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Pooch parade organizer aims to unite community through fun

John Marchiony, shown with his rescue dog, Tyler, is cochairing the Pooch Parade.
Max Marchiony
John Marchiony, shown with his rescue dog, Tyler, is cochairing the Pooch Parade.

After attending several meetings of the Rotary Club of Weston and Wayland, John Marchiony said, he decided to join because “I wanted to know more people who give themselves generously to their communities and the world.

“I like being a part of an organization that puts ‘service above self,’ ” the Weston resident added, referring to the motto of the global organization with 31,000 chapters in more than 165 regions and countries.

The Rotary Club of Weston and Wayland has long been active in community service projects, including a scholarship fund that supports local high school seniors continuing their education. Pitching in even before his official membership ceremony in February, Marchiony has been cochairing a new spring fund-raiser: the Weston Pooch Parade & Festival, which will take place on May 16, from noon to 4 p.m., on the town green. The rain date is May 17.

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Activities will include educational presentations, pet-centric exhibitors, and a procession of pets with judges recognizing outstanding costumes, attributes, and decorum. Particularly proficient pups will compete for special titles such as best singer, kisser, trick, and pooch/person look-alike. In addition, there will be a silent auction of imaginative designer indoor/outdoor doghouses for small, medium, and large occupants.

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Tickets, which cost $20 for each “person and/or pooch,” are available online through Tuesday, May 5, as well as at the event. Online purchasers also receive a T-shirt (for the human).

Marchiony said the objectives are twofold: uniting the community for a day of fun, and raising money for the Rotary Club’s scholarship fund and local charity partners. Participants may direct ticket proceeds to one of three nonprofits: Buddy Dog Humane Society of Sudbury; Chelmsford-based Operation Delta Dog, which pairs veterans with service animals rescued from shelters; and Animal Rescue League of Boston.

Marchiony, a Weston Little League baseball coach and former board member of the Weston-based open-space advocacy organization Land’s Sake, is looking forward to attending the Pooch Parade & Festival with his own rescue dog, a mixed breed named Tyler.

“It will be very informal,” he promises, “and very humorous.”

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For registration and volunteer information, visit www.westonpoochparade.org or www.facebook.com/westonpoochparade.

Cindy Cantrell may be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.

Cindy Cantrell may be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.