By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
BREVARD -- Nearly everyone loves to celebrate Mardi Gras -- or Fat Tuesday -- in Cocoa Village, pets included.
On Sunday, Feb. 23, the Central Brevard Humane Society will host its eighth annual Mardi Gras Paws in the Park, in conjunction with Cocoa Village Mardi Gras, from noon to 3 p.m. at Riverfront Park in Historic Cocoa Village.
Mardi Gras Paws in the Park is a free family- and animal-friendly event for pet lovers of all ages.
A variety of rescue groups will be on hand, as well as a fun vendor village, exciting pet contests, the crowing of the "furry" King and Queen of the Park, live music by Nowhere to Rum and the Mardi Gras Parade of Pets.
Eileen Cole, media relations manager for the Humane Society, added that there will also be a demonstration from the Brevard County Sheriff's Department's Paws & Stripes Cadets.
The Central Brevard Humane Society asks that all animals, attending with their humans, remain on a leash and have proof of current shots, along with a county-issued tag.
One of the most popular events of Mardi Gras Paws in the Park is the crowing of the King and Queen of the Park.
"'Heavy Duty,' or 'H.D' for short, an English bulldog owned by Kaleea Okerlind of Rockledge was chosen as King of Mardi Gras Paws in the Park and his queen was 'Ocean,' a pit bull owned by Sarah Gunther of Titusville at last year's event," Ms. Cole said. "More than 1,500 people attended the event."
The King and Queen of the Park will be decided by a panel of celebrity judges, including professional wrestler Devon Dudley, Florida Today's Suzy Leonard, Greg Pallone, anchor for Central Florida News 13, WSBH 98.5 FM The Beach's Dave Poore and Donna Skattum of Space Coast Living Magazine.
A unique part of the Space Coast, the Central Brevard Humane Society is a "no-kill-for-space" facility, which receives no support from tax dollars.
All of the organizations funding comes through donations, adoption fees, product sales, its four Molly Mutt Thrift Shops, fundraisers, its new Merritt Island Adoption Center and other pet-related services.
"Mardi Gras Paws in the Park is a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with your pup, in the sun and having fun," Ms. Cole said.
The Central Brevard Humane Society will hosts its eighth annual Mardi Gras Paws in the Park, in conjunction with Cocoa Village Mardi Gras, on Sunday, Feb. 23 from noon to 3 p.m. at Riverfront Park in Historic Cocoa Village.
The event is free for people and their pets.
Pets must be on a leash and have proof of current shots, along with a county tag.
For more information, call (321) 636-3343 or visit www.CritterSavers.com.