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La Grange Pet Parade winds through downtown streets Saturday

If it’s June, it must be time for the La Grange Pet Parade.

The 76th version of a single of La Grange’s oldest occasions kicks off at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and will wind its way via the downtown region.

“This is a excellent weekend for the local community to arrive collectively,” Erin Smith, government director of the parade, reported recently. “I really like La Grange so substantially. I’m proud for my hometown.”

The Grand Marshals of this year’s parade will be from Robert Coulter, Jr. American Legion Post 1941. Post 1941 has been main the parade as its Coloration Guard since the initially parade in 1947.

The Junior Grand Marshal will be Evelyn Gonzalez, the college student who received the La Grange Art League Coloring Contest and will experience in the parade in her very own convertible.

Another local getting honored is Dolores Herbert Jones, who first walked in the first Pet Parade as a 16-12 months-outdated in 1947 she’ll ride in a auto with her granddaughter.

This 12 months the parade also honors Kendall Coyne-Schofield, the Palos Heights indigenous and member of the U.S. Women’s National Ice Hockey workforce. Coyne-Schofield won a Gold Medal in 2018 at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea and gained many Gold Medals at a variety of international hockey competitions more than the program of her vocation.

Following Coyne-Schofield’s automobile will be one carrying customers of the Lyons Township Higher School Hockey Club.

The La Grange Pet Parade, a single of quite a few in the Chicagoland, and imagined by many to be the oldest, began as a project of the La Grange Chamber of Commerce, whose president, Ed Breen, proprietor of Breen’s cleaners, experienced the notion to create an function that would attribute the Village’s little ones and household pets.

The parade grew in excess of the decades to include things like entrees from regional businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofits. It was televised by WGN-Television set all through the 1970s and 1980s. Due to the fact the 1990s, the parade has been telecast in excess of area access cable Television by LTTV, the station operated by college students at Lyons Township Significant College.

This year’s parade will also be livestreamed around YouTube.

Above the years, many area celebs have served as Grand Marshalls of the parade, including media figures John Coleman and Lester Holt, famous coaches Ray Meyer and Gene Pingatore, and athletic icons Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Gary Fencik.

The Pet Parade is arranged just about every yr completely by volunteers, the only compensated worker getting Erin Smith, who is in her 1st 12 months on the occupation.

A former educator who taught elementary universities on Chicago’s West Facet, Schaumburg, Western Springs, and St. Francis, Smith is now a remain-at-residence mom.

“This task was a situation of remaining at the suitable location at the ideal time,” she claimed, noting that she took over the setting up for this year’s parade in September 2021.

But she pressured that Ed Breen’s son, Bob Breen, still energetic in the celebration, was the crucial motivator driving it.

“Bob is truly the coronary heart and soul of the parade,” Smith mentioned.

A nonprofit Board of Directors was created in 1999 to arrange and fund the Pet Parade, recognized given that 2016 as Pet Parade Charities. The group exists each to fund yearly parade costs, and to contribute to regional pet-based charities.

For even further details on the La Grange Pet Parade, stop by the celebration website, langrangepetparade.org.

Hank Beckman is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.