Canines disguised as lions, tigers and giraffes Saturday paraded down the Christiansted Boardwalk for the eighth annual Krewe de Barkus dog parade, which this year had a circus theme.
Lion tamers, with a hoop-jumping pup, won the first-place trophy in the adult category and a circus act, complete with trapeze, circus animals and a tiny dog accompanied by music took first place in the children’s’ category. Some owners dressed in costumes to match or to compliment their pet’s attire.
Two dozen entries – 24 dogs of all sizes and shapes, accompanied by one or more human – were judged before the parade. Dogs were dressed like butterflies, pirates, lions, giraffes and others wore kerchiefs, capes, bows, tiaras and top hats. Some wore no costume at all, but showed off tricks and good manners. With the exception of a few tucked tails, the parade entrants seemed happy to mingle.
The parade, led by the Grand Mutt T.C. Williams, wove its way down King Street, along the boardwalk, ending at Angry Nate’s, where the crowd relaxed and prizes were awarded.
The first, second and third place winners in each category won glass plate trophies made by Jan Mitchell and “honorably mentioned” canines won gift certificates from Sugar Mill Veterinary Clinic and Island Animal Clinic.
The winners in the adult category were, 1 – Lucky Lucy, a chow mix with a lion haircut, who jumped through a hula hoop when asked by trainers, Irene Homa and Andrea Moeckell; 2 – Foxy, whose fur had been died several colors from the tip of the nose to the tail and was covered with beads, a multicolored skirt and tasseled hat, by owner Nisha, from You Are Here restaurant; and 3 – Jackie, a long-haired white dog with a natural black eye patch, dressed in a pirate costume and accompanied by two costumed “wenches,” Deborah Brummett and Rosemary Samuelson, visiting from Colorado.
The children’s first-place entry, “Afro Circus” starred a dog, Oreo, and five children in multicolored wigs and wild animal masks. The circus act entertained the crowd with a trapeze act/swing set carried by two adults, backed up with music. The young participants were Parker and Serena Sheraw, Cole, Eric and Drew Sommer and Lena Kammerzelt, assisted by parents Chad Sheraw and Steve Kammerzelt.
Second place in the children’s category was awarded to Fletcher Sherrill, aka Captain Hook and his “crocodile.,” Ed. Bella and her owner, Thai-lee Missick won third place, with her dog Bela costumed as “Rocker Girl.”
Dogs were given water throughout the event and adults sampled cotton candy from Sweet Delights and beverages from Rum Runners. The Blue Mutt sold cupcake dog treats and other items to raise funds for the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center.
Krewe de Croix, a group of St. Croix residents, hosts the annual parade that raises funds for other community events, such as Mardi Croix. The entry fee was $10 per dog and red tee shirts marking the event and a raffle were for sale.
This year, Krewe de Croix used some of its funds to purchase an automated external defibrillator to be placed at the Cane Bay Dive Shop. Val Stiles, event organizer, said somebody dies each year on the North Shore and with help available around the clock at the dive shop, the AED may prevent that death.
Special guests at the parade were eight pups, available for adoption, from the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center, dressed in beads and T-shirts and walked by volunteers.
Stiles said the number of entrants was down this year but it was still a good turnout.
“It is a positive thing to bring awareness to how animals should be treated. We thank the Animal Shelter for their support and ‘bravo’ for getting dogs adopted,” Stiles said.
Editor’s note: This story has been edited to expand the names of the winning entrants.