The parade bills itself as the world’s largest costumed pet parade. There were hundreds (thousands?) of dogs in the parade, and just as many on the sidelines. We'd been to the event in 2009, so we knew a little bit about what to expect. Just as we did back then, we parked about a mile to the west and walked in. It was harder to find a parking space this year and I wondered if the parade had gotten more popular or if the nice weather was bringing out a bigger crowd.
We found spots on the sidewalk close to the beginning of the route, right behind a family that was sitting on the curb, and passed the time dog and people watching. The parade started right on time. First came a group of motorcycle police, followed by two patrol cars. There was a corporate float (Purina Beggin' Strips was the main parade sponsor) and another one carrying Grand Marshal Tony La Russa. Then the pets started coming.
At the beginning of the procession were the best dressed finalists that had been invited to join the Court of the Mystical Krewe of Barkus. At the end of the parade two of them would be crowned as the King and Queen. After that there was a cavalcade of dogs and their owners that lasted for 40 minutes. Most of the dogs were walking, but a few rode by in a decorated wagon or cart. I saw pooches wearing strands of beads around their neck, others wearing costumes simple or elaborate, and even a few that had been spray painted.
Just like at every good Mardi Gras parade there was swag thrown. Both Tony and I managed to get a couple of necklaces, and Tony caught a fun pair of glasses. He also got a container of dog treats, which he gave away to the person next to him.
|Some of our parade swag|