On Sunday, October 25, the newly created Hyde Park Bark Alliance held a Halloween costume parade for dogs in Harold Washington Park. Dogs of all sorts and sizes showed up dressed as every character imaginable. There were policemen and construction worker bichons and witches-in-training chihuahuas. The parade may officially have been the cutest thing Hyde Park has ever seen.
The Hyde Park Bark Alliance was formed to support building a dog park in Hyde Park. At a public meeting on October 20, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and University of Chicago representatives came out against the idea. (According to the Alliance, their opponents’ reasons were mostly financial.) The Alliance wasn’t willing to stop there, though; it’s now actively fundraising in order to collect the $150,000 needed to build the dog park. Fees collected at Sunday’s event for entering a dog in the parade line-up went towards the total, as did proceeds from a raffle for prizes from Leona’s Restaurant, Hyde Park Produce, Park 52, and a Hyde Park beauty salon. They also had a petition for people to sign in favor of building the dog park, and many of the attendees had a lot to say about the Preckwinkle’s opposition to it. Two community members who are part of the Alliance said they suggested building the dog park where the pond now stands in Harold Washington Park. The pond was intended for the enjoyment of the community, but it has been locked off and inaccessible in recent months. The Alliance members emphasized Preckwinkle’s negative reception to their ideas.
But the afternoon couldn’t be all business on a beautiful sunny day full of dogs in costumes. Dog owners had a chance to get to know one another and admire each other’s pups. In the end, a little dog dressed as Peter Pan, in a green outfit with a pointed hat that fell off over and over again, won the best-dressed prize for the day.