A big day for dogs (Feb. 15), followed by a big day for beads (Feb. 21)

February 13, 2009

mardi-grasThe other evening I was with a group of fellow Soulard residents, and we got to talking about how big this whole Mardi Gras thing is getting. Take the little Winter Carnival a couple of weekends ago. It was the first year for the family-friendly, Saturday afternoon event, it was barely advertised, and yet so many people showed up that they ran out of craft supplies within the first three hours. If I were making a bet, I’d wager that this year’s Beggin’ Krewe of Barkus Pet Parade on Sunday (Feb. 15) will be the biggest yet, because I’ve heard from families near and far that they’ll be coming en masse.

The parade starts at 1 p.m., but the day tends to open earlier (registration at Menard and Allen begins at 10 a.m.) and wind down later than the official event, with pets and their families simply milling around the neighborhood and enjoying the camaraderie. Everywhere from Russell to 9th Street to Lafayette, where the route officially ends at Soulard Market Park, dogs will strut and owners will mingle. Post-parade activities include the traditional weiner dog races and a new animal health area  (checking teeth, heart rate, obesity, etc.) Although it’s perfectly OK to bring your pet down to mingle and not march in the parade, organizers will be collecting a $10 donation for the Open Door Animal Sanctuary from everyone who chooses to march (you can sign up online at the Purina homepage or in person at the parade’s staging point), and they’ll also be keeping an eye on all comers to make sure pets are docile, healthy and otherwise respectable.  Would that the rules were so strict for people the following weekend …

I’m joking, actually — if you’re coming to the Mardi Gras parade on Feb. 21, I do suggest bringing the kids.  Just try to avoid the heart of Soulard — choose either the northern end of the route along Seventh Street, just south of Busch Stadium, or the tail end, on Seventh Street north of Anheuser-Busch/InBev’s regional HQ.  It starts at 11 a.m. and will most likely reach Sidney Street about noon. It usually includes more than 100 floats and marching groups, and it takes a couple of hours for everyone to complete the route.  The tail end of the route is perhaps more fun for kids because the float-riders are eager to unload their un-thrown beads, and the haul is usually really, really good.  This year’s theme is History, and the entries so far seem pretty tame, aside from the float celebrating the first issue of Playboy magazine — you might want to scan in advance for that one and distract your kids with snacks right about then!  I do recommend bringing plenty of snacks and drinks; there is usually not much kid-friendly fare, and if your kids are like mine they will not want to leave their spots along the barriers for something as mundane as food, no matter that they’ve been standing in the cold for two hours … they have to get their share of the 17 million strands of beads that will go flying during this year’s parade.  (That number, incidentally, comes from Mardi Gras Inc. — I didn’t make it up!)


2 Responses to “A big day for dogs (Feb. 15), followed by a big day for beads (Feb. 21)”

  1. Sis Says:

    I do hope you’ll make it to the Weiner dog derby – maybe S. can look for some like the ones that tugged on his mittens before Thanksgiving!

    • mom22kids Says:

      That’s precisely why we WON’T be attending. The last thing I need is to have the boys surrounded by 10,000 cute pets. 🙂 But we are planning to go to a post-pet-parade party, so I’m not a total Scrooge!

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