5th Annual Howl-O-Ween brings pooch parade, nonprofit awareness to UT Gardens

Abby Ann Ramsey, Entertainment Editor

UT Gardens Knoxville will host its 5th annual Howl-O-Ween Pooch Parade and Pet Expo on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.

The event is known for its costume parade where any dog owner can dress up their pup for Halloween and enter him or her into a contest for the best costume.

It also will consist of a food drive where everything is donated to Young Williams Animal Center, one-of-a-kind T-shirts that anyone can pre-order, an array of food trucks for the humans attending, and educational booths provided by pet businesses and rescue groups.

The main goals of Howl-O-Ween are to promote awareness of nonprofit animal organizations and to support the UT Gardens and College of Veterinary Medicine.

The event is completely free to the public, but there is a fee to register a dog for the contest. Donations to the organizations at Howl-O-Ween are encouraged, but not required.

Participants can register on-site for $15. The first 150 entries will be given a “doggy swag bag.” Dogs do not have to participate in the contest, however, to attend.

Dogs will be entered in one of four categories including best homemade costume, scariest costume, funniest costume, and best pop culture/character costumes. Each winner will receive a prize, and judges’ choice prizes will also be handed out. The judges are local dog-lovers who are well known in the community. WBIR’s Leslie Ackerson is this year’s Pooch Parade Master of Ceremonies.

People wishing to bring their dog should be sure they are up-to-date on vaccinations and well-socialized enough to be at a crowded event with humans and other dogs.

Howl-O-Ween welcomes all citizens of Knoxville, not just dog-owners. Everyone is welcome to come and watch the parade, which begins at 2:30, and can participate in any of the other activities that are fun and educational for all ages.