Rats, ballerinas and a Bernedoodle dazzle in San Juan Capistrano’s Kids’ Pet Parade

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Feb 22, 2018 in Rat News | Subscribe

Jenna Rajamaki wore a “Rats Rule” shirt to the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association’s 2018 Kids’ Pet Parade on Saturday, Feb. 17, with the intended result.

Her pet rats, Gizmo and Stripe, charmed the judges, who awarded them first prize in the “exotic pets” division of the parade held in in Los Rios Park.

But it was Haven Harris and her dog, Ava, both dressed as ballerinas, who won over the judges’ best over all. Haven and Ava captured first prize in the “best costumes” division plus the grand prize at the pet parade, an invitation to appear as celebrities in the Fiesta de las Golondrinas’ 60th annual Swallows Day Parade.


That event, billed as one of America’s largest non-motorized parades, will be at 11 a.m. March 24 through downtown San Juan Capistrano, celebrating the annual return of swallows, a swarm of migratory birds that fly for 30 days every spring from South America to California to build nests and spend their summers in San Juan and nearby.

Some 20 entries paraded through Los Rios Park to compete in this year’s pet parade, and it wasn’t just kids with pets this time. The fiesta association added a “Kid at Heart” division for for pet owners 60 years or older. Boots Leone and his dog, Batgirl, took the win in that division.

In the domestic pet division, Nia Dodd and Mocha were the judges’ favorites.

The judges gave a special prize, the Deputy Dog award, to Tatum Grebe and her Bernedoodle, Max, not just because Bernedoodle is such a cool name but because Tatum was dressed as a cowgirl in a town where horse culture is huge and equestrians area a big part of the Swallows Day Parade.

The Kids’ Pet Parade was one in a series of events running up to the March 24 parade. Next event is the El Presidente Ball, a 6 to 10 p.m. gala dinner with live music and dancing on March 17 at El Adobe Restaurant celebrating San Juan’s place in the birth of California and the state’s early history. Many of the attendees will dress in early California attire.

Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door if still available then.

Visit swallowsparade.com for details and tickets or call 949-493-1976.

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