Costumed canines
Dogs take center stage in Lilburn Daze pet parade

LILBURN - Mandy McManus' children usually won't wear the costumes she makes them anymore.

So instead, she put her needle and thread to use for the family dog - an English springer spaniel named Sophie, dressed as a turkey, complete with a feather fan tail, who drew squeals from kids at the first ever pet parade at Lilburn Daze.

Sophie dresses up every year, McManus said. "I never made (a costume) before, but this year I thought I'd go all out."

The parade and pet contest drew about a dozen canine contestants, but dozens of people stopped browsing crafts and munching on goodies to ooh and aah at the dogs, as they circled Lilburn City Park.

Dogs are usually forbidden in the park, but officials gave special permission for Saturday's parade.

"I'm excited. There are a lot of cute dogs here," said Marilou Young, a Lawrenceville woman who wore her daughter's nearly two-decade-old homecoming dress to join her dogs in the parade.

The trio - Young, her Shih poo, Sassy Savannah, and long-haired Chihuahua, Bandit - won the look-alike contest for owners and dogs matching.

Young didn't need to buy or make costumes for her pooches. Bandit's tuxedo and Sassy's pink frock had already been purchased so they could serve as best man and bridesmaid at her wedding next weekend.

Saturday's parade featured a police dog, Peter Pan, a couple of spiders, a skeleton and even a dog dressed as Willie Nelson, complete with braids.

JoJo, the dachshund with one brown eye and one blue eye who won the best costume prize, was nervous before the parade, so his owner Kim Hunt led him by his new leash - a fishing pole and line to match the blue rainbow fish costume he wore.

"It took about two days and several fittings" to make the costume, Hunt said, adding that JoJo got frustrated with the job and even growled during the last fitting. "My husband fishes a lot, and we decided we were going to make him a fish."