Midwest BunFest has found a home.
The annual event for a nonprofit organization that seeks to find homes for abandoned pet rabbits will return Oct. 14 to the Northland Performing Arts Center, 4411 Tamarack Blvd.
Midwest BunFest hopped from venue to venue for a while, but Ohio House Rabbit Rescue founder Beverly May said she's pleased to see the event, which is vital to the organization's survival, has hit on the perfect location.
"Our biggest fundraiser is Midwest BunFest," said May, whose organization is headquartered at 5485 N. High St. in Clintonville.
She said the Northland Performing Arts Center probably is the permanent home for the annual celebration of all things rabbit.
"They've just got the manpower to make it happen," May said. "We're very thrilled that we can be stationary for quite a few years."
Kent Stuckey, Northland Performing Arts Center board chairman, said the nonprofit is grateful to organizations such as Ohio House Rabbit Rescue for helping to pay for operating expenses at the building that is home to Vaud-Villities and Imagine Productions.
"The center was founded with a mission to, while serving primarily central Ohio community arts organizations, to also be a community center," Stuckey said. "We've got many community organizations that are dependent upon the facility for their operations, their meetings, their big, major events."
Along with fundraising efforts like a bowling event and an annual road race, Midwest BunFest helps raise awareness about Ohio House Rabbit Rescue, said May, who founded the organization in 2009. Ohio House Rabbit Rescue provides shelter for pet bunnies given up by their owners, as well as offering services to rabbit owners.
This year's Midwest BunFest will continue traditions set in previous years, said Ohio House Rabbit Rescue volunteer Adrienne Lang of Powell.
"I think we're kind of a well-oiled machine now," she said. "We know what works and what doesn't."
BunFest topped 1,000 in attendance for the first time last year, Lang said, and 250 bunnies also were on hand.
"The growth we've seen in the past few years is incredible," said Shanleigh Brown, marketing coordinator for Midwest BunFest. "It's great people-watching and you get to see the bunnies."
Rosie Wendt of Upper Arlington, another rescue organization volunteer, said she attended the first Midwest BunFest shortly after getting her pet rabbit in 2013.
"It was good to hear people who know much more than I did, and probably still more than I do, talk about what typical behaviors should be," Wendt said.
The Northland Performing Arts Center provides space to community organizations based on their ability to pay rent, Stuckey said.
"There are a number of recurring events that we really depend on that are particularly productive so we need to prioritize the recurring events that help us keep the doors open and keep the lights on," he said.
"I would emphasize from a business perspective, this is only to meet operating needs. We don't need to pay a mortgage. We don't need to pay a lease. We're just striving to cover operating costs. Essentially, this is a community asset."
The Midwest BunFest will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for children younger than 12. Children younger than 5 are admitted free.