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Colorful K9s trot for Sarasota’s Pride Pet Parade

Dogs and their owners took a lap through Bayfront Park clad in colorful costumes all to raise...
Dogs and their owners took a lap through Bayfront Park clad in colorful costumes all to raise awareness about the LGBTQ community.(Shane Battis)
Published: Jun. 18, 2022 at 2:50 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Sarasota pups are showing off their brightest colors for pride month.

Dozens of dogs walked through Bayfront Park dressed in rainbow costumes for the Pride Pet Parade, the third time Project Pride has hosted the unique parade in the city.

Plenty of pets put their best paws forward, but only one took home the grand prize: Hetty, a pint-sized pooch who rolled through the parade in a miniature swan float crafted by her owner Gail Yeager.

“We we’re excited,” Yeager said, holding up her dog. “I was excited. I don’t know if she knew because she was thirsty.”

Of course, the prizes aren’t really the point. The parade is all about raising awareness about the LGBTQ community on the Suncoast, allowing members of the community another opportunity to be visible for pride month.

It’s a little different from a lot of pride parades you might have seen before, but that’s the point. A few pet owners ABC7 spoke to touched on how dogs are cute, of course, so it makes it easy for everyone to feel welcome.

Sophie Shay thinks it’s a great way to bridge the gap between people in the parade and those who aren’t accepting of the LGBTQ community.

“But like maybe if they see us just walking around as normal people with our dogs just like they do, they’ll maybe go like oh they’re not that different,” Shay said.

So far, organizers believe it’s working out well. The pet parade has been a hit, much like many of the other pride events going on throughout the city.

Tony Boothby, a Project Pride board member, was glowing as he talked about the parade, highlighting how this June has been the best pride month he’s seen for as long he’s lived in Sarasota. Tons of people have volunteered for events, he said, and a lot of businesses have been making a real effort to join the movement.

“So, just the overwhelming response from the community,” he said. “The city of Sarasota has been amazing.”

A dog-gone creative idea, making strides for the community.

The next big event hosted by Project Pride is the Grand Flag March, which is happening Saturday June 25. Boothby said a group will be carrying a 700-foot pride flag across the Ringling Bridge at 7:30 p.m..

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