Parade, pet party set for Saturday, March 3 in downtown Knoxville


Hundreds of dogs and their human companions will stroll through downtown Knoxville on Saturday, March 3, during the 11th annual Mardi Growl to benefit Young-Williams Animal Center.


Mardi Growl 2018, presented by Old City Wine Bar, features a pet-friendly parade beginning at 11 a.m., along with a festival on Market Square from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.


“We hope all pet lovers will come celebrate with us and support our mission to ‘find a home for every pet,’” says Janet Testerman, chief executive officer of Young-Williams Animal Center. “Whether you’re a sponsor, vendor or participant in Mardi Growl, registering to walk with your dog or just enjoying the festivities, you will support much-needed services for more than 10,000 animals a year in our community.”


From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Young-Williams Animal Center will offer microchips and rabies vaccines for $10 and pet ID tags for $5. More than 80 vendors will participate, including food trucks, pet product manufacturers, rescue groups, artists and clothing boutiques. K-Town Music will provide live entertainment.


“Mardi Growl is a perfect blend of family, four-legged friends and Mardi Gras fun,” said Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. “We encourage everyone with or without pets to come and enjoy the festival. While you’re here, you can also enjoy the fantastic restaurants, shops, and cultural amenities our dynamic downtown has to offer.”


In addition to the Mardi Growl parade and festival, downtown Knoxville restaurants, bars and boutiques will participate in the Mardi Growl Cajun Crawl by offering events and specials from Friday, Feb. 23, to Saturday, March 3. Visit for more information.



Parade participants can register at prior to the event for $15 per dog. Day-of-event registration on March 3 is $20 per dog. Goody bags will be given to registered participants while supplies last.


The parade features seven costume contests: Best Dawg Pack; Volunteer Spirit; Pet/Owner Look-a-like; Most Unique Mixed Breed; Best Naked Dog; Best Dog Couple; and Best Costume. Information about the categories is available on the Mardi Growl registration page.


A panel of judges will include representatives from parade media sponsors, WBIR-TV Channel 10 and Star 102.1 FM. Additional community leaders will select the winners to be announced at the Bill Lyons Stage on Market Square at 1 p.m.


The parade begins on Willow Avenue in the Old City and winds to Jackson Avenue. The route turns south onto Gay Street, passing by a judges’ viewing stand at Krutch Park, and then turns onto Clinch Avenue to finish at the pet party on Market Square. The Fulton High School Band will march in this year’s parade.


Mardi Growl is Young-Williams Animal Center’s biggest fundraiser and is made possible through the support of event sponsors, including Old City Wine Bar, Radio Systems Corporation, City of Knoxville, Boehringer Ingelheim, Central Business Improvement District, Pilot Flying J, Visit Knoxville and more.


For more information about Mardi Growl, visit or or call 865-215-6599.