Ready for Take-Off, this angel baby pooch stops to pose before marching on in the Harvest Festival Pet Parade, photos © 2008 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.
Every year in early fall, our little village holds a Harvest Festival. This used to be a farming community, and although many fields have turned into big houses with lawns, you can still find acres of apple orchards and corn and chile crops. Not to mention the good-sized gardens and non-commercial farms that produce a bounty of fruits and vegetables. It’s definitely a time to celebrate.
My favorite part of the Harvest Festival, hands down, is the Pet Parade. The first year Jim and I moved here, we heard that the festival always kicked off with a parade for pets down the main road in the village. I’d never been in a parade before, and something inside me was hankering to walk with our dog, Roger, as observers lining the street cheered and clapped wildly.
I tied a red paisley handkerchief around Roger’s neck and headed to the staging area where parade participants were gathering with dogs, cats, goats, chickens, turkeys, and horses.
Roger, of course, was chomping at the bit. This was the most exciting thing to happen in his life, too. He pulled me from one animal to another, sniffing the spray paint on their coats and their silly wigs, hats, tu-tus, flower arrangements, polka dots, shoes, and tuxedos. Clearly, Roger was underdressed, and I towered two feet above the tallest human participant.
Still, we marched. We smiled and waved. We posed when Jim snapped our photo and then watched him stagger off holding his stomach from laughing so hard.
Nowadays, entire families march in the Pet Parade. This year there was a “wench wagon” with showgirls dressed in velvet corsets sitting in a horse-drawn carriage. (Forget the kids and pets, I’m taking my bosom to the parade!)
There’s still the odd assortment of animals. One year I saw an iguana in its glass terrarium atop a chariot, looking like Cleopatra. This year my favorite was the Chicken-Mobile (a chicken perched on a Playskool car) and the weiner taco (weiner dog in a taco shell). The goat in a straw hat was a stand-out, too.
After the parade everyone scattered for other parts of the festival. Some headed to the food court—all that clapping worked up an appetite for turkey legs and Indian tacos—while others jumped on hay wagons heading in the direction of the three-mile-long corn maze.
We made our way to the Old Church and Casa San Ysidro, where we bought tamales and burritos from a woman who scooped extra ladles of red chile meat onto your plate if you asked.