Pet show and party set for Saturday, June 26, in downtown Knoxville


Hundreds of dogs and their human companions will gather on the performance lawn at World’s Fair Park on Saturday, June 26, for a fun-filled Mardi Growl to benefit Young-Williams Animal Center.


“Our beloved Mardi Growl was delayed a bit this year, but it will be better than ever,” says Janet Testerman, CEO of Young-Williams Animal Center. “It’s such a fun way to raise awareness and work toward our vision to ‘find a home for every pet.’ I encourage you to register to enter your dog, plan to be a spectator and join other Mardi Growl festivities to show support for Young-Williams Animal Center. We hope to see you there!”


Mardi Growl, now in its 14th year, is presented by Merchants of Beer and will feature a new venue and new events, including a pet show contest and party that is a safely distanced replacement for the traditional pet parade. The pet show contest starts at noon and will include seven fun categories for dogs, including Best Vol Spirit, Best Dawg Pack, Pet/Owner Look-a-like, Best Dog Couple, Most Unique Mixed Breed (Mutt), Best Costume and Best Naked Dog.


To register for the pet show contest, enter each pet at Pre-registration is $15, and day-of-event registration is available inside the entrance gate for $20 per dog. Participants should plan to arrive at 10 a.m. Every registered dog is eligible to receive a swag bag while supplies last, available for pickup June 23-24 between 2-5 p.m. at Young-Williams Animal Center, 3201 Division St.


Young-Williams Animal Center will offer microchipping and rabies vaccines during Mardi Growl for $10 at the Spay Shuttle parked at World’s Fair Park inside the festival grounds.


At 3 p.m., Merchants of Beer at 137 S. Central St., will host the After Mardi Party, welcoming two- and four-legged friends to enjoy a DJ and stay for the Mardi Growl Prize Pack giveaway at 4 p.m.


New this year is the Mardi Growler Brew Tour. Register at for $25 per person for a bag of goodies, including a special edition growler. From May 28-June 26, beer enthusiasts can fill the growler for a special price at 10 participating breweries and be entered for a special prize drawing. Swag bag and growlers may be picked up at either of the Young-Williams Animal Center locations during business hours, or at Merchants of Beer or Barley’s in Knoxville’s Old City from 5-7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through June 12.


“Mardi Growl this year offers so many new fun features and a new venue while keeping pets and humans safe at an annual event that is greatly anticipated by our community,” Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon said. “Even if you don’t bring a pet, come out, support Young-Williams Animal Center, and enjoy a great day. You’ll certainly get to smile at the festive dogs who get decked out for the affair.”


For attendees unable to participate, a “Sit, Stay and Sleep In” option allows supporters to make a difference for homeless pets without leaving home. Make a donation at


Mardi Growl is Young-Williams Animal Center’s biggest fundraiser and is made possible through the support of event sponsors, including presenting sponsor Merchants of Beer, as well as Radio Systems Corporation, WBIR, City of Knoxville and Star 102.1.


For full details about Mardi Growl 2021, visit or call 865-215-6599.