The animal parade featured a duckling that had learned to play dead.
By SEAN BARRON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
SALEM -- If it wobbled on webbed feet, barked or had two wheels, it was probably on Broadway.
For part of Sunday afternoon, a baby mallard duck, a colorful array of dogs and decorated bicycles could be seen in a one-block stretch of Broadway Avenue here at a holiday pets' parade.
For his ability to play dead on command while resting in Betty Alwine's hands, Sidney, a 3-week-old mallard duckling, took first place.
Sidney was one of a variety of pets to have been entered in Sunday's parade. For their duckling's efforts, Alwine and her husband, Wayne, of Negley took home a first-place Most Unusual Pet 2005 trophy.
"Mallards are the best to train," Wayne Alwine said, adding that the couple has worked with and owned several other types of ducks.
For a little more than an hour, a block of the busy thoroughfare south of State Street was closed to traffic to accommodate the seventh annual event, sponsored by the Memorial and Patriotic Association, which consists of a variety of military organizations. Festivities also included the bicycle parade.
The Alwines got Sidney shortly after he was born at the Ridgeway Hatchery in LaRue, Ohio, west of Marion. A worker challenged Betty Alwine to teach the young animal to play dead and he learned the trick in about a day, she recalled.
The couple said they have taken their pets to nursing homes and day-care centers to entertain children and adults.
Amy Dean, who works at C-Cruze Kennel of Salem, brought Cora and Twizzler, her two Chinese Crested dogs. One of the pets was a "finished champ," Dean said, meaning that the dog beat others of the same breed in other dog shows.
In the competitions, judges rate dogs' tails, teeth, looks, structure and movements and choose the No. 1 pet in the categories, she noted.
Dean, who has gone to dog shows all over the country, also brought four puppies to the parade so they would be exposed to other people and pets. Being at the event was designed to help the puppies when they compete at a show in October at the Franklin County Fairgrounds near Columbus, she added.
"The parade is good for their socialization," Dean said.
Pets were judged for being the largest, smallest, best dressed, cutest, furriest and most unusual, said Mary Lou Popa, a city councilwoman who helped put the show together. First, second and third place were awarded in the six categories, she added.
First- second- and third-place awards also were given to those who took part in the bicycle parade. Kids in three age brackets brought wagons, bicycles, tricycles and other vehicles they decorated, which gave Broadway a colorful, festive and more traditional look.
"It's old-fashioned Fourth of July entertainment," Popa said. She said the event was funded by participating organizations and not with tax dollars.