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Delightful day for dogs
Dog parade effort doesn't set record, but participants have a blast in costumed affair

 Literary characters were given a new spin at this year's Masquerade Dog Parade and Dog Fair, such as Dr. Seuss' Thing One and Thing Two. More than 100 dogs showed up.
Marie Sicola/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 10/7/2012

BY ROB HEDELT

Richard Maye found out Saturday morning that the toughest thing about trying to set a new record for the largest costumed dog parade are those last few minutes before it starts.

Queuing up with some 118 other pooches and their owners at the city's Maury Stadium, the Spotsylvania County dog owner had to strain to hang onto his 135-pound Great Dane.

Aptly named "Spirit," the majestic horse of a dog was fit to be leashed, tickled pink to have so many other pups around with which to scratch and sniff.

On a more typical day, Maye would have taken Spirit to Battlefield Park to let miles of walking burn off the animal's extra energy.

But with this day so new and his energetic animal joining so many others in Riverside Park, where the dog parade morphed into the Fredericksburg Dog Fair, Maye was a little nervous.

"I hope we don't see a squirrel," he said with a small wince. "If I see it first, we'll be OK. Otherwise, things could get interesting."

Maye was among the 150 or so who took part in the dog parade through the city's downtown.

With 119 of those meeting the qualifications for the world record shot at the "Masquerade Dog Parade"--vet records and a two-piece costume were required--the effort didn't succeed this year.

But organizers were thrilled by the turnout for the dog parade and the Dog Fair, which included everything from vendors to dog races to puppy photography.

"We're so thankful to the many volunteers and sponsors who made this possible," said organizer Bucky Cox.

You certainly couldn't have convinced Abby and Emma Pare of Stafford County that the dog parade was anything but a winner.

The 6- and 7-year-old parade participants were in Wizard of Oz costumes--Abby as Dorothy and Emma as Glinda the Good Witch--with their dogs in matching outfits for the big walk.

"It's just fun," said Abby, pulling her dark Dorothy braids back a bit.

Chrystal Kern of Stafford county was in full pirate garb for the parade, as were her Chihuahua "first and second mates," Tuvok and Kso.


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