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There will be a "howling good time" in Town Square at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, with the 17th Annual Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade. 

The event, which features dozens of pets and their human owners in costume, will travel west along the sidewalk on State Street before making a turn onto Cherry Street. A costume contest will follow the parade. 

Registration for the costume contest is from 1 - 2:30 p.m., under the tent at the Town Park. This year's contest will feature two categories: pet and people and pets. Registration for the contest is $5 for the pets category and $8 for people and pets.

A portion of the registration fee for the contest will be donated to a local animal rescue organization. Past recipients of funds raised from the parade have included Brother Wolf, Greenville Humane Society, Asheville Humane Society and Full Moon Farm, among others. 

Prizes are awarded in each category and the two first prize winners compete for the grand prize. Prizes consist of gift certificates donated by our local businesses and cash awards.

June Vengoechea, owner of Visions of Creation, and Sandi Rector, former owner of Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique, established the event in 2002 to showcase the dog-friendly Black Mountain in a humorous way.

Attendance has grown each year and the event has become a favorite during the Halloween season. Rector passed away in 2012, and the new owner of Bone-A-Fide, Kim Weeks, was happy to continue this tradition with June.

The intention of the parade and the costume contest that follows is to bring attention to the area's "wonderful animal friends," and to support their causes by contributing to animal rescue organizations. The parade is not just for people and dogs, there have been cats, goats, rabbits and even a tarantula enter the costume contest.

Organizers credit the support of the downtown businesses, the Black Mountain Swannanoa Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Black Mountain and the parade's executive sponsors, for helping to make the annual event a success.

The parade will be held, weather permitting. For more information contact June Vengoechaea at Visions of Creation 828-279-7778 or Kim Weeks at Bone-A-Fide Pet Boutique 828-669-0706.

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