Mardi Growl 2020 benefits Young-Williams Animal Center

The 13th annual Mardi Growl festival took place in Downtown Knoxville on March 7. Dogs and their owners crowded the streets to participate in the activities and have some fun in the sun.

This bulldog wears a "princess" crown at the Mardi Growl in Knoxville, Tennessee on March 7, 2020. Photo/Amber Scruggs

Spectators, coordinators and participants crowded the streets of Downtown Knoxville on March 7 for the 13th annual Mardi Growl event.

Mardi Growl is an annual dog parade and pet festival that benefits the Young-Williams Animal Center. Merchants of Beer presented this event. Along with Merchants of Beer, there were many other sponsors that made this event possible. Several sponsors had booths for people to visit throughout the event.

The annual parade started on Willow Avenue, and by noon, participants arrived in Market Square for a variety of contests and booths to shop at.

Natalie Broyles, a volunteer coordinator for the event, explained Young-Williams’ goal for this year’s event.

“The event always strives to lift up the community and do the best they can to get awareness for the dogs,” Broyles said. “This year, the goal is to amplify this and reach out to get more people.”

Participants had the opportunity to enter several contests. For example, the dog who showed the most Volunteer pride was awarded the prize for “Best Vol spirit.” Also, pet owners could participate in some of the contests, such as the “Pet/Owner Look-a-like” contest, which encouraged participants to wear matching outfits with their dogs.

There were other resources at the event, for instance: rabies vaccines and microchipping.

“We have been coming to Mardi Growl for several years. We knew we were coming last night so we fixed up our dog’s collar. Anytime there is a dog event somewhere we go and take our dog,” spectator Lisa Ownby said.

There were more than 80 vendor booths set up in Market Square. Some of the veterinary vendors were Humane Society of the Tennessee Valley and Knoxville Veterinary Medical Association.

The vendors’ list also goes beyond just animal welfare vendors. Retail vendors like Southern Style Boutique and Sun Tan City were also at the event. After a long day of shopping and parading around, pets and owners could stop to have a bite to eat at nine different food trucks. Some of the food trucks there were CJ’s Tacos and Bruster’s Real Ice Cream.

Edited by Gracie-Lee Strange and Grace Goodacre

Featured image by Amber Scruggs