Canine companions compete in Parade of Barkus, runners in 5k

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, February 22, 2023

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Those looking for a taste of Louisiana turned out at the Hook and Ladder early Saturday morning for the Mardi Gras Society of Southwest Georgia’s festivities; first, for the “Run for the Beads” 5K and Fun Run, followed by the Parade of Barkus, a small dog show for owners to deck their four-legged family members in various Mardi Gras themed costumes.

The 5K began at the Hook and Ladder, down Water Street to the Boat Basin and back. In the men’s division, first place went to Elliot Butler, followed by Simpson Bowles in second, with Will Gerstman taking third. In the women’s division, Kelly Maxwell took first, Galetta Jenson placed second, and Chelsey Whitmore took third. Additionally, Eliza Brown received the award for Best Mardi Gras Attire.

Following the 5K, man’s best friend took center stage with the Parade of Barkus. A short “red carpet” was set up for the 15 contestants, with some owners walking their dogs down the runway, while others pushed them in appropriately-themed wagons or strollers. This event served as a fundraiser, with donations made going to the Humane Society. Mel Louvering’s dog Chouli took first place, followed by Marilyn Whitley and her dog Laci in second, with Liv Warren’s canine companion Mollie taking third.

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Following the events that morning, a masquerade ball was held at the country club, with food, drinks and music provided. To round out the festivities, the Society held their Fat Tuesday Flint River Mardi Gras Parade on Tuesday afternoon.

Jennifer Cannon, the society’s president-elect, spoke to the Post-Searchlight about the festivities, saying “Everyone has loved having these new Mardi Gras-themed events in southwest Georgia.” After all the events have been completed, donations made for different charities will be tallied up, as the Mardi Gras Society is a non-profit organization.