Chuy’s Christmas Parade: 2013

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Last Saturday morning, large crowds lined both sides of Congress Avenue to watch the annual Chuy’s Christmas Parade. Continuing a tradition started 25 years ago, toys were collected for the Operation Blue Santa Program. About 30 minutes after starting, the entire parade was stopped while children piled up their toy donations on vehicles that were scattered throughout the lineup.

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Welcome Home, Iraq Veterans Parade

The City of Austin hosted a parade to honor Iraq veterans on Saturday morning. Now this was not the most exciting parade to march through downtown Austin, but there were a few highlights to report…

The 36th Infantry Division band from the local National Guard unit at Camp Maybry entertained the spectators with peppy march tunes including that Austin favorite, “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”

Texas Rollergirls from the local flat-track roller derby league zigzagged their way up the street.

Supporters of both major political parties marched side by side on Congress Avenue, the Republicans on the left and Democrats on the right. Was this intentional?

The two guys next to me said that they were checking out the veterans job fair at the Texas State Capitol after the parade ended. While many towns and cities have been honoring veterans with parades, I’ve read that Austin is the first to combine a parade with employment assistance.

Easter Pet Parade

This afternoon Bill and I watched the costume judging for the 13th Annual Easter Pet Parade at the South Congress location of Jo’s Coffee. About 40 dogs entered the contest. The registration fee benefited Austin Pets Alive!, a nonprofit organization with a goal to eliminate the killing of companion animals. 
The theme was “Pets in Drag” in honor of local cross-dressing celebrity Leslie Cochran, who died a month ago. Austinites certainly miss seeing Leslie around town in a negligee or bikini. Some contestants tried to capture Leslie’s signature style. 
Each dog was introduced with a little bio. One contestant’s hobbies were “sniffing butts and sleeping.” Another liked to “flirt with poodles.” “Walking on South Congress” was a popular activity.
But I noticed that the dogs all had two things in common:
very creative owners…
(Seriously. Napoleon Dynamite with a “Vote for Pedro” shirt and glasses?)
 
…and extreme patience.
After everyone had a chance to “strut their stuff”, all species took a water break while the judges conferred and made their final decisions.
Then the top five contestants were called back on stage and the winners were announced.
Third prize went to Cleopatra. When asked about this impressive costume, the owner said “it came with the dog.”
The Exterminator won second prize.
The first-place winner was this little pink-and-leopard-skin dog with matching owner… definitely Leslie-inspired costumes!