We had a great time at the St.
Louis Mardi Gras Krewe of Barkus Parade 2008!
Congratulations to Toddy LaMear, the reluctant
bride, who made the front page of the "St.
Dispatch" newspaper. Her picture and story
later appeared as the closing page in the June
issue of Ladies Home Journal under the
storyline HOW AMERICA LIVES. "She'll only be
getting married once," promised Bonita
Knickmeyer of Cedar Hill, when referring to
"Toddy," who is owned by Knickmeyer's friend
Shirley LaMear of Pacific. They participated
in Sunday's eighth annual "Mystic Krewe of
Barkus Pet Parade" in the Soulard
neighborhood. "Thousands of garbed pets have
their day in parade"* The annual event kicks
off the area's Mardi Gras season and raises
money for the Open Door Animal Shelter in
While Fat Tuesday in St. Louis
seems to get "fatter" by the year, Soulard's
annual pet parade on Sunday offered a low-key,
G-rated alternative to the debauchery expected
next weekend. Families mingled, and
thousands of dogs sniffed each other. Aside
from the latter, it was good clean fun.
Organizers of the Mystic Krewe
of Barkus Pet Parade said they expected the
attendance at the parade and subsequent Wiener
Dog Derby to approach last year's estimated
totals of 75,000 people and 5,000 pets. The
event raises funds for Open Door Animal
Shelter in Jefferson County, the St. Louis
area's only shelter that does not destroy
animals. Parade participants tossed beads and
bacon-flavored snacks to the eager crowd of
people and pets lining Ninth Street.
Slider, a 9-year-old lab and
Brittany mix, sat along Ninth Street
shivering. "He's not cold, he just does that
when he's scared", Mike Olson said. A moment
later, Slider turned up his nose at one of the
bacon-flavored treats. "I don't think he likes
the pet parade very much." Strangers walking
the parade route stopped to chat when their
dogs sniffed each other. There was Harley, a
Doberman-boxer mix so named because he looked
"tough - like a biker", said owner Stefanie
Smith, of Kirkwood.
There was Heisman, a Great
Dane, so named because of his statuesque
stoicism, like that of the trophy awarded to
college football's best player each year. And
there was Jenna, a Rottweiller-lab mix whose
owner thought the name sounded pretty.
Without the massive crowds that come to the
Grand Parade, Sunday's simple event seemed
more like Mardi Gras used to be in St. Louis,
said Stacy Golladay, of Kirkwood. "It's good
clean fun", she said. "You just have to watch
where you step."