Third annual Mardi Gras 4Paws event in Frisco supports local nonprofit
IF YOU GO
What: Third annual Mardi Gras 4Paws fundraiser for LAPS
When: Saturday, Feb. 6 from 3–6 p.m.
Where: Second Avenue and Main Street, Frisco
Cost: Pre-registration is $20 per dog and $5 for each additional dog and is available online at www.summitlaps.com. Day of registration will be $25 per dog and will be available starting at 3 p.m. at the “yappy” hour street party at 2nd Avenue and Main Street. Humans are free. Each paid registration will include a Mardi Gras doggie bandana, beads, dog treats and a token for a choice of one bowl of gumbo, beer, wine or Doggie Brew. The $5 registrations for additional dogs will get beads and treats only. $5 tokens for food and beverages will be available for sale during the “yappy” hour street party as well.
In 2015, League for Animals and People of the Summit (LAPS) was able to triple the amount of money it gives to the Summit County animal shelter to help pay for spay and neuter procedures. The shelter saw a large influx of litters and pregnant pets last year, and LAPS provided the facility with between $18,000 and $19,000 to assist. Many of the litters were sent to Summit County from other shelters due to its capability to care for them with programs like LAPS.
“It’s wonderful to give people the chance to have puppies here, without having to breed … give other puppies and pregnant mommas chances from other places that do not have anything in place,” said LAPS president Sally Beerup.
LAPS is able to provide assistance with spay/neuter programs, as well as support local pet owners, through grants, donations and fundraisers. This weekend, the third annual Mardi Gras 4Paws Parade to benefit LAPS will be Saturday, Feb. 6 from 3–6 p.m.
The annual event brings together costumed pets and their owners for a parade and celebration on Frisco’s Main Street, complete with gumbo and beignets.
Inspired by New Orleans’s Mystic Krew of Barkus parade, Summit’s version will travel down the town’s sidewalks, from 2nd Avenue to 7th Avenue and back up the other side of Main Street, ending at the “yappy” hour street party.
NEW ORLEANS INSPIRATION
The original idea for the parade came from Belinda Griffin, wife of Lost Cajun Restaurant owner Raymond Griffin. The Griffins had moved to Summit from Louisiana in 2010, and Belinda’s love for dogs inspired her idea for a Mardi Gras-themed family friendly event. In New Orleans, the Bacchus Parade is a wild event that occurs during Mardi Gras, and the “Barkus Parade” is a doggie version of that. With so many dog owners in the area, Belinda thought it would be a popular event to bring to Summit.
Unfortunately, Belinda lost her 12-year battle with breast cancer and died in July 2012. Although she didn’t get to see the event come together, the event is held in her honor, with a prize category named after her.
LAPS was founded in 1990 as a way to support the Summit County shelter in its spay and neuter efforts. The nonprofit has grown over the years and is now able to provide assistance to lower income pet owners that live or work in Summit County with high veterinary bills through an application program. LAPS also provides a discount spay/neuter voucher per pet with local veterinary offices to local residents of any income level.
“We just raised that from $75 to $100, and those you can pick up at the animal shelter just whenever you need it,” Beerup said.
If residents qualify for low-income spay/neuter, LAPS will cover 80 percent of the cost.
LAPS has a medical/surgical fund, which helps with care for everything from diabetes to cancer or porcupine quills in the nose.
“It’s a good one to donate to because it does go back to our community,” Beerup said.
She said the entire organization is fueled by volunteer efforts, and the nonprofit is always looking for board members to join. Members meet usually once a month and help organize and run events, as well as occasionally helping with medical requests. There are other opportunities to be on a list to volunteer at LAPS events.
“It’s an amazing nonprofit and this is our 26th year, so we must be doing something right,” she said.
THIRD ANNUAL EVENT
Formerly known as Mardi Paws Barkus Parade, the event is hosted by the town of Frisco, The Lost Cajun, New Belgium and LAPS. The parade will begin at 4 p.m., with the costume contest at around 4:45 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for best dog costumes in the King of the Cajuns, Queen of Romp, Knight of the Food Table, Baroness of Bark and Belinda’s Best categories, with gift certificates donated by A&A Pet Supply in Frisco.
“There are some creative people out there,” Beerup said. “Some dress up and put a little makeup on, and other’s create these things … I just love looking at all of them.”
Prizes will be awarded to costumed dogs only, but human companions are encouraged to dress up as well.
Yappy hour starts at 3 p.m. with New Belgium beer, wine, coffee or hot chocolate served throughout the event. Tokens can be purchased for $5 — or five for $20 — for alcoholic beverages or gumbo from The Lost Cajun. The restaurant will also be cooking up beignets that will be handed out. LAPS will be selling “Doggie Brew,” which Beerup said is a mix of chicken and beef broth, bottled with custom labels made from last year’s photos.
Fiona Kennard and Laurie Tarola will be taking photos throughout the event, which will be available online a week or so after — email LAPS@colorado.net for the link.
Pre-registration is $20 per dog and $5 for each additional dog and is available online. Day-of registration will be $25 per dog and will be available starting at 3 p.m. at the yappy hour street party at 2nd Avenue and Main Street. Each paid registration will include a Mardi Gras doggie bandana, beads, dog treats and a token for a choice of one bowl of gumbo, beer, wine or Doggie Brew. The $5 registrations for additional dogs will get beads and treats only.
The Summit County animal shelter will also be bringing adoptable pets to the event, and volunteers will be on site to highlight the pets and talk about adoption opportunities.
Beerup encourages those not participating in the parade to come and enjoy yappy hour. Registration and dogs are not a requirement to come to Frisco and take in the pets decked out in elaborate costumes or have a beer and some gumbo.
“These dogs are all over the place … Humans are pretty much dressed up too — there are some that go all the way and other’s that just have a mask on,” she said. “It’s just a good time one way or the other.”
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