St. Louis Icon Tony La Russa and Musical Guest Blues Traveler Join Beggin’ to Host One of the World's Largest Pet Parades in Celebration of Mardi Gras
Thousands of dogs dressed up & marched in the 22nd annual #BegginPetParade for Mardi Grasnd annual #BegginPetParade for Mardi Gras" data-count="none">Tweet
Grand Marshal Tony La Russa, legendary St. Louis Cardinals manager, 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and avid animal lover, led thousands of costumed canine participants through the streets of the famous Soulard neighborhood on a unique Beggin’ float as more than 100,000 spectators watched and cheered along the way. Adorned with beads, feathers, hats and other attire, the canine convoy proudly marched to the finish line to watch the annual coronation ceremony and a free performance by Blues Traveler.
“Bringing people and pets together is a passion of mine that I’m excited to celebrate back in St. Louis,” said La Russa, co-founder of the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF). “Not only is this event fun, but it’s an opportunity for fans and families to witness how animals impact and benefit our communities.”
A $10 required registration fee for each pet participating in the parade benefited the Open Door Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal rescue and adoption organization in the St. Louis area. Donating also took place online as people shared photos and posts using the parade hashtag #BegginPetParade on their social media channels. Beggin’ will donate $1 (up to $10,000) to the Petfinder Foundation for every hashtag and photo shared through the event.
Although Tony La Russa and Blues Traveler were key attractions, the main stars were the well-dressed pets and finalists in the annual coronation ceremony. This year’s ceremony featured five costume contest winners with huge prizes. A team of judges determined whose costumes were “best-in-show” and awarded $2,500 to the best male and female costumes, as well as $1,000 or a Cardinal’s ticket package to each winner of the three new costume categories: Celebrity Look Alike, Sports Personality and Mardi Gras.
The King award went to a trio that included Jaxx, a Border Collie mix, Velvet, a Poodle, and Corky, a Minfin mix. Ellie, a Toy Poodle dressed as “Chicken Poodle” soup, was crowned Queen. The winner of the Celebrity Look Alike category was Captain Jack, a Yorkie mix, for dressing up as Captain Jack Sparrow. Paying tribute to the St. Louis Cardinals, two Boxers named Peanut and Sammy took home the Sports Personality prize. Last but not least, The Z Family, comprised of Zizi Z, a Cocker Spaniel, Magi Z, an Airedale Terrier, and Magi Z, a Welsh Terrier, was recognized as the winner of the Mardi Gras category.
The day’s events all led up to the grand finale – a free, live concert by Blues Traveler. The award-winning rock band performed their greatest hits, including “Run Around” and “Hook,” ending the celebration on a high note.
“It’s hard to choose a favorite moment from the Beggin’ Pet Parade. Tony La Russa, Blues Traveler and the thousands of parade-goers made this a truly memorable event,” said Rick Swensen, Beggin’ assistant brand manager. “This annual St. Louis tradition creates unforgettable, hilarious moments for pets and their owners, and we look forward to it every year.”
Beggin’ is proud to celebrate all pets’ fun-loving personalities and the spirit of Mardi Gras at one of the largest pet parades in the world. In 2012, 1,326 dogs walked through the parade in their most elaborate outfits, setting a new Guinness World Records™ for “Most Dogs in Costumed Attire.”
For more information about the parade, including photos and highlights, please visit www.begginpetparade.com and www.facebook.com/beggin or search the hashtag #BegginPetParade on Twitter and Instagram.
About Nestlé Purina PetCare
Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., the world's largest food company.
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