Thrifty Thurston Walks Pets In The Olympia Pet Parade



By Alyssa Ramsfield

bark avenue logoFairies, dragons, unicorns, princesses and princes: These may be only a few of the characters spotted as pets across Thurston County will take center stage on Saturday, August 17 during Olympia’s 84th Annual Pet Parade.  Nearly  1,000 pets are expected to participate in this year’s event.  There should be no shortage of furry entertainment.

Every year, the parade has a different theme to set the tail-wagging tone. This year, it is all about “Fairy Tails.”

olympia pet paradeThe parade originated back in 1929 by a local 4-H group as a parade to present their award winning animals to the community. It has since morphed throughout the years to present pets from all walks of life in an entertaining way!

For most community members, the Olympia Pet Parade is a chance to make memories with their family that last a lifetime. “I remember, as a kid, dressing up with my cousin and dog as cheerleaders,” says long time county resident, Jennifer St. Pierre. “I really enjoyed seeing other pets and children dressed up too. I remember seeing a Dachshund dressed as a hotdog, riding down the parade route on a skateboard. That’s an image that has stuck with me since the 80’s.”

“The best part was finishing the parade and collecting our hard earned ice cream,” says St. Pierre. The tradition of indulging participants with ice cream continues this year thanks to the Olympia Downtown Association. Along with the traditional frozen treat, participants receive a goody bag of treats! Judges will be standing by to award the pets and their families for use of the theme. There are 5 grand prizes available and 36 additional prizes up for grabs in a variety of categories.

olympia pet paradePreparation for this event starts early for many residents. Many participants buy their costumes, but others find it far more fun to create their own. There have even been contributors, in the past, who have taken the time to build entire floats around their pets and the parade theme.

Beyond costumes and floats, it’s important to think about the wellbeing of your pets during the parade as well. “It’s all about keeping your pet hydrated,” explains Sonja Gissberg, owner of Bark Avenue: A Boutique for Dogs & Cats in Lacey. “I would highly recommend portable water bowls for the parade. It can get pretty hot out there for our pets. We want to make sure all of our family members, including our pets, are well taken care of during the fun.”

Gissberg also suggests planning to keep your pet hydrated by adding moisture to their diet. “If your pet isn’t already on a diet that includes canned food I would advise pet owners to start giving small portions a few days before the parade: A few tablespoons of food at a time for smaller pets and half a can or so for larger animals. This will add some much needed moisture to their diet so they can handle the heat.”

olympia pet paradeSo bring your family, dress up in your best “Fairy Tail” themed gear, and enjoy the spectacle. This uniquely Olympia event is one you will not want to miss.

To join in the fun, bring any and all of your pets to the parade line up beginning at 8am at Heritage Park. The parade begins at 10am and is welcome to all spectators. The route runs from Heritage Park to the finish at Sylvester Park where participants can collect prizes and treats.

Thrifty Thurston highlights inexpensive family fun in Thurston County.  The weekly series focuses on family-friendly activities throughout our community.  If you have a suggestion for a post, send us a note at  For more events and to learn what’s happening in Olympia and the surrounding area, click here.


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