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This Year, Pets meet Pageantry!

Posted on
May 5, 2023
The Pet Parade and Laurel Festival Parade have merged for a joint celebration Saturday, May 20th!

The 85th Annual Rotary Pet Parade is set to delight hundreds of children of all ages on Saturday, May 20th at 2pm on Winsted’s Main Street – rain or shine. And the excitement builds, as the oldest Pet Parade in the nation joins forces with the 89th anniversary of the Laurel Festival – to make one grand parade.

All children from Winsted, Torrington, Norfolk, New Hartford, Barkhamsted and Colebrook are invited to participate in this annual spring tradition organized by the Rotary Club of the Torrington – Winsted Areas.

This merged Winsted spectacle will feature thirty parade units; marching bands, floats and decorated cars with Pet and Laurel Parade themes, as well as Rotary and local dignitaries; the 2022 Laurel Queen – Caitlyn Tucker and Laurel King Aidan Bunel, the 2023 Pet Parade Poster Winner and the Honorary Parade Marshal Candy Perez, Selectman.

The diverse Pet Parade Divisions make it possible for any and all children to take part, even if they don’t own a pet. The parade divisions include: small floats, wagons and doll carriages that might contain a child, pet or stuffed animal; pets – carried, caged or on a lead; famous people in costume; animated/cartoon characters; superheroes and villains; fiction and fantasy from the movies/books; floats; Scouts, sports and youth/dance organizations; dogs – leashed or carried; and needing helmets to participate - bikes; rollerblades and skateboards; small self – propelled vehicles; and horses, donkeys and ponies.

To register for the Pet Parade, forms were distributed through the schools in Torrington, Winsted, Colebrook, New Hartford, Barkhamsted and Norfolk; or on the day of the Pet Parade at parade line –up, located on Meadow Street in Winsted between 1:00 – 1:30p.m. One may also view parade information on Facebook at Winsted (CT) Rotary Pet Parade. All winning parade division winners announced will receive a medal at the East End Park ceremonies following the parade’s conclusion, and other prizes awarded by the judges may include a Kindle
or a bicycle.

An annual pre – parade activity is the Pet Parade poster contest, which is open to all school children. Fourteen schools will be submitting their posters for judging in May. The posters will be displayed in store front windows throughout the northwestern CT corner advertising the event. The 14 winning posters will be displayed on a float which is pulled down Main Street on Parade Day, May 20th. Poster Winners will be announced at the park where a “Best in School” winner from each of the participating schools will receive a Kindle. The Grand Prize Winner will ride down Main Street in a convertible with the winning poster and will have the honor of being the
Poster Ambassador for the 86th Annual Pet Parade to be held next year.

The Rotary Club encourages everyone who creates a poster for the parade to participate in the celebration at the park and look for their poster either in a local store window or displayed around the bandstand on Parade Day. They may also choose to march in the Pet Parade as well.