by Calvin Ishee, Associate Publisher

For the fifth year in a row, local pets gathered at War Memorial Park to participate in the annual Pass Christian Pet Pawrade. This year’s event was held on Saturday, December 4, 2021 and featured 64 beautiful dogs from all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

The Pawrade attracted celebrity judges that included former Mayor Chipper McDermott, Ward 1 Alderwoman Betty Sparkman and veterinarian extraordinaire Dr. Jennifer Hendrick. Former owner of The Gazebo Gazette and current Director of Communications for the Hancock County Port and Harbor Commission Jace Ponder served as the Master of Ceremonies.

The crowd of over 100 were treated to an exciting, fun and sometimes funny Pawrade that featured dogs and their handlers circling the judges and the crowd at least three times. This allowed the judges and fans alike to take in the wide range of colorful, cool and creative costumes.

Since its inception 6 years ago, the event has grown exponentially.  Prizes are now awarded in four categories, Petite, Medium, El Grande and Troupe.

Each category was given awards for Best Dressed Pet and Best Dressed Pet/Handler. A $10 entry fee was charged and all proceeds were donated to Rescue Animal A.I.D. of Mississippi.

The Best in Show winner was awarded to Tanner, who was escorted by his owner Donna Mellott as well as Craig Cumby. A key component of Tanner’s costume featured the ever popular Mr. Grinch, who was serving as chauffeur for Tanner.

Input from those in attendance were extremely positive. Event organizer Mary Bourdin commented, “The elves, myself included, truly enjoy organizing  the Pet Pawrade and seeing everyone smiling and having a good time.”  The elves chimed in by adding, “We were pleased with the large turnout and everyone having so much fun.”  Celebrity Judge Alderwoman Betty Sparkman stated, “What a fun afternoon.  It never ceases to amaze me how a few, committed volunteers can bring so much joy to so many”.

Goodie bags for the first 50 entrants were provided by Live Oak Animal Hospital located in Pass Christian. The elves also worked their magic and provided bandannas to the contestants.

There you have it, another highly successful Christmas event offered in The Pass. What a great start to this year’s Christmas holiday season!

(Photos by Calvin Ishee/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)