Proving that it has plenty of cat lives left, the Internet Cat Video Festival drew more than 10,000 people Tuesday night to CHS Field in St. Paul.
This year’s event, hosted by myTalk 107.1 and the St. Paul Saints, featured mostly locally made cat videos submitted by the general public.
“The biggest thing is that when we started to plan this, we wanted to make it a people’s cat video festival,” said Amy Daniels, a spokeswoman for myTalk 107.1.
Hundreds of videos were submitted, and those chosen fell under such cat-egories as “Dogs vs. Cats” and “Cats and Boxes.”
While the celebrity cats stayed home this year, their humans attended.
Many festivalgoers brought loads of cat-titude, proudly strutting on the field in cat-inspired clothing and make-up. Whiskers and cat ears were omnipresent, as were T-shirts with catty slogans.
Reanna Rothstein of Richfield, wearing handmade cat ears and a dress bearing many tiny images of Grumpy Cat, was among the throngs of feline enthusiasts.
For her, the festival is a must-see summer event. “I love the Cat Festival,” said Rothstein, who owns four cats.
Heather Bratulich drove from Medford, Wis., to watch the cat videos. “It’s fun to watch them,” she said. “It’s a nice break from politics.”
Special guests included the owner of Cole and Marmalade — two cats whose online videos have gone viral. And there were Millicent Phillips and her brother, Cabot, YouTube stars whose catchphrase line, “The cat, you idiot,” comes from a prank the brother played on his sister after she was still groggy from wisdom teeth removal.
He convinced her that a zombie apocalypse was happening and asked her which of their pets — the dog or the cat — he should save.
A portion of proceeds from ticket sales — $15,000 — went to Wags & Whiskers Animal Rescue of Minnesota.
More than 13,000 fans gathered for last year’s event hosted by the Walker Art Center. The Walker started the quirky festival four years ago to the delight of die-hard fans of cat videos, some of whom brought the felines themselves. The event became an overnight sensation, drawing international media attention.
Last spring the Walker announced it was done with cats and was donating all festival memorabilia to the Minnesota Historical Society. That’s when the Saints and myTalk stepped up.
“The day it was announced, one of our on-air hosts texted me and said, ‘We have to take this,’ ” Daniels said.