By Isabella Patta, Staff Writer —
Chattanooga’s corgis are taking on St. Elmo on Oct. 3, as they are promenading in their annual parade while showing off their costumes and award-winning traits.
This year’s St. Elmo Corgi Parade is on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. at the bottom of the Railroad Incline.
“We, [corgi owners] gather together before the parade and give out certificates,” said Bob Wright, organizer of the parade.
Categories include longest corgi, shortest corgi, best face, best tail, luckiest corgi, furthest traveling corgi and more. Also, a kind and queen of the parade are crowned.
“They are the ones that best represent corgis… they [get to] lead the parade down the street,” Wright said.
About 20 to 30 local and regional corgis are expected to be in the parade. While some corgis stay true to themselves, other participating corgis come dressed up for the parade.
“Some have costumes on, like fall outfits, [others] have shark costumes or little people riding on their backs,” Wright said.
Dottie Hodges, a corgi owner from Chattanooga, currently has three corgis and all of them participate in the parade. “We always dress up and enjoy seeing our corgi pals and – apparently – the vast fan base that Chattanooga has for the corgi breed,” said Dottie Hodges on behalf of her corgi Tilley.
They have been involved since 2012.
“[In 2012] I had been named queen of the corgi parade,” said Dottie Hodges on behalf of her corgi Tilley. “There was a prize and certificate and I was ushered to the front of the line to lead the corgi parade. I pranced, I posed, everyone admired. It was awesome.”
“People don’t know much about corgis, so they ask questions about them at the event,” Wright said. “People rescue corgis or buy them after they see the parade and participate in the event the next year.”
Last year’s judge was Mimi Pond, a cartoonist for the New Yorker and wife of local artist Wayne White. The parade was featured as a cartoon, “Dog Day Afternoon: Judging a Corgi Parade.”
This year, Jimmy Adams, owner of the ARK Pet Spa & Hotel, will be the judge.
“We pick judges who know dogs [and] they are funny people with good humor,” Wright said.
The first Corgi parade was in 1999, as part of the September in St. Elmo festival. Wright was on the committee for the festival that year and has been involved since then. He owned four corgis at the time and was looking for an event to connect people with corgis.
Once the festival wasn’t happening anymore, the Corgi parade took a hiatus from 2005 until 2012. In 2013, the parade started again with the help of National Night Out and Community Association of Historic St.Elmo. It’s been happening since then on every first Tuesday in October.
Nancy Pearl, owner of the Black Fox Pet Resort in Cleveland, has been participating in the event for years.
“The event is all wrapped up in the corgis,” Pearl said. “They are happy, fun to be around and always make you smile watching their little bunny butts walk down the street in mass.”
Shannon Bennett, corgi owner from Chattanooga, has been participating in the parade since she got her corgi Olli 9 years ago.
“He’s the first corgi I’ve had and it was so fun to see other dogs like him all in one place,” Bennett said.
“The corgi parade is legitimately the highlight of my semester,” said Emily McAndrew, a junior from Hendersonville. “When I went at first, I didn’t realize how many corgis there would be. I may have cried once I got there…”
Corgi owners who want to participate only need to show up at 6:30 p.m. and be part of the parade.
For more information, see St. Elmo Corgi Parade on Facebook.
In addition to the parade, art vendors will be present. Local stores around the St. Elmo area will be open, including a florist, a massage parlor and 1885, the restaurant at the bottom of the Railroad Incline.
The street will be blocked off until 9 p.m.