May 4, 2014

Costumed dogs in KC Chihuahua Parade break world record, organizers say

The third annual Chihuahua Parade Sunday at Barney Allis Plaza in downtown Kansas City drew 341 participants, three more than needed to break the world record for the most dogs in a pet costume parade, organizers said.

Lacking Mexican accoutrements, Dylan, a grand Pyrenees, donned his best Hawaiian gear for the annual Chihuahua Parade on Sunday afternoon to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

He wore a grass skirt, a green lei, and two coconuts covering his hairy chest for the 1 p.m. event at the Barney Allis Plaza.

“He’s a little embarrassed about the bra,” said his owner, Sandy Collins of Leavenworth County.

The third annual parade drew 341 participants this year, three more than needed to break the world record for the most dogs in a pet costume parade, organizers said. The previous record, 337, was set in 2011 at the Petco Park’s annual Dog Days of Summer event in San Diego.

Local event organizer Mark Valentine had been aiming in previous years to break the world record for most costumed dogs at an event. But that record, achieved in St. Louis in 2012, stands at 1,326 — more than just a few paws out of reach, he thought. So he switched tactics to the more specific “parade” category. All entry fees from the parade benefited the Great Plains SPCA, a no-kill animal welfare organization.

Although the parade comprised mostly Chihuahuas, any breed of dog could participate, Valentine said. A pot-bellied pig showed up sans costume and was allowed to march but wasn’t counted in the total. A veterinarian had to be on hand to verify all entrants were indeed dogs, Valentine said in explaining the extensive Guinness World Records requirements.

After the parade wound around the Plaza grounds, officials announced the nine best costumes.

A 16-year-old beagle-pug mix named Sam took first place wearing a traditional poncho, a bright-yellow sombrero and a crowd-pleasing handlebar mustache atop his nose. Owner Lisa Clear of Kansas City said she tried to affix the mustache just above his mouth, but he kept licking it off. Sam rode in a wagon decorated with a glittery cactus backdrop.

Other winners included dogs dressed as a piñata, a wookie, a bee and a skunk.

“Animals dressed up as other animals,” one woman said to her friend as they watched the award ceremony. “You cannot lose.”

Dylan took honors for his Hawaiian ensemble, as did a French bulldog dressed in goggles and swim trunks and a man and his dog wearing matching plaid shirts. One family dressed as Superman along with their dog, whose cape said, “SD” for Super Dog.

Surprisingly snubbed from the awards was Bentley, a freshly groomed long-haired Chihuahua in a fuzzy blue shark costume. His face protruded from the shark’s open mouth, leaving a rim of teeth encircling his tiny head.

“This was his Halloween costume,” said his owner, Courtney Bellemere of Oak Grove.

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