Inner West Independent

Colourful canines hit the streets

Dogs will take over Darling Street on Saturday for Balmain’s second annual Easter Dog Parade.

The whole-day extravaganza at Gladstone Park features a dog competition across 22 categories and upwards of 15 stalls selling leads, treats and other puppy paraphernalia.

More than a thousand dogs are expected to visit or take part in the festival in some way, says founder Anny Slater. Last year’s inaugural event attracted 450 attendees and 300 competition entries.

“This year it’s much bigger,” Ms Slater says.

Some of the wackier awards up for grabs include ‘best biscuit-catcher’, ‘the chatterbox award’ for the loudest pooch, and ‘best fashion-forward dog and owner’.

Elite dog trainer Steve Austin will be on site, along with author of Aussie Dog Stories, Paul Bugeja. For the kids, there’ll be an easter egg hunt and costume competitions.

If you’re willing, you can subject yourself to the very special “dog in a lab coat” who will psycho-analyse you.

“It’s meant to be a day full of silly things where people can come in crazy costumes and just be off the wall for the day,” Ms Slater said.

But the dog parade has a big-picture goal, too. Ms Slater, a solicitor who lives in Balmain, wanted to create an event which would bring the community together, including its more isolated residents. She has invited the nearby Balmain Hospital to bring its long-term patients down to the park for the day.

“I hope that over a period of time that it will not just bring people into Balmain and Rozelle, but [help] people to reconnect in the community in a non-confronting way,” Ms Slater said.

Her own pooch, Belle the red setter, will become ‘Bellerina’ on the day, adorned in a tutu.

Easter Dog Parade, Gladstone Park, Balmain, April 12, 8am-4pm

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