There were smiles, rounds of a applause, and plenty of wagging tails Sunday as 39 patriotic pooches paraded down Summer Street in front of Macy’s to celebrate the nation’s independence and to bring people, and their pets, back downtown.
The first annual Independence Day dog parade was just one of many events the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District and Boston Harborfest were hosting throughout the July 4th weekend, including historical reenactments, ice cream socials, and a ukulele band performance.
Adrienne Vaughan, 52, and Brian Trabish, 51, came with their 12-year-old daughter, Madeleine , and 16-month-old white Siberian Huskey named Magnus from West Roxbury.
Though Magnus’s costume of a blue T-shirt, green Statue of Liberty crown, and plush eagle strapped to his back was something the family “threw together last minute,” Vaughan said, the judges were impressed, awarding Magnus Best in Show.
“This is phenomenal,” Vaughan said. “I’m happy to see how much work Mayor Wu and her team have put into getting people back downtown.”
Friends Charlotte Michaux, 36, and Jessica Pereira, 32, moved to Boston from France and Brazil during the pandemic and were eager to experience their first full-fledged Fourth of July.
“It’s silly, but it’s nice,” Pereira said as her Uncle-Sam-hat-wearing golden retriever Baily gawked at all the other dogs.
Foot traffic downtown has fallen sharply since the onset of the pandemic, and the Downtown Boston BID is aiming to use the holiday weekend as an opportunity to attract people back to the heart of the city.
“We did amp up the events this year with full knowledge that we needed to have destination events to get people into downtown Boston for things that they really can’t get elsewhere,” said George Comeau, Downtown Boston BID’s marketing manager.
The BID counted about 108,000 visitors downtown on Friday and Saturday’s total was also above 100,000, Comeau said.
“This isn’t window dressing; it’s packed down here,” he said on Sunday.
Hana and Keri Pearlson with their poodle mix, Russel, were among the crowd. The festivities were a nice break from depressing news, they said.
“Right now it’s hard to celebrate the country,” Hana Pearlson, 26, said. “But we can always celebrate dogs.”
“We always find a way to come together,” said Keri Pearlson, 64.
Monday’s festivities will begin at 9 a.m. with a parade from Government Center culminating at the Old State House for a reading of the Declaration of Independence.
At 1 p.m. there will be a reading of Frederick Douglas’s “What, to the slave, is the Fourth of July” speech at the Downtown Crossing steps, and events on the Esplanade will begin at 7 p.m.
Sunday’s clear skies will last into Monday, when temperatures will hit a high of 83 degrees with a light breeze and low humidity, according to the National Weather Service.
The weekend’s beautiful weather had Katie Shusdock sweating as she led a pack of tourists down the Freedom Trail along Beacon Street near the Statehouse in 17th-century garb on Sunday.
“It’s not as bad as you’d think,” she said of the three-layered green linen dress she was wearing.
Shusdock, who teaches high school biology during the school year, said tourists have returned to the city in force, many of them here this weekend for the Independence Day festivities.
As for the patriot Shusdock portrays on her tours, “she’d be pretty excited” for Independence Day, Shusdock said.