Pet Parade in September
Pandemic moves 75th annual event from June date
By Steve Metsch
Right now, there will be a 75th Pet Parade in La Grange this year.
But it won’t held on the usual day, the first Saturday after Memorial Day. That is June 5 this year.
Rather, organizers have decided – citing concerns about large crowds gathering as we still struggle with the coronavirus pandemic – to push the parade date to Sept. 18.
According to a news release, the parade date has been moved back in the hopes that the La Grange area will be in the “Phase 5” of gathering regulations at that time.
“Phase 5” is a time when festivals are allowed to take place without stipulations on the number of attendees, according to state guidelines, Parade Coordinator Molly Price said.
“We’re in Phase 4 now,” Price said. “Phase 5 is no restrictions.”
Last year was the first ever that saw no Pet Parade because of the pandemic. Instead, a virtual version was held.
The parade itself has more than 2,000 people walking the route, Price said, with about 20,000 watching.
“We just want to make sure people are comfortable,” Price said. “We want it to be back to the way it was if we possibly can.”
Organizers picked September because kids should be back in school, so marching bands should be available, Price said, along with the weather would be good.
“That seems to be a weekend there isn’t anything (else) already scheduled,” Price said.
She has not heard any complaints since posting the news on Facebook and Instagram. “People have been excited so far,” she said.
A call to village officials in La Grange was not returned.
Although the parade is being pushed back to September, other parade-related promotions are planned.
- Buckledown Brewing, based in Lyons, is coming out with a 75th Pet Parade beer in the month of June.
- Pet Parade themed face cutout photo opportunity boards in downtown La Grange, a month before the parade date.
- Logo pet bandannas to be sold in retail locations to be announced
- A traveling display about the history of the parade will be held. Price is working with the La Grange Area Historical Society on this.
- And, a commemorative book will be printed later in the year.
“We asked for photos to be uploaded,” Price said. “We had some photos dating back to the first year, which is 1947, and some old newspaper articles. People have been sending us photos, sending us old memories.”
A drawing for a fundraising raffle will still be held as planned on May 28. People buy tickets after they make donations to help present the Pet Parade.
Registration paperwork for the parade can be found on the Pet Parade website.
Non-profit organizations can walk in the parade for free and businesses are invited to participate as sponsors.
Acts like the Medinah Flying Carpets will, as always, be hired as paid acts to entertain spectators. “Hopefully, they will be available,” she said.
Acts will be contacted over the next few weeks.
If restrictions for large groups are still in place in September, the parade will most likely need to cancel the event for 2021 and focus on 2022 planning.
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