Rescue dog Penelope, who overcame all odds to survive, is Mardi Paws Grand Marshal at Sunday’s parade

Published 3:48 pm Monday, January 29, 2024

NATCHEZ — Hoofbeats and PawPrints Rescue’s adoptables, alumn and local revelers of all breeds and creeds will party together at the second annual Mardi Paws Parade on Sunday, Feb. 4, from 2 to 3:15 p.m.

The festivities take on an even more celebratory meaning as Penelope — the dog featured in The Natchez Democrat article as “Determined Not to Die” after being dumped in Adams County — will lead the parade as Grand Marshal.

The free event kicks off with a traditional Mardi Gras-style Parade, including music, beads and well-behaved pooches and owners in Mardi Gras-themed costumes, marching along the Natchez Bluff.

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Non-motorized pet parade floats created from small wagons and pet strollers will be a new category to be judged by Mayor and Mrs. Dan Gibson.

In addition to crowning a King and Queen, awards will be made for costumes including most creative, best dressed dog, best dressed dog and owner combination, and best animal float.

Not to be left out, cats can compete remotely via the best-dressed cat photo contest. Bring or send your photo but keep your favorite feline at home.

The parade will conclude along “Bour-bone Street (North Broadway near High Street) with a variety of activities for the Mardi Gras lover in all of us.

Purple, green and gold will bedeck and bejewel the festivities including free nail trimming provided by Pet Sense, discounted pet microchipping provided by Southside Veterinary Clinic, professional pet photos available by Petersen Photography, refreshments from Della’s Lemonade Stand and Painting your Pet’s Paws with Girl Scout Troop 3745.

All guests are invited to “Take 10” and complete free CPR training (human and pet), sponsored by Mardi Paws’ Platinum Sponsor, Pafford Air and Ground EMS.

The goal of the Mardi Paws Parade is to celebrate good dogs and bring awareness to pet rescue and adoption. Great pets that have been overlooked at local shelters in recent months will be featured. All participating shelter animals will be fully vaccinated. Special treats will be provided to all four-legged participants.

While the event is free, a $10 registration/donation is requested for pets participating in the parade. Those donating $25 or more will receive a commemorative T-shirt. For more information or to submit your best dressed cat photo before the day of the event, email info.hprescue@gmail.com.

The event will take place at North Broadway and High streets in Natchez. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held indoors just across the bridge at the Riverview RV Park, Vidalia.

Registration and parade line up begins at 1:45 p.m. The parade will kick off at 2 p.m. Mardi Paws competition judging while pets and people visit booths is at 2:20 p.m. Winners will be announced at 3 p.m.

Hoofbeats and PawPrints coordinates the collection of candidate animals from Miss-Lou shelters and designated foster homes, coordinating care, veterinary screening, socialization and transport to no-kill adoption centers in other areas.