It’s “possible there’s beer involved” when some of the decisions concerning Mardi Gras celebrations are made, admits Mack Bradley, president of the Mardi Gras Foundation.
This is the fun weekend for the volunteers and coordinators of Mardi Gras, Bradley says. The Soulard Mardi Gras has a two-day Taste of Soulard this weekend, as well as the Missouri Lottery 5K Run for your Beads, the Weiner Dog Derby and the family-favorite Beggin’ Pet Parade.
“This weekend is a lot of kids and a lot of families, both at the Taste of Soulard and the dog parade,” Bradley said.
The annual Beggin’ Pet Parade starts at 1 p.m. Sunday at 12th and Allen streets in St. Louis. The route travels south to Russell Boulevard, then east to Ninth Street, then north to Lafayette before ending at Eighth Street. Coronation after the parade is at Eighth and Lafayette streets at Soulard Park.
To participate, register your pet at 10 a.m. on the corner of 12th and Allen Streets in St. Louis. The $10 suggested registration benefits the Open Door Animal Sanctuary.
The majority of pets are dogs, but past pet parades have included pigs, a llama, cats and birds in cages.
“We had a snake one year. Had a whole discussion with a guy that he couldn’t walk, er, slither, the snake in the parade. We were afraid another participant would eat the snake,” Bradley said. The man ended up carrying his pet snake.
The most common costume for the pet parade is that owners and dogs are dressed in similar themes.
“Isn’t there some study that people look like their dogs? ... That’s certainly true on pet parade day,” Bradley said.
Wiener Dog Derby
The Wiener Dog Derby is at 2 p.m. Sunday at Wiener Stadium, the brick plaza on Lafayette in front of Soulard Market. The race is in four divisions, which groups the dachshunds by age: Cocktail Wieners, Hot Dogs, Ball Park Franks. There is also a “Wiener Wannabe” class, which is any small dog able to fit into the starting box.
Registration opens at 10 a.m. at the corner of Ninth and Lafayette streets and is $10 per dog. The first heat is at 2 p.m. and is free to watch.
Run For Your Beads
On Saturday, the Missouri Lottery 5K Run For Your Beads starts at 9 a.m. Race-day registration is available starting at 8 a.m. at the Bud Light Party Tent on Ninth and Lafayette streets for $35.
Prizes are award to first place for men, women, each age division and for best costume. According to the website at www.stlmardigras.org, race course pit stops include complimentary beer and hurricanes for runners 21 and older.
Bradley says he’ll be running, but won’t be taking advantage of all the race’s fun aspects.
“If I put on extra things, that decreases my aerodynamic nature, and I wouldn’t finish the race,” he said. The stations along the race route will have beads as well as water, beer and hurricanes. “I won’t be doing that either, not if I want to finish.”
The 5K is a “legitimate, honest-to-goodness race; you have a bib with a chip and you could look up your (timed) results” after the race, he said.
The race starts on Eighth Street south of Lafayette in St. Louis and stays in the Soulard neighborhood, with the southernmost stretch being near the Anheuser-Busch plant.
Costume categories, with a $500 prize, are King, Queen and Most Loyal Subjects.
Taste of Soulard
The Cruzan Rum Taste of Soulard is both days from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with tickets being $25 for six food vouchers and one drink voucher. On Saturday, the ticket includes trolley rides from one place to the next. Trolley rides are not available on Sunday, because Bradley says dogs and trolleys just don’t go together well. Pick up tickets at any of the 35 participating restaurants, which are listed on the www.stlmardigras.org page or buy tickets online.