Mardi Gras is Tuesday, but the Animal Mission’s Party Animals Mardi Gras Parade and Festival kicks off at noon Saturday, when parade krewes will load up their floats and begin their cruise through Rosewood and Shandon offering beads, candy and holiday cheer to onlookers.
“People all along the way joined in from their houses walking in Mardi Gras costumes,” Animal Mission advisory board member Laura Sonefeld said of last year’s parade. “By the time the parade wound back to City Roots there were at least 100 more people,” Sonefeld said..
The kid-and-dog-friendly post-parade bash includes music on five stages (including a kids’ stage), loads of food and celebratory beverages. The event also supports the Animal Mission, which provides vouchers for pet spay and neutering services and partners with the Columbia Animal Shelter for adoptions.
This year, to add to the fun, and help promote dog adoption, seven local beauty title holders will walk the parade route with seven dogs in need of homes.
As king of the Animal Mission Krewe and owner of the pageant prep business Gowns and Crowns, Cyrus Frakes has been charged with getting the dogs ready for their close-ups. “My job is really to help them put their put their best paw forward,” he notes. “They’ll be on their best behavior, with heads held high, perfect hair, great nails and all the right accessories. Instead of a crown, I hope they’ll each get a forever home.”
And while the dogs are each up for adoption, Frakes notes that the beauty queens are not. “What you’re adopting stops at the leash,” he said, laughing.