Anyway, on Saturday the 21st I went to Multnomah Days with my mom, my grammy, and Annabelle the Basset Hound (in icon). Grammy can't walk very far, so we got there stupid early so we could park. We then set up chairs in one of the very few places along the parade route where they did not have vendors setting up booths. (Multnomah Days is a combination of street fair and parade, with the kind of dumb consequence that there are very few places to actually sit and watch the parade because the entire parade route is taken over by vendor booths. This leads to nearly Rose Festival Parade depth crowds along the few portions of the route where you can actually see anything from the sidewalk.) Grammy also couldn't stand for long enough to watch a parade, so we knew we had to get there early enough to snag the rare chair spot. Given the large amount of senior services in Multnomah I'd really like to see some thought go in to making it easier to take seniors to the parade, but it's also possible there was a program of some kind in place for that and we simply didn't know about it.
After a hearty breakfast at a local cafe, Annabelle and I headed over to the parade assembly area. The paper said to be there at 9:30 for a 10:00 start, so I was there by 9:20. Of course, this being a fairly laid-back parade there wasn't any kind of paperwork to fill out and they (very sensibly) just wanted all the dogs to hang out in a nearby grassy area until it got closer to the start time since dogs don't wait in line very well and are much more maneuverable than floats (which are much better at waiting in line). There was also a therapy llama, but it turns out Annabelle is over her fear of livestock and she didn't care even a little bit about it. (We took Annabelle to watch a parade in Vernonia a few years back when we'd had her about a year and she tried to head for the hills when the horses went by, but she's gotten generally better socialized and less fearful with time. Since she's never shown aggression and just tries to run away or hide it's been pretty easy to try out new situations with the idea that we'll just leave if it doesn't work out.)
While we were waiting the dog food store people (Healthy Pets NW, who have a store in Multnomah where Annabelle is a regular) came by and we found out that there was a contest and various prizes. I decided it was worth putting Annabelle in her costume early just in case we might win. (Annabelle has not been asked to wear costumes often so my plan was to put it on right before the parade so she'd have less time to put up with it.) Here is a cell phone picture of Princess Annabelle:
We ended up winning Best Costume, which was pretty cool since we didn't even know there'd be a contest.
Annabelle didn't really "get" parades and kept wanting to greet each child in the audience individually, so we decided to retire from the parade when we got to where Grammy and Mom were sitting. By that point we'd gone from marching in the pack of dogs at the front of the parade, to marching with the therapy dogs behind them (extra-embarrassing because they were of course wearing green therapy animal vests and Annabelle was wearing her green princess cape), to finally marching with the firetruck behind the therapy dogs. Annabelle's chosen marching pace was noticeable slower than that of the woman using a walker with her little dog in the walker basket. This may well be Annabelle's only parade as a participant. I'm not sure how much was lack of ability (her usual walking pace is a pretty slow amble interspersed with sprints) and how much was a lack of understanding of what was expected of her.
She quite enjoyed watching the rest of the parade. It was crowded, but she likes people and some of them dropped food. Partway through the parade I noticed she had her head in the lap of some guy we didn't know, but fortunately he seemed to be an easygoing type who likes dogs. Then Mom and Grammy went home and Annabelle and I went to go pick up her prize, which turned out to be a $25 gift card to the pet food store and a giant gift basket. We'll probably use up the gift card pretty fast since it's for our regular store and her dry food costs over $20 a bag. The gift basket's more of a wash since she doesn't really play with toys. She'll really enjoy the dog treats and we'll probably use the small bag of kibble as yet more treats (Annabelle has an open-minded idea of what constitutes a treat, but we usually give her green beans), but we'll have to find some deserving dogs to give away the three toys to. I'll probably give my cousin first choice since she has a young chihuahua/terrier mix and he seems like he might like a nice chew toy.
We wandered the booths for a while, walked down to check out the Dog Wash at the Lucky Lab (and I entered a raffle) and then hit up our favorite bar, Journeys, for a break (Annabelle tries to make the turn up the steps to their patio every time I walk her by even though they don't open until after we're home from our regular walk). They didn't have their kitchen open and were allowing outside food from the various street vendors instead but I didn't really think about food until I was already settled with my beer, so I just had to tough it out with no food until I was done with it. It was delicious, but 7% alcohol on an empty stomach was a bit much for me so we then had to wander in search of vegetarian food that I can eat and that can be ordered without going inside someplace, which is kind of a tricky combination. (I can't have large amounts of soy without getting an upset stomach, and I'm severely allergic to bell peppers, and a lot of people seem to fill their veggie options with soy and/or bell peppers.) I finally ended up having coffee and fries in the beer garden outside Renners, which was ok but not exactly a full lunch. If I go again next year I think I'll keep a half sandwich in my purse in case this happens again. (There were a few places that looked more promising, but one sold out of food just before I got there and the other had a really long line and a vaguely-worded sign so I couldn't tell if I'd be able to eat the food after waiting in the line.)
After "lunch" we wandered back down to the Lucky Lab (which I'd considered for food but their outside seating was really packed so I skipped it) for the Dog Wash fundraiser since the weather had gotten a little warmer. Annabelle was a surprisingly good sport about the whole thing. As near as I can tell, she enjoyed the attention from the three dog washers, but would like to skip the water part next time. We then walked the length of the fair over and over to give her time to dry off, and I ran into one of my old students working at the Voodoo Donuts truck. It's always fun when a previous student recognizes me and wants to say hi and Multnomah is pretty far from the part of town I taught in so that was a nice surprise.
Eventually I loaded Annabelle back into my car and drove her home. (I felt like kind of a jerk for talking a car to an event less than ten blocks from my mother's house, but we needed two cars to make it work to take Grammy.)
Then today I got a call and found out I won the raffle I'd thrown $5 in, so I won a $20 gift certificate to the Lucky Lab and two T-shirts. I'll have to think about whether I'm going to keep the shirts or give them to Mom and Tom since they have a bar logo on them so I'll never be able to wear them to work if I get a teaching job again (I probably shouldn't even wear them off work in a place where I might run into my students, I suppose). On the other hand, I like to collect shirts from places I've been and I don't think I have a Multnomah shirt. I had to pick up my prize from the front desk at Dove Lewis (our local 24 animal hospital, the beneficiary of the fundraiser) and I hadn't really thought about how that would mean being in a room with a bunch of sick animals while picking up a raffle prize until I got there. I felt like kind of a jerk walking past people waiting to spend a bunch of money trying to fix their sick dogs to pick up a prize. At least there were no balloons or anything.
So, anyway, my total haul from my local neighborhood festival was $45 in gift certificates, a cereal-sized box of dog treats, a small bag of kibble, three dog toys, two t-shirts, a few dog biscuits, and a toothbrush (which a vet office was giving away as part of their goody bags that also contained dog biscuits and a business card - I assume the toothbrush was also for the dog). It's kind of ridiculous but also awesome. I think Annabelle had a pretty good time too, even if I did make her wear the princess crown and cape for about half of it.
So, I shall end with a poll:
Which entry should I post next? (topics come from March to present)
Which entry should I post next? (topics come from March to present)