Like too many area residents, Frank Parks was flooded out of his home last year. If ever there was a year Baton Rouge needed its Mardi Gras parades, it’s 2017.
And that includes the parade that, literally, goes to the dogs.
The Capital Area Animal Welfare Society’s 18th annual Mystic Krewe of Mutts Mardi Gras parade and Bark in the Park events will take place Sunday, Feb. 19, in downtown Baton Rouge. The theme, “All Paws On Deck — Louisiana Strong, Baton Rouge Proud,” harkens to what happened in August — not the flood, but the people who showed up to help.
“We’re recognizing the Cajun Navy and every other response group, any group that actually helped with this,” said Parks, the parade coordinator. “We’re going to have some of the groups marching in the parade, as well.”
Bark in the Park activities along North Boulevard at Town Square and Galvez Plaza will include vendors with food, information, shopping, contests, activities and demonstrations. Costume contests will be judged at noon on the Main Stage led by emcee Leo Honeycutt. Contest categories include best costume, float and group theme. Registration is required to participate in the contests or walk in the parade and can be done on parade day. Individual registration (one person, one dog) costs $25, and $5 per additional person or dog and $10 per float. "Pack" registration (20 people and dogs) costs $100.
The parade starts at 2 p.m. at St. Ferdinand Street (Fourth Street) and rolls east along the north side of North Boulevard, turning north (left) at North Seventh Street and west (left) at Convention Street. It then turns (left) on North Fourth Street and ends at North Boulevard.
Raising Cane’s “After Pawty” fundraiser will be held at the downtown restaurant, 302 Third St., all day until 5 p.m. For customers who mention the fundraiser at the register that day, Cane’s will donate 15 percent of the sale to Capital Area Animal Welfare Society.
The annual event is CAAWS’s largest fundraiser and promotes area spay-neuter programs.