The weather forecasts were uncertain until the end, but it was a cloudless sky to welcome the thousands and more people who came to Sala Biellese from all over Northern Italy on August 26, to celebrate our first 9 years of opening to the public.
The Great Summer Fair, every August last Sunday, recalls that August 22, 2009, when the Rifugio's gate has opened to visitors for the first time. And since then we have welcomed over 150,000 people - more than 10 percent were children on school visits.
We have tried to pass to all visitors the key values of our Rifugio and of our work: respect for all living beings, the fundamental role of education, the importance of encounter and knowledge. This is also why Grooming Days were born: they have become monthly appointments, during which the "barriers" of the fences and donkeys and humans are no longer there and it is possible to meet without filters.
Only last Sunday were 200 the people on queue to enter the donkeys' area and to spend some precious time with Bandit, Mimì, Alin, Coquette: and it's not a surprise, since our most important messengers are they indeed, the 134 donkeys and mules we take care of every day (many more the ones we have saved in these years).
Their stories, which often started with abuse and abandonment, were the center of the guided tours; and if many already knew from Facebook or website, others heard for the first time during the Fair, with wet eyes that turned into open smiles when they saw the effects of our commitment, in the form of serene donkeys.
Many children have plunged happily into the straw pool or have learned the "Canzon degli Asinelli", the result of creativity and immense passion of volunteers and dedicated to the Wonder 8, guests of the shelter that everyone can adopt to help us carry out our activities.
Without the help of many donkey friends, our Rifugio could not exist: our strongest thanks go to all those who, during the Sunday party and for all these years, made us feel their support, through volunteering, adoptions, donations (carrots, apples and hay included), 5X1000 and the purchase of calendars and other gadgets. So many people who believe in us and allow us to make a feast for saved donkeys every day.
Il Rifugio degli Asinelli ONLUS thanks also Lauretana, Italian Red Cross - Cossato Committee and AIB Sala Biellese and Torrazzo.