Kiwanis cancels Pet Parade for 2020

The Kiwanis Club of Los Altos has canceled this year’s Pet Parade, originally scheduled May 16.

The popular, family-friendly parade would have celebrated its 73rd year. This marks the first cancellation of the event in recent memory.

The cancellation was not unexpected – the COVID-19 crisis and resulting shelter-in-place orders banning mass gatherings have prompted organizations to call off or postpone all such events.

“Schools will be out,” said Kiwanis president Mike Abrams in reference to the parade’s major audience – children, who are staying at home. “I can’t imagine any thinking parent wanting their kids marching in a parade.”

The annual tradition draws hundreds of pets and their owners, many in costume, walking down Main and State streets in downtown Los Altos on a Saturday morning. The informal event, started by the local Kiwanis Club back in 1948, features mostly dogs, but entrants have included cats, birds, horses, llamas, chickens, turtles and even worms. The parade also showcases youth groups, marching bands and dignitaries in vintage cars.

While the Pet Parade has been canceled outright, two other major Los Altos events have been postponed. The Rotary Club of Los Altos’ annual Fine Art in the Park has been moved from its previously scheduled May 16 and 17 dates to Aug. 29 and 30. Last week, the Los Altos Village Association, organizer of the annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival, postponed the weekend event from July 11 and 12 to Sept. 26 and 27. Both events are one-time postponements.

Meanwhile, the Los Altos Farmers’ Market, considered an essential business, is set to ramp up for another season, beginning May 7. The Los Altos Village Association-hosted event is scheduled 4-8 p.m. every Thursday through September along State Street downtown.

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