Mardi Growl, East Tennessee’s largest pet event, returns Saturday, March 4, at 11 a.m. in Downtown Knoxville. The Pet Parade & Festival is free to attend and benefits Young-Williams Animal Center. Local pet owners and lovers will gather to celebrate 16 years of the event and the decades of lifesaving work by the shelter.

Those walking in the parade must register. Early bird registration is $15 per participating pet and closes Tuesday, Feb. 28, at midnight. Sign up at Saturday registration is from 9-10:30 a.m. on Willow Avenue and $20 per pet.

Dogs and their human handlers in the parade can compete in five contests: Volunteer Spirit, Celebrity Look-alike, Leader of the Pack, Two of a Kind and Life of the Paw-ty. Prizes also will be given to the Best in Show and Overall Top Scoring pet.

The parade at World’s Fair Park, where more than 50 vendors will serve food, sell pet products and provide information about their organizations. Visit for a full list.

Young-Williams Animal Center’s Spay Shuttle also will be onsite, offering $10 rabies vaccinations and microchipping for dogs and cats. Attendees can make appointments at