Pets and animal enthusiasts will celebrate the 16th annual Mardi Growl Pet Parade & Festival in Downtown Knoxville on Saturday, March 4. The event benefits Young-Williams Animal Center, the official municipal shelter for the City of Knoxville and Knox County.
Mardi Growl, presented by Merchants of Beer, will feature a pet-friendly parade from the Old City to World’s Fair Park, where vendors, live music, food trucks and other fun await.
“We’re bringing Mardi Gras from NOLA to Knoxville! Expect beads, boas and barks as pets take over the streets and World’s Fair Park for Mardi Growl’s 16th year,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “Register to walk with your pet in the parade or plan to watch from our city’s sidewalks. Then, join the paw-ty to support our vision of A Home for Every Pet.”
The shelter’s Spay Shuttle will offer $10 rabies vaccines and microchipping for dogs and cats. Attendees can book an appointment at mardigrowl.org/info. More than 50 vendors will participate in the festival, including pet product retailers, veterinarians, rescue groups and more.
Early bird parade registration is $15 per pet and available at mardigrowl.org/register through Tuesday, Feb. 28. Day-of registration increases to $20 per pet and will be open 9-10:30 a.m. at the registration booth on Willow Avenue. Goody bags will be given to registered participants while supplies last. Dogs and their human handlers in the parade can compete in five contests: Volunteer Spirit, Celebrity Look-alike, Leader of the Pack, Two of a Kind and Life of the Paw-ty. Prizes also will be given to the Best in Show and Overall Top Scoring pet. Learn more about the contests at mardigrowl.org/info.
A panel of judges will include representatives from parade media sponsors, WBIR-TV Channel 10 and Star 102.1 FM. Additional community leaders will select the winners to be announced at the World’s Fair Park stage at 1:30 p.m.
The pet parade starts at 11 a.m. in the Old City and travels up Jackson Avenue to World’s Fair Park.
“I am eager to see this beloved parade and festival return to our city for the 16th year,” City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “Young-Williams Animal Center is a trusted partner in our efforts to care for our community’s stray, lost, injured, abused and neglected animals. Please support the shelter by celebrating on Saturday!”
Mardi Growl is Young-Williams Animal Center’s largest fundraiser and is made possible through the support of event sponsors, including: Merchants of Beer; Radio Systems Corporation; PetSafe; Invisible Fence Inc.; SportDOG, City of Knoxville; Downtown Knoxville Alliance; River Dog Bakery; Visit Knoxville; Pinnacle Financial Partners; TIS Insurance Services, Inc.; Mortgage Investors Group; All Occasions Party Rentals; LHP Capital; PetWellClinic; Rocky Top K9 and others. Media sponsors include WBIR-TV Channel 10 and Star 102.1 FM.
For more information about Mardi Growl, visit mardigrowl.org.
About Young-Williams Animal Center
The vision of Young-Williams Animal Center is “a home for every pet.” It is the municipal shelter of the City of Knoxville and Knox County, and each year takes in more than 11,000 animals.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Young-Williams Animal Center serves the needs of lost, unwanted, abandoned and neglected animals. The center’s mission is to lead the community to end pet homelessness, promote animal welfare and enhance the human-animal bond through the shelter and placement of animals, spay/neuter initiatives and public education of companion animal issues. Young-Williams Animal Center reminds pet owners to spay and neuter their pets.
Young-Williams Animal Center’s main facility is located off Sutherland Avenue at 3201 Division Street. Young-Williams Animal Village satellite adoption location and public spay/neuter program is located at 6400 Kingston Pike.
Both locations are open seven days a week from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The shelter closes from 1-2 p.m. for an hour of quiet time for the animals. For more information about Young-Williams Animal Center, call 865-215-6599 or visit young-williams.org.