Prince's "Animal Kingdom" is taking on the virtual world.
As part of its annual conference, the American Veterinary Medical Association is attempting to set the world record for the Most Users in a Pet Video Hangout. And that virtual pet party will be accompanied by a livestream from First Avenue on July 29.
Why Minnesota? And why the Purple One?
The national conference was supposed to take place in Minneapolis this year but went virtual because of the pandemic. The organizers wanted to find a way for vets attending virtually to experience Minnesota. They also wanted to honor the pets that have essentially become veterinarians' co-workers during remote work. And as long as they were at it, why not try to set a record?
"It just seemed like a natural fit," said Michael San Filippo, a spokesman for the association. "How many times have our pets or our co-workers' pets photobombed our Zoom meetings? So this is sort of the perfect opportunity, 'OK, you want to get on camera? Come on over, let's get a picture, then I'll submit those and we'll hopefully have enough to set an official Guinness record here.' "
For the "Behind the 'MEOW'-sic" kickoff event, veterinarians and their pets will be invited to tune into the livestream of a concert by Marshall Charloff and the Purple Xperience at the nightclub. They'll be asked to post pictures of themselves and their pets under a hashtag to set the Guinness World Record, which doesn't have a current titleholder.
Organizers are hoping that more than 2,000 people attend virtually and that 200 event sponsors and veterinarians from the Minnesota association attend the private concert in person.
The national association represents 97,000 people, about 75% of veterinarians nationwide, and the state association includes about 2,300 current and retired veterinarians across Minnesota.
As essential workers, veterinarians struggled to keep their small businesses running during the shutdowns. They also tried to meet the challenge of assisting new pet owners in a time of record adoptions, San Filippo said.
About 12.6 million U.S. households adopted a new pet in 2020 after the pandemic was declared, the Associated Press reported from a study by the American Pet Products Association.
During the tribute concert, San Filippo hopes veterinarians can unwind and have fun, listening to Prince music and hearing from band members about their memories of playing with Prince.
And while it's not certain they'll set a record, Minnesotans can hope the vets take a moment to remember two doves named Majesty and Divinity.
Madison Karas • 612-673-7394