The star attraction were pets like these dogs. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

The star attraction were pets like these dogs. (Photos by Steve Metsch)

‘America, apple pie and the Pet Parade’ – 77th edition draws big crowd

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Jim Connelly, of La Grange, brought pet dog Greta to the parade.

By Steve Metsch

Nine-year-old Derrick Roggenkamp had a one-word review for the La Grange Pet Parade: “Awesome.”

“And, we got candy,” the Westchester boy said as he and his siblings enjoyed ice cream after the parade on Saturday.

Derrick, and sisters Lilly, 8, and McKenzie, 3, were among the thousands who lined the streets of downtown La Grange for the 77th annual parade.

Their mother, Courtney Roggenkamp, said the parade “was fun. but very hot.”

That’s because the chose to sit on the sunny west side of La Grange Road, as opposed to the shady and cooler east side.

“It was full when we got here. They knew what they were doing,” said Courtney, who has attended the parade since she was growing up in Brookfield.

There was festive atmosphere. Face masks were a rarity in perhaps the biggest crowd since 2019, the year before the pandemic.

The parade — which lasted roughly one hour and 45 minutes — featured rock bands on floats, princesses, marching bands, Shriners driving little cars, drill teams, and the Jesse White Tumblers, to name a few of the entrants.

And, of course, there were pets. Most of those were the canine variety.

Greta, a terrier-Pomeranian mix, was held by her owner, attorney Jim Connelly, of La Grange, as he watched the parade.

“It’s a great one. I married into it,” he said. After he and his wife married in 2009 and they moved to La Grange, the village where she had grown up.

“We just enjoy the parade,” he said. “The tradition of being here and enjoying it. A great tradition in a great community.”

“We appreciate everything that (parade organizers) do and look forward to No. 78 next year,” Connelly added.

Another longtime parade fan, Jay Copp, 64, rode his bicycle from his home in La Grange Park. He watched the parade near the village hall.

“The Pet Parade delivered as usual. I’ve been coming here for 55, 58 years. Came as little boy with my mom. Took my kids when they were small. Hopefully, one day, I’ll take them when their kids are small,” Copp said.

“The wheel keeps on turning,” he added. “America, apple pie and the Pet Parade.”

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