More than 1,600 people gathered to watch 700 pet owners and their pets march in the ninth annual Burlingame Pet Parade on Saturday, September 29, 2010. Featured pets were three young alpacas from Alpacas by the Sea in Montara; Baer, a police dog who works for the Burlingame Police Department with Officer Kevin Thorpe; and Dusty the Klepto Kitty, who has stolen 650 items from his neighbors in San Mateo.
Participants strutted to the music of the Burlingame High School Band and the Los Trancos Woods Community Marching Band, and they were entertained before and after the parade by the San Mateo Elks Concert Band. Broadway businesses joined in the festivities, hosting sidewalk sales and special promotions. Preston’s Candy & Ice Cream offered free chocolate tours, and the Broadway Grill invited families to dine outdoors with their pets.
The family-friendly event offered free entertainment and art projects for children. Every participant received a souvenir ribbon. Fancy ribbons were awarded for the Best Pet Trick; Most Unusual Pet; Best Dressed Pet; and Most Original Float, Group or Wagon. The Grand Prize winner received a professional pet portrait valued at $450 from Pet Food Express in Burlingame.
Three young alpacas from Alpacas by the Sea in Montara and a veteran police dog from the Burlingame Police Department were crowd pleasers. The alpacas were accompanied by their teenage owners, Sunny and McKinley Hibbits, and the police dog was led by K-9 handler Officer Kevin Thorpe.
Parade commentary was provided by Stephen Hamilton and two BIS 6th graders, twins Clara & Ally Kennedy
Grand Prize Winner – The judges awarded the Grand Prize to “Who Let the Dogs Out?”, a mini-float built by Lucy Hickmitt of Burlingame and Rachel Green of San Mateo. It featured Lucy’s dog Hercules, a Chihuahua-terrier mix dressed as a rapper wearing a hoodie and chains and Rachel’s dog Brix, a Great Pyrenees dressed as the rapper’s bodyguard, garbed in a sweatshirt and a baseball hat. The float included a miniature turntable and speakers.
Best Pet Trick – A small dog named Fiona won the Best Pet Trick Award after she played a miniature piano and fetched a Kleenex from tissue box upon hearing her owner sneeze.
Best Dressed Pet – “The Royal Wedding,” a group featuring two dogs named Diggs and Sage dressed as Prince William and Princess Kate in wedding regalia, won the Best Dressed Pet Award. Diggs and Sage are SPCA rescue dogs owned by the Cheryl and Tim Graczewski family of Burlingame.
Most Unusual Pet – A tiny teacup piglet named Zoey won the Most Unusual Pet Award. Her owner is Shannon Anderegg of Millbrae.
Most Original Float, Wagon or Group – A mini haunted house promoting McKinley School’s Harvest Festival on October 26-27 won the Most Original Float, Wagon or Group Award. A skeleton and zombie rode in the float, which was accompanied by eight McKinley families, their dogs and two snakes. All were dressed in Halloween costumes.
In addition to several hundred dogs of all varieties, this year’s parade brought out alpacas, a teacup piglet, cats, rabbits, baby mice, a king snake, a blue belly lizard, a bearded dragon lizard, a “sleeping lizard” from Australia, full-grown guinea pigs, a baby hairless guinea pig, chickens that were hatched at First Presbyterian Church Nursery School, parakeets and a large parrot.
Sosi, a boxer owned by Eleni Chechopowlos of Millbrae, was regally dressed in pink ruffles and a crown. A Maine coon cat and her owner were dressed as Puss and Boots in pirate costumes. The chickens brought along green eggs – and ham, too. “Cloud 9” featured one small dog dressed as a cloud in cotton balls and another dressed as a rainbow. Another family and their dogs were covered in purple balloons and called themselves the “Grapest Grapes.”
Carrying the American flag at the beginning of the parade was Kate Rose Keighran.
The families marching at the front of the parade were affiliated with the First Presbyterian Church Nursery School.
Participants marched to music provided by the Burlingame High School Band and the Los Trancos Woods Community Marching Band.
The San Mateo Elks Concert performed for the crowd before and after the parade.
Parade commentary was provided by Stephen Hamilton and twins Allie and Clara Kennedy, who are sixth graders at Burlingame Intermediate School.
Volunteers from the Burlingame Mothers’ Club and Art Attack helped children create art projects with an animal theme. The Burlingame Lions Club brought Leo the Lion and young Leos who passed out stickers to children. Volunteers from the Animal Rights Club at Burlingame High helped sell raffle tickets to benefit the Peninsula Humane Society.
The Peninsula Humane Society offered pet fortune tellers and pet psychics, as well as dog behavior demonstrations at its booth. PHS invited people to come to the new Tom and Annette Lantos Center for Compassion at 1450 Rollins Road in Burlingame after the parade, from 1 to 3 p.m., to see dog agility demonstrations.
The Broadway Grill invited people to “Dine With Your Dog” at tables outside, Paris-style, while Preston’s Candy and Ice Cream offered free chocolate tours.
Special thanks to the hardworking members of Burlingame Parade Steering Committee, who organized the parade:
The parade was started in 2004 by a group of volunteers to promote community spirit. It is entirely supported by volunteers and community donations. Previous parades have featured various dogs dressed as a devil, motorcycle rider, a ballerina, a race car driver, an angel, a jester, hula dancers and pirates. Pets entered have included cats, rabbits, hamsters, mice, rats, chickens, birds, snakes, lizards and a miniature pony.