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March 6, 2015

March 6, 2015

For more information, contact:
Amy Styles, Marketing Director
865-215-6668 (o) or 437-6599 (m)

Natalie Lester
Moxley Carmichael
865-544-0088 (o) or 865-599-4051 (m)


March of Furry Friends Supports Young-Williams Animal Center

With more than 300 dogs pre-registered to walk in Saturday’s annual Mardi Growl Parade, officials with Young-Williams Animal Center are expecting record crowds for the City of Knoxville’s biggest pet-friendly event.

The eighth annual Mardi Growl features a pet-friendly parade at 11 a.m. and a festival in Market Square from noon to 2 p.m.

“Mardi Growl is a festive event people of all ages–and dogs of all breeds–enjoy,” said Jeff Ashin, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center.  “We invite all Knoxville-area pet lovers to celebrate furry friends and support the animal shelter by participating.”

Day-of-event registration is $20 per dog. It is available from 9 to 10:45 a.m. at the PetSafe Downtown Dog Park at 200 S. Central Ave.  Goody bags will be given to registered participants while supplies last.

Mardi Growl was voted Knoxville’s Best Non-Profit Fundraiser Event in 2014 by Metro Pulse readers.  All proceeds from the event benefit Young-Williams Animal Center.

“Mardi Growl is a marvelous blend of family, friends, dogs, pets and Mardi Gras with an animal flair and lots of fun,” Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero said.  “We encourage everyone with or without pets to come downtown to watch the parade and enjoy the festival.”

The parade winds through the Old City to Jackson Ave., turns south onto Gay Street passing by a judges viewing stand at Krutch Park and turns back at Clinch Ave to finish at the festival on Market Square.

Participants can choose to compete in one of six different costume contests:  Best Dawg Pack, Volunteer Spirit, Best Dog Couple, Pet-Owner Look-a-like, Most Unique Mixed Breed and Best Costume.   A panel of judges, which will include representatives from the parade’s media sponsors WBIR-TV Channel 10 and B97.5 FM, will select the winners to be announced on the Bill Lyons Pavilion on Market Square at 1 p.m.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Young-Williams Animal Center will offer microchips for $20, rabies vaccines for $10 and pet ID tags for $5.  From noon to 2 p.m., more than 30 vendors representing pet product manufacturers, rescue groups, and dog services will be exhibiting on the square. The Old City Buskers will perform on the Bill Lyons Pavilion.

Mardi Growl is Young-Williams Animal Center’s biggest fundraiser and is made possible through the support of event sponsors, including Merial’s HeartGuard and Frontline, DeRoyal, PetSafe, Boyd’s Jig & Reel, Ann and Steve Bailey, The Haslam 3 Foundation, Brittany and Whitfield Bailey, Enrichment Federal Credit Union, Hill’s Science Diet, Pinnacle Financial Partners, and Kristen and Mark Williams.

For more information about Mardi Growl, visit or or call 865-215-6599.

About Young-Williams Animal Center

Young-Williams Animal Center reminds the community to please spay and neuter your pets.

The Young-Williams Animal Center is the official animal shelter for Knox County and the City of Knoxville. The center is a nonprofit organization, community-supported through public and private donations, that turns no animal away and is dedicated to the sheltering and placement of animals, general animal welfare, and public education of companion animal issues.

Young-Williams Animal Center is located off Sutherland Avenue at the entrance to John Tarleton Park at 3201 Division St. Young-Williams Animal Village is located at 6400 Kingston Pike adjacent to Deane Hill Drive. Both locations are open seven days a week from noon-6 p.m.

For more information about Young-Williams Animal Center, including detailed driving directions, call 865-215-6599 or visit