(Update: Adding video, comments from Bend Park & Rec, parade participants, spectators)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Independence Day in Bend once again included the beloved Pet Parade rolling through downtown Bend, to the joy of hundreds of participants and spectators alike, as it has for close to a century.
The parade began at 10 a.m. Tuesday, and the lineup for the parade started an hour earlier at Harmon Park.
Bend Park & Recreation District's Community Relations Manager Julie Brown says the Pet Parade sees lots of turnout every year.
"The Pet Parade is our biggest parade typically in the community in any given year," she said. "It has been generations of folks in Central Oregon, and in Bend in particular, using this as another way to celebrate the Fourth of July."
Since starting in 1924, the Bend Pet Parade has only not happened three times since then, once in 1943 due to World War II, and in 2020-21 due to Covid-19.
According to Bend Park & Rec, this year's parade was estimated to have nearly 10,000 participants and spectators.
On this holiday, I asked participants and attendees alike, what their favorite part is about coming to the parade.
Michael Couch, a Bend resident with a golden retriever, attended for only his second time on Tuesday.
"It's kind of a small town feel in a town that's grown bigger," he said. "So it's kind of fun to get everyone out, have everyone kind of dress up in red, white and blue and bring the dogs out. It's just kind of a fun experience for the whole community."
Some people walked dogs, while others pretended to, for humor. A lady from London, England also joined Bendites for the occasion.
Lynn and Connie, two ladies who pretended to walk with dogs in the parade, told NewsChannel 21: "It's just for fun. I (Connie) don't have a real dog, so this is as close as I get to a real dog. And everybody's here. There's so many people, and it's just a very special thing that not every town does any more."
Kay Dawson, who hails from the UK, cracked a joke about the origination of the holiday: "I think it's fun -- as a British person, I always make jokes to my colleagues about, 'I gave you a free holiday.'"
"But just the way a nation comes together to celebrate, I think that's important," she added. "And the way it unifies a community is great."
One parade marcher, Dale, decided to jump into the festivities after they had already begun, because it looked like fun.
"Just one of those spur-of-the-moment things. I said, 'Okay, Bella (his dog) let's walk down to the parade, what the heck? And we'll just jump in.' So we jumped in about halfway through. It was fun -- she liked it."
A 220-pound English mastiff named Tank also walked for his third time in the Pet Parade.
Cecilie, Tank's human mom, told us, "He got a little tired, but we made it almost to the end. I had treats in my pocket, he was following behind me. He gets a lot of attention, everyone started cheering. And this is so typical Bend -- it's great."
The parade lasted about 45 minutes, with participants walking a little over a mile along the route.
Next year will mark 100 years since the inaugural Pet Parade in Bend.