The streets between Heritage and Sylvester parks were filled with excitement Saturday as animal lovers and their furry friends gathered for the 86th annual Pet Parade. The week’s thunderstorms cleared away and the sun came out just in time for people to enjoy the traditional Olympia event.
Animals and humans alike embraced the “Under the Sea” theme, dressed as fish, crabs, lobsters, sharks, crcas, mermaids, sailors, jellyfish, starfish, sea turtles, pirates, eels, dolphins, lobsters, alligators, hula dancers, octopuses, swimmers, scuba-divers and beach-goers.
In reality, the animals present were cats, dogs, chickens, guinea pigs, ferrets, horses and rabbits. Many were adorned with fins, seaweed and Hawaiian leis. But not everyone stuck to the theme. The parade also included baton twirlers, fairies, cowboys, princesses, Seahawks, “Despicable Me” Minions, rabbits and a giant carrot, monsters, clowns, and aliens.
The Kim family — Olympia residents Ron and Amanda, and daughter Serean, 9 — walked the parade with their dog Ziggy for the third year in a row. They were decked out with Star Wars T-shirts and quotes.
Never miss a local story.
Serean was dressed as Princess Leia and Ziggy was in a doggie Yoda costume.
“It’s awesome,” Serean said. “The best part is dressing up!”
Ron carried a sign that read, “I am your father!” He said the Pet Parade has become one of their family traditions.
“We look forward to it every year,” he said.
Floats included inner tubes, canoes, alligators, beds, castles, a giant jellyfish made out a rainbow umbrella, pirate ships, beach scenes, and tributes to “The Little Mermaid,” “Finding Nemo” and more.
A couple of floats, featuring chickens in cages, were even labeled “Chicken of the Sea.” Bagpipers and the American Legion band provided festive music for the occasion.
It was a seemingly crazy event, but on-site coordinator Billy Thomas, an advertising representative at The Olympian, called it, “controlled chaos” and “a lot of fun.”
“It’s so awesome to see the community come together like that,” Thomas said. “People in Olympia love their pets and having a day to celebrate that is just so fun.”
Aside from the parade itself, event also included an after party in Sylvester Park with free ice cream. Six grand prizes were given out to participants in various categories, as well as smaller prizes.
About 20 rescue animals — puppies, kittens, dogs and cats — were available for adoption at the Paws for a Purpose booth, all thanks to Lina Hoffman.
Hoffman, 17, dreams of someday becoming a veterinarian. The incoming senior at Northwest Christian High School wanted to do something with her senior project to help animals.
“We’re giving them a second chance and giving an owner a wonderful pet and a new companion,” Hoffman said. “I’ve always loved working with animals.”
There was fun to be had for spectators, such as Whitney Holm, who has lived in Olympia for many years but never attended before.
“This was my first pet parade. I thought it went really well and it was a lot longer than I anticipated,” Holm said.
She said her favorite part was the dog in a shark costume riding along in a fish tank.
Entry by group: Yelm Prairie Elementary, Yelm
Entry by family: April Yancey, Olympia
Entry by girl: Olivia Marty, Olympia
Entry by boy: Zane and Jake McAferty, Tenino
Entry by child: Ella Sarliker, Frances Sharp and Leila Chavez, Olympia
Zane and Jake McAferty, Tenino
Sarah and Samantha Pettit, Olympia
Michaila Renick, Olympia
Rylee Beell, Olympia
Kinsey Trujillo, Olympia
Julia Crane-Jacobs, Olympia
Jon Cushman, Olympia
Tom Pree, Olympia
Madeline Biehler, Olympia
Anna and Sam Roberts, Olympia
Ashley Knapp, Olympia
Debbie Deerwester, Olympia
Evelyn Huston, Olympia
Jake McAfterty, Tenino
Zane McAferty, Tenino
Justine Salter, Olympia
Thaalia Sinons, Olympia
Jenny Samich, Tumwater
Amanda Mahony, Olympia
Allison Holder, Olympia
Rosalyn Tobeck, Olympia
Marcela MacNaughton, Tenino
Michael Marty, Olympia
Carrie and Rob Marty, Olympia
Iea Kolar, Olympia
Katie and Wesley Flint, Shelton
Alice Fischer, Olympia
Ella Sarliker, Olympia
Tammy Baker, Olympia
Luke and Becca Howell, Olympia
Delaney and Max Kapust, Olympia
Adrienne Kuhn, Olympia
Lucy and Ellie Armijo, Olympia
Maria and Veronica, Olympia
Kate Winans, Olympia
Yelm Prairie Elementary Choir, Lacey