Savannah Mitchell adjusts her dog Flip’s old lady costume for the costume contest. Dog lovers from Athens and the surrounding areas joined together with their canine counterparts for the annual “Boo-le-Bark on the Boulevard” event on Oct. 13, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

It’s the time of year again when the leaves turn different shades of yellow, houses are decorated with spider webs and skeletons and Athenians dress up their dogs for the annual Boo-Le-Bark on the Boulevard. The event  featured the various pets of Athens and the creativity of the owners with a costume contest, parade and canine carnival. 

All of the proceeds raised for the event benefit Athenspets, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the Athens-Clarke County Animal Control and to preventing pet overpopulation in the Athens area.

Participants and community members gathered to seize the opportunity for their dogs to socialize and meet other pet owners. 

“I really came out to support the community, get my dog out of the house and see all of the costumes of course,” said Kaitlyn Shepard, a parade-goer accompanied by her dog, Finley. “Put a dog in a costume and I’m there.” 

Besides not passing up the opportunity to dress up your best friend in their best halloween costume, the event on the Boulevard hosted a parade which featured contestants from a costume contest from earlier in the day. The theme for this year’s contest was “Boo-le-Bark Rocks & Rolls!” according to the event’s website. 

This year was only the second year the contest was presented at Boo-le-Bark and while winning the contest gave pet owners and their furry friends the ultimate bragging rights, the contest was also sponsored with prizes from sponsors from The Globe to the Last Resort Grill. 

Once the parade began, the overall costume contest winner  was presented with its Superman outfit along with the best overall duo winners as Belle and The Beast from “Beauty and the Beast.”

The dogs were dressed up as various animals such as lions and flamingos, legendary rockstars, superheroes, Disney characters like Olaf from “Frozen,” hot dog condiments and even a school bus. A majority of the owners dressed up with them as well, sporting themed costumes such as Mario Kart characters, with the dogs being the cars and the owners dressed as bananas.

The parade concluded with dogs available for adoption and observers being able to pet and bond with them to hopefully find the dog’s potential new home. 

“This event raises money for a good cause, which is one reason why we come out and it always entertains us as well,” said Nina Santus, an attendee of the parade along with her bulldog, Hummus. “We enjoy the fact that it takes place once the weather’s cooled down so we can bring our dog with us without a problem,

While family and friends gathered together to enjoy the adorable strutting of pups down the street, some did not travel far and could enjoy the sites from right outside their front door. 

“I live right down the street, so it’s important to me to be able to participate in the community of dogs and dog owners that’s just right here,”  Hayley Bass, a participant from Athens said.

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