Fair parade offers event for children who don't have horses

Monday, September 8, 2003

Spectators were given a huge dose of cuteness at the SEMO District Fair's Pet Parade.

The parade, which began at 1 p.m. Sunday at the grandstand, featured children showing off a variety of pets, ranging from goats, calves and chickens to, of course, an assortment of dogs and cats.

"We've been doing the Pet Parade for over 10 years," said Jim Goggin, who along with his wife, Belinda, have co-chaired the horse show for three years. "It's something special we do for the kids who don't have horses for the horse show."

Among the prizes awarded at this year's event were best storybook character, shortest tail, best movie costume, smallest goat and best use of a grass skirt.

Eight-year-old Brittany McArthur of Jackson with her 2-month-old kitten was the winner of the grass skirt prize, as well as best in show. The four-foot trophy awarded for best in show was taller than she was. Her brother, Brandon, was the winner of the prize for smallest goat.

"The goat was a Christmas present," said their father, B.J. McArthur. "It likes to eat the straw off Brandon's hat."

Brandon and his goat were attired in matching blue bandanas. "The outfits for both kids were mom's idea," said McArthur.

Three-year-old Alix Snider of Jackson was the winner of the Best Storybook Character prize. She was dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, while her German shepherd, Maze, was the Big Bad Wolf in Grandma's clothing.

"We did it last year with another German shepherd," said Alix's mother, Sara. "It's a real nice community event. We have something in common with everybody out here, and it gives the kids something nice to do on a Sunday. It also helps us get our dog socialized."

Even those without family members in the parade, like Butch Eskew of Jackson, came out to enjoy the event. "We'd heard about it, but we'd never seen one, so we thought we'd come out," he said. "The little kids are really cute with their pets."

But the ones who enjoy it the most are the children, said Goggin. "It's all about the kids," he said. "They're all winners."

The Pet Parade has about a half-dozen sponsors, Goggin said. The sponsors provide the prizes that are awarded to the children -- bags full of small toys, candy and other treats.

"Everyone gets a prize," said parade judge Carol Reimann. "When the kids come out, I go through and decide on a prize for all of them."

The parade is open to children and people over age 65, said Reimann, but this year only children entered. The number of spectators show the event is a popular one, she said. About 100 people attended.


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