|January 23, 2009 -
Rudy, the cake-eating, snowman-destroying version of Marley in the movie “Marley & Me” will serve as grand marshal of the Mardi Growl Dog Parade in downtown Knoxville next month.
The 2nd annual costume parade for dogs - and their owners - is set for 11 a.m., Saturday, February 21.
The parade will begin at the corner of Summit Hill Drive and Central Avenue, the future home of the city’s downtown dog park, and will wind its way through downtown before ending in Market Square.
The Mardi Growl is presented by PetSafe Village and Invisible Fence Brand and is being produced by the City of Knoxville and Young-Williams Animal Center. It aims to raise awareness of the pet adoption efforts of Young-Williams and proceeds from the parade will go to support the center.
Last year more than 350 dogs, with the University of Tennessee’s Smokey IX leading the way in a red convertible, took to the streets for the first Mardi Growl. The parade concluded with the selection of a royal court from among the costumed dogs and the awarding of the prestigious “Naked Dog Award” to the most handsome non-costumed dog.
“We had a terrific turnout from Knoxville and the surrounding area for the inaugural Mardi Growl last year. Everyone had a great time and left saying that they would be back next year,” said Madeleine Weil, deputy director of the city’s Policy & Communications Department. “We’re hoping this event turns into a favorite downtown tradition that people look forward to every winter.”
“The parade supports a wonderful cause and an admirable organization, the Young-Williams Animal Center, and the City of Knoxville is very happy to be part of it,” she added.
Rudy, a nine-year-old Labrador Retriever who lives with his owner in Temple Terrace, Florida, was one of 22 dogs who played the role in the movie, “Marley & Me,” based on the book written by John Grogan.
He was a stray who was less than a day from being euthanized when Susan Woolley, a volunteer with a Labrador Retriever rescue organization in Florida, adopted him eight years ago.
“The folks at Young-Williams Animal Center are very excited that an ex-shelter dog like Rudy has made the big time in “Marley & Me” and still has time to come to Knoxville to help other shelter animals,” said Tim Adams, Young-Williams’ executive director. “He is a great example of how special a pet adopted from a place like the Animal Center can be and what a difference they can make in the lives of a loving family.”
Participants in the parade will receive a doggie goody bag.
Early registration is $8 per dog and ends on February 13th.
Late registration and day of parade registration, which begins at 9:30 a.m. on February 21st, will be $10.
Other sponsors include WBIR-TV, The Knoxville News-Sentinel, B97.5, and WJXB-FM.
For more information about the Mardi Growl Dog Parade, or to register, please go to www.cityofknoxville.org/recreation/mardigrowl.
For more information about the Young-Williams Animal Center or about pet adoption please go to www.knoxpets.org.