ST. LOUIS, Feb. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- What makes an ordinary parade extraordinary? Bacon! This was displayed on Sunday at the 21st annual Beggin'® Pet Parade when thousands of costumed pets and their owners gathered in the streets of St. Louis to celebrate Beggin', bacon, and Mardi Gras. Beggin', the bacon-flavored snacks your dog loves, invited all bacon-loving four- and two-legged friends to put on their best costumes and join Grand Marshal Andy Cohen and musical guest Barenaked Ladies for the parade, a free concert, costume contest and other family friendly activities.
Grand Marshal Andy Cohen, St. Louis native and host and executive producer of Bravo Media's "Watch What Happens Live," rode on the one-of-a-kind Beggin' float to lead an estimated crowd of 8,000 costumed canine participants through the streets of the famous Soulard neighborhood with an estimated 100,000 spectators watching along the way. Adorned with beads, feathers, hats, and other festive attire, the canine convoy proudly marched to the finish line, where the dressed up dogs competed to be crowned "best dressed."
"I love nothing more than hanging out with m'dog, Wacha, so I jumped at the chance to lead the Beggin' Pet Parade," said Cohen, proud owner of the aforementioned rescued beagle-foxhound mix. "How fun to be able to bring people and their pets together in my hometown for a good cause!"
A $10 required registration fee for each pet participating in the parade benefited the Open Door Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal rescue and adoption organization in the St. Louis area, and the Parade raised more than $17,000 for the organization. Registered pooches received a free Beggin' Party Bag filled with Mardi Gras beads, Beggin' brand dog treats and a certificate of participation.
The day's events all led up to the grand finale – a free, live concert by Barenaked Ladies. The alternative rock band performed their greatest hits, including Pinch Me, One Week, and All Been Done. Barenaked Ladies definitely ended the celebration on a high note.
Another highlight of this year's event was the dog costume contest. A team of judges determined whose costumes were heads and tails above the rest during the annual coronation ceremony. Several lucky pets were deemed best dressed and crowned King, Queen and Most Loyal Subjects in the ceremony hosted by Cohen. The parade's King was a terrier mix named Captain Jack; and Queen was a Poodle named Checkers. The best group costume was awarded the title of Most Loyal Subjects, and went to Welsh Terriers Rozi Z, Zizi Z and Magi Z
Beggin' is known for celebrating all pets' memorable, fun-loving personalities and the spirit of Mardi Gras at one of the largest pet parades in the world. In 2012, 1,326 pooches walked in the parade adorning their most elaborate outfits, setting a new Guinness World Records™ record for "Most Dogs in Costumed Attire."
With the parade, coronation, concert, Beggin'- and bacon-ized games, photo opportunities, Beggin' sampling activities for dogs and bacon sampling opportunities for people, the Beggin' Pet Parade was one rockin' good time and fun for the whole family.
"This year's Beggin' Pet Parade was the best yet with the help of Andy Cohen, Barenaked Ladies and the thousands of parade-goers," said Greg Stinson, Beggin' assistant brand manager. "We love seeing the unique costumes, celebrating the spirit of Mardi Gras, and creating memorable moments with pets and their owners. We're already looking forward to next year!"
For more information about the parade, including photos and highlights, please visit www.beggin.com/pet-parade and www.facebook.com/beggin or search the hashtag #BegginPetParade on Twitter and Instagram.
About Nestle Purina PetCare
Nestle Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestle Purina PetCare is part of Swiss-based Nestle S.A., the world's largest food company.
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SOURCE Nestle Purina PetCare Company