeous driftwood and distressed wood suitable for roosting lizards and snakes, and food trucks if you’re hungry and not feeling upset. like a frozen mouse or a living cricket.

The Reptile & Oddities exhibition takes place one more day on Sunday, July 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. General admission is $ 12, children 5 to 12 are $ 8, and children under 4 are free. Parking is free.

The event is located at the Solano County Fairgrounds, 900 Fairgrounds Dr., in Vallejo.

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