Video Courtesy of Los Altos Kiwanis Pet Parade


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Pet Parade

Potential Revenues:


Revenue Source:

Sponsorships, small entry fees, concession stands, miscellaneous sales


Social media, posters, flyers, direct mail, press releases, website, media ads, all communications


Varies with venue, such as your own food and beverage booths to vendors own equipment, judging area, sound system


Main thoroughfare businesses, news media, cause supporters

Volunteers Needed:

Organizing the program, sales and marketing, and program implementation


How It Works:

This is both a fun event, as well as a bit ‘hokey.’  Perhaps the oldest of these events is the Los Altos Kiwanis Pet Parade that started in 1948.  These were originally designed to be more of a fun community event for the kids, rather than a fundraiser.  Pet owners, kids and adults alike, dress up in matching costumes, create red pull wagon floats, and even parade their pets behind their tricycles. 

Sometimes prizes are made up on the day of the event, or preplanned to award “Best of Parade,” “Best Costumes,” “Most Unusual Pet,” “Best Float,” and so on.  Local merchants like to sponsor and award prizes like these, but know that the hassle is literally “finding and herding the winners” to receive the prizes.  If you’re contemplating awards, you should probably come up with some sort of admission fee that covers the cost of a neck-hung entry number.  That allows judges to circulate through the parade, and identify their picks.  Perhaps have each judge pick one category winner, along with a second and third alternative in case another judge picks that same contestant for one of their prizes.

As far as controlling the parade’s progress, “good luck.”  But that’s part of the fun.  Past organizers say “what organization?” when asked how they managed to pull it all off.  They likened it to “herding cats.”

Admission is usually free, and in most cases, so is the entry into the event.  When admissions and entries are free, then the traditional approach is to support the parade with sponsorships from businesses, news media, and community banks – all from the local area.  Area businesses along the parade route like the added traffic from a sales perspective, and banks and big businesses like to show their connection to the local community.

Ideas to Consider:

Some logistical issues to consider are where you want the start and finish lines, along with the sequence of contestants.  “Smart money” puts horses at the rear of the parade.  Having a contestant number hanging around each pet owner’s neck provides a way to sequence the parade.  Low numbers first, horses, cows, and elephants to the rear.

Consider selling raffle tickets as a way to vote on a “People’s Choice Award.”  Setting up a stand that has pre-numbered, large coffee cups or milk containers (donated, of course) will give a way for supporters to register their votes.  They simply deposit their raffle ticket in the contestant cups that they like.  Of course, you’re hoping that some proud parent buys a hundred or more raffle tickets, and then dumps them all in their son or daughter’s numbered cup.  At the end, perhaps all the raffle tickets are gathered and a winning ticket is pulled.

Consider operating (with the proper permits of course) some of the food and drink booths.  Sell popcorn, kettle corn, soda, water, and even consider some alcohol.  Just remember the local area businesses that have contributed to your cause.  Have several donation boxes set out in your booth, along with plenty of brochures about your organization. 


Source of Idea: The earliest example found by the author is the Los Altos Kiwanis Pet Parade, which started in 1948.

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