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Mardi Growl set to return to World's Fair Park on March 4

On March 4, pets and their owners will march from Old City and through downtown Knoxville dressed in their finest and most extravagant costumes.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Mardi Growl is set to return to downtown Knoxville in March 2023. The huge pet parade and party routinely brings out crowds of people dressed in their most extravagant costumes to match their pets' clothes.

It is expected to return to World's Fair Park on March 4. The "paw-rade" is set to step off at 11 a.m. in the Old City. Participants in the parade will march through downtown Knoxville and to World's Fair Park. The route is around 1.2 miles long.

Animals walking in the parade need to be registered ahead of time, and there is a $15 fee per animal. This year, participants have a chance to raise money ahead of the parade. The person that raises the most money will win a YETI bundle, which includes a cooler, a tumbler and a Boomer 4 dog bowl.

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People need to raise at least $300 to qualify for the prize package.

People will also be able to purchase a "Fetch Me a Beer" package. It includes a Young-Williams Animal Center mug and a pass that gives people buy one, get one deal at 12 Knoxville breweries. It will be valid at breweries like Hi-Wire, Merchants of Beer and Next Level Brewing Company.

After the parade, people will be able to walk through a pet festival at World's Fair Park. There will be food trucks, pet-friendly vendors, live music, games and more. There will also be a costume contest with several awards for several different categories.

Those categories are listed below. Pets must be pre-registered to participate in the contests, but are not required to walk in the parade.

  • Volunteer Spirit: Is your pet all Vol? Dress them in their best orange game-day attire to win!
  • Celebrity Look-alike: Dress your pet like Dolly, Elvis or anyone you’d like to receive an autograph from. The "pup-arazzi" won’t be far away!
  • Leader of the Pack: Get your pack together to win this category! Rescue groups, businesses, organizations and other groups are welcome.
  • Two of a Kind: Are we seeing double? Join your pet and dress in matching outfits, or pair pups together for a coordinated couple.
  • Life of the Paw-ty: Dress your pet in a bow tie, tutu and all other things fancy for this category. May the best-dressed win!

A spay shuttle and vet staff will also be on-site offering vaccines for pets, as well as microchips so pets can be more easily found if they are lost.

Mardi Growl is meant to raise money to help Young-Williams Animal Center through parade registrations and sponsorships. It also celebrates pets throughout the community and the businesses that uplift it.

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