Vintage cars will again be rolling in the La Grange Pet Parade. The 78th edition of the parade starts at 9:30 a.m. June 1. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Vintage cars will again be rolling in the La Grange Pet Parade. The 78th edition of the parade starts at 9:30 a.m. June 1. (Photo by Steve Metsch)

Folks urged to enter costume contest for La Grange Pet Parade

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By Steve Metsch

About 40,000 people are expected along the streets of downtown La Grange on Saturday morning June 1, with some of them dressing in costumes for the 78th annual La Grange Pet Parade.

A costume contest has long been part of the parade, Molly Price, the parade’s executive director, said on May 23. Organizers are placing increased emphasis on it this year.

“We’re trying to get more people interested in doing it again because it’s part of the original premise of the Pet Parade. And, it’s fun to see your friends and family walking by in costumes with their pets. It gives the parade more of a small-town feel,” Price said.

As of May 23, there are 12 groups registered in the costume contest along with seven adults and three youths, she said.

You have until Friday, May 31, to register for the costume contest at the parade’s website, www.lagrangepetparade.org. Click on “participate” and scroll down to “Pet & Owner Costume Contests to register.

But don’t wait until parade day to do so.

“We’re not taking registrations the day of the parade,” Price said.

Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

“Points are given for creativity, homemade costumes, humor, efforts to relate to the theme which is ‘For the Love of Pets.’

“You dress up with your pet, a combined costume effort that’s creative and funny and homemade,” Price said.

The parade, which will be held rain or shine, starts at 9:30 a.m. June 1, on La Grange Road, south of downtown and north of 47th Street.

The route takes the parade north on La Grange Road, west on Burlington Avenue, south on Brainard Avenue and west on Cossitt, finishing in the parking lot of Lyons Township High.

If it’s a scorching day, it’s a good idea to sit on the east side of La Grange Road, which offers some shade from the buildings.

There are 115 entries in the parade which Price said “is back to pre-pandemic levels, definitely.”

Given the parade’s pets – of course – play a prominent role. Expect to see dogs, cats, birds, ferrets and even a fish or two swimming in a bowl, to name a few.

The Lyons Township High School boys water polo team, which recently won a state title, has been named an honorary grand marshal.

That gives the parade six honorary grand marshals, Price said.

Others include Coach Tim Racki and his Nazareth Academy football team that won the 2023 Class 5A championship; the Nazareth girls basketball team that placed second in state in Class 4A; Minnie Carr Service Award Winner Dr. Bessie Boyd; Vial House, location of the La Grange Area Historical Society, which is celebrating its 150th year; and junior grand marshal Josie Weckman, who won the annual coloring contest.

If you have a convertible and want to drive grand marshals or officials in the parade, contact Price at molly@lagrangepetparade.org.

If you can’t attend in person, you can still see it. The parade will be live streamed on LT High School’s YouTube channel, LT-TVOnline.

A carnival will be held downtown May 31 through June 2.

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