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All welcome – Paws in the Park expands fun for pets and their humans

By Naiya Brown

Put it on your calendar: Saturday, May 20, is THE day for pets in Silverton.

The city, longtime home of the annual Silverton Pet Parade inspired by Bobbie the Wonder Dog, is adding the inaugural Paws in the Park event, which is meant to work in conjunction with the parade.

Pets get ready - in addition to the Silverton Pet Parade, there will also be the inaugural Paws in the Park. Jim Kinghorn
Pets get ready – in addition to the Silverton Pet Parade, there will also be the inaugural Paws in the Park. Jim Kinghorn

Paws in the Park, sponsored by the Silverton Chamber of Commerce, will be set in Coolidge McClaine Park. Technically it opens at 10 a.m., but the crunch will come following the parade when participants return to the park.

“The expectation is that the event starts right after the parade,” said Stacy Palmer, executive director of the chamber. “We’ll be set up ready to go at ten.”

Paws in the Park is a pet fair with vendors, food, and entertainment. All well behaved pets are welcome. There will be a pet fashion show, demonstrations by the Marion County K9 team, dog agility trainers, and a pet/owner look-alike contest.

Double the fun. Pets of all kinds are welcome to the new Paws in the Park event after the Silverton Pet Parade. Jim Kinghorn
Double the fun. Pets of all kinds are welcome to the new Paws in the Park event after the Silverton Pet Parade. Jim Kinghorn

There are several opportunities open for residents to participate and help the vendors and organizers. Opportunities include: setup and breakdown crews, a paint crew to paint paws to direct attendees to the park, participants to walk in the pet parade to promote the Paws event, and folks to work in the information booth.

For information on volunteer opportunities call the Silverton Chamber of Commerce, 503-873-5615.

Participants in the Silverton Pet Parade should be lined up and ready to go in their assigned categories by 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 20. There is no entry fee. Organized by the Silverton Kiwanis Club, the official start will be at 10 a.m. down Coolidge Street just north of the park. Dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and farm animals – and their human friends – will travel through town up Main Street and down First Street to the new civic center site, then they are invited back to Coolidge McClaine Park. 

The Silverton Pet Parade began with the story of Bobbie the Wonder Dog, a Scottish collie who walked more than 2,500 miles from Indiana to return to his owners in Silverton in 1924. Bobbie died in 1927, but in 1932 Silverton held its first Pet Parade in his honor, led by Bobbie’s son, Pal. 

A mural on Water Street painted by Lori Rodrigues shows Bobbie’s route on his cross country journey.
A second mural on First Street by David McDonald honors the parade itself.

Editor’s note: Naiya Brown is a junior at Silverton High/Sequoia Falls Academy,. She is working at Our Town this spring through an Oregon Youth Development Division Future Ready grant.

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