Pets had the right of way Saturday as they delighted throngs of people during the 64th annual Kiwanis Pet Parade in downtown Los Altos. Creatures of all shapes and sizes – two-legged, four-legged, eight-legged, no-legged and winged – proudly strutted their stuff for the intrepid families who had maneuvered road closures and detours to line Main and State streets.
Four-year-old Mathew Bowers, chaperoned by his parents Chris and Anitra, eagerly participated this year with his pets – six finches fluttering excitedly in their birdcage.
Charlie Kinne, 9, escorted several of his reptilian friends: a bearded dragon lizard, a ball python snake and Chinese water dragon lizards, accompanied by some small rodents with puffy cheeks – his hamsters.
A member of the Loyola School K-Kids Club, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club, Andrew Davis, 7, paraded his six chickens, cozily huddled together in a cage.
Spectators enjoyed a variety of participants: guinea pigs, cats, goats, rabbits, chickens, lizards, rats and canaries. Many owners outfitted their pets in clever costumes and paraded them in baskets, wagons, strollers and cages – some in their pockets.
Canines dominated the event. The breeds represented included Pocket Chihuahuas, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Terriers, Pomeranians, St. Bernards, Greyhounds, German Shepherds, Pugs and Dachshunds.
Ollie, a three-year-old Jack Russell Corgi, paraded alongside his owner, eighth-grader Emily Goto, as part of the Los Altos Youth Theatre contingent. Goto said she’s rehearsing the part of Beezus in Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona Quimby,” scheduled Oct. 21 to Nov. 5 at Bus Barn Theater.
Onlookers cheered and clapped to lively tunes from the South Bay Traditional Jazz Society, whose members performed live in a horse-drawn wagon.
Local schools and organizations, waving their banners, participated as groups, including the Los Altos Recreation Department’s dog training classes, The Children’s House of Los Altos; Los Altos Parent Preschool; and Almond, Covington, Gardner Bullis, Loyola, Santa Rita and Bullis Charter schools.
Local dignitaries traveled the parade route in vintage cars – longtime Los Altos resident and Grand Marshal Don McDonald; President Jan Fong of the Kiwanis Club of Los Altos, which sponsors the annual event; and Kiwanis Division 34 Lt. Gov. Rick Stern. Other participants included Los Altos Mayor Ron Packard, Los Altos Police Chief Tuck Younis, Los Altos Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sam Pesner, Los Altos School District Superintendent Jeff Baier and Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board President Susan Sweeley.
Due to downtown construction, officials rescheduled the parade from May and shortened the route.
Despite the challenges, several thousand people attended the parade, according to Chairwoman Doris Padilla.
“There were a lot more children walking with their pets this time,” Padilla said, which was one of the committee’s goals.