Spring has sprung! Children and their pets are practicing their best smiles and parade waves for the 18th annual Pet Parade through Eastsound sponsored by Kaleidoscope on Saturday, May 24.
The event begins with judging at 10 a.m. at Orcas School. Every child will receive a participation ribbon and all will vie for prizes in many different categories including Best Owner/Pet look-a-like, Most Unique Pet, Best Behaved Pet and Star of the Show. Entry is by donation. The prizes are sponsored by Orcas Island merchants.
Rain or shine, at 11 a.m., entrants will parade down School Road to Prune Alley toward Island Market, through the parking lot at Ray’s Pharmacy and across the street to the Band Shell on the Village Green where the prize winners will be announced.
Afterwards, kids can refresh themselves with “kid-friendly” foods like barbecued hot dogs and hamburgers, sno-cones and sodas while adults feast on gourmet morsels at the “Bite of Orcas.”
It is fitting that Kaleidoscope sponsor an animal event. Kaleidoscope has animals-in-residence on its “staff.” The oldest animal resident is Sam the turtle. Sam is only 10 years old. “Given the life cycle of a turtle, he has about 80 years left,” says Minnis. Maybe he will be around to celebrate Kaleidoscopes 100th birthday.” Tigger, the cat is just a “big love,” said Minnis. “He’d rather watch the parade than be in it.”
The Pet Parade serves as Kaleidoscope’s primary Spring fundraiser. A nonprofit organization, Kaleidoscope receives some state funding, but it doesn’t cover all the expenses of providing daycare for the 50 children and 25 pre-schoolers.
“Kaleidoscope is the only place on the island that provides all-day childcare year round from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays for children ages 2½ to 12 years of age,” said Kaleidoscope Director Amber Minnis.
“The donations of the participants in the Pet Parade and contributions from the prize sponsors help Kaleidoscope keep childcare affordable for all Orcas Island families.