Attendees walk their dogs at the First Annual Howl-o-ween Dog Parade on Sunday, Oct. 27 // Photo by Garrett Rahn
A festive crowd with costumed canines gathered laughing and barking on a sunny Railroad Avenue Sunday afternoon, Oct. 27, for the first annual Howl-o-ween costume parade.
Shake and Shine Canine Wash and Deli hosted the parade as a fundraiser for the Whatcom Humane Society from 1- 3.
The parade concluded with a costume contest. Upon signing up for the parade, dogs and their owners were given a number so they could be identified by the judges. About 40 groups signed up for the costume contest, according to Casey Niven, a volunteer for Shake and Shine.
Of the three winners, two were Wizard of Oz themed to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the release of the movie.
The parade also celebrated Shake and Shine’s fifth anniversary. Monika Lange opened the shop in 2014 and was excited to see how the event would unfold.
“The parade is a fun event for everybody and very family-oriented,” Lange said. “This is the first time we’ve put on an event like this and it’s all very exciting.”
Shake and Shine specializes in dog self-service washes, groomings and nail clippings.
Dog owner Dee Dee Oblefias was pleased to see how much collaboration and community effort went into the event.
“Everyone in the community just helped out and donated. There was a band here that is from the Bellingham Music [store], and the closure signs were donated by someone,” she said. “I think it’s just amazing how people in the community are coming together and helping out for a fun day full of dogs.”
Lange said she would not have been able to pull off the parade if it weren’t for the sponsors that helped put the event together.
The parade had a greater turn out than expected, said Shake and Shine employee Morgan Merillat.
Participants and observers found out about the event in a variety of different ways, including from the Shake and Shine website, flyers put up around town, social media posts or simply through word-of-mouth in the community.
“We didn’t know how many people were going to show up,” she said. “Events with a lot of dogs in one area can get very overwhelming sometimes but considering how many clusters of dogs there were, it went really smoothly.”
The event itself was free, but generated about $500 in donations for the Whatcom Humane Society, Merillat said.
Humane Society Director Laura Clark was very appreciative of the donations.
“We are always grateful when local businesses and residents support our nonprofit organization,” she said. “We’re really thankful that they’re taking the time to put the event on and all the proceeds that they choose to donate to us will go to help the animals at our domestic animal shelter or wildlife center and our farm facility, so they will be put to good use.”
Oblefias and her dog Clifford enjoyed their time at the parade and are excited to participate again.
“I’m glad that there was a good turnout, so I can’t wait till next year,” she said.