Locust Grove's 'Mardi Growl' set for Saturday

"Laissez les bon paws roulez," some may be saying in downtown Locust Grove Saturday, during the first "Mardi Growl" event.

The Cajun-French phrase, translated in English means: "Let the good pooches roll," according to Tim Young, director of Locust Grove Community Development.

The City of Locust Grove's Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is sponsoring the "Mardi Growl" festival.

"We are trying to make it as much like Mardi Gras, as we can, with music and costumes," said Downtown Development Coordinator Linda Hutchison.

Though inspired New Orleans' Mardi Gras, this festive event is geared to dogs, and their owners. "Mayor Lorene Lindsey's dog, "Bo," will be the grand marshal of the parade" that will be held during the event, said Hutchison.

"We wanted to give the citizens something fun to do, and have a sense of their own special little town they live in," she said. "We really wanted to bring people to the downtown area to make our businesses more visible."

The festival will start at 11 a.m., with a parade of owners walking their dogs, from the Ingles market on Bill Gardner Parkway, and will travel along Bill Gardner to Highway 42, through downtown Locust Grove. The parade will conclude at Trailhead Park, at Cleveland Street and Indian Creek Road.

The festivities will continue at noon with a variety of dog contests inside Trailhead Park. Dog owners and their pets will compete in "Best All-Around Dog," "Owner/Pet Look-Alike," "Best Costume," "Best Personality," "Best Team Spirit," and "Most Talented" contests.

Next year, the winner of the "Best All-Around Dog" contest will be the grand marshal for the parade, said Hutchison. "We've never had a dog parade before," she continued. "We have had pet-costume contests at our opening day of Scarecrow Village [an observance at Halloween]."

There will be stage performances of tricks done the dogs, and Frisbee-retrieving acts, she said. "Our [Locust Grove Police Department] drug dog, "Ollie," is going to do a seek-and-search demonstration," added Hutchison.

"We are hoping to have a break in the weather, but we will have it [the festival], rain or shine," said Community Development Director Tim Young.

There will be music, and vendors selling food, as well as other items, during the event. The Oscar Meyer Wiener Mobile also is scheduled to make an appearance.

"We thought that would be a nice touch with hot dogs, and dogs," said Hutchison.

City businesses sponsoring Mardi Growl include: Publix, Mallards Landing Veterinary Hospital, and Bethlehem Animal Clinic. Pet Smart in McDonough, also is a sponsor.

Those interested in participating in any of the Mardi Growl activities are encouraged to register before, or on, the day of the event. For more information, call (770) 692-2320.