Brevard Humane Society celebrates local pets in Mardi Gras style

By Brittany Ó Ruacháinn For Hometown News Feb 16, 2024 0

The Brevard Humane Society invites the public to bring their adorable pets for the 18th annual Mardi Gras: Paws in the Park event on Feb. 18.

COCOA — Bark for beads and get ready for some furry festivities for the paw-ty of the year as the Brevard Humane Society brings back its 18th annual “Mardi Gras: Paws in the Park.”

This four-legged carnival extravaganza promises a parade of wagging tails, canine couture, and a howlin’ good time, celebrating the bond between pets and their parade-loving humans. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18, the public can stop by anytime at Riverside Park, 401 Riveredge Blvd., Cocoa. While the main event is free to attend with a costume contest and pet parade, indulgence awaits with tempting treats from food trucks, crafts and interesting items made by vendors, and the thrill of the chase at the lure course—all available for a separate cost. Plus, unleash the mysteries of your pet’s psyche with a visit to the pet psychic, ensuring an unforgettable day of furry fun.

“I just love watching people with their pets enjoying the day, it’s so awesome,” said Theresa Clifton, executive director of the BHS. “We do a couple of cool pet contests that is some stiff competition, especially the King and Queen of the Park, and the look-alike is always interesting how much people look like their pets. There are some very creative people out there!”

Mardi Gras: Paws in the Park is an annual tradition with the BHS, which has been serving the community since 1952. Throughout the years, families, couples, and individuals have come out to Riverside Park for a beautiful day that celebrates their pets. This year, the event is adding a cake walk to the festivities and, also new, the nonprofit will be selling tickets for a car raffle. Only 2,000 tickets will be available and for $25 a ticket, one lucky person will win a 2017 Honda HR-V 4-door hatchback that only has 10,800 miles on it. The ticket drawing will take place on Easter Sunday, and the winner doesn’t need to be present to win. The 2017 Honda was generously donated by an elderly lady who left it to the BHS in her will. The funds raised by the raffle tickets will help the nonprofit toward its goal of constructing a new shelter.

“I’m looking for $650,000 to finish off our build and we’re so close to our $3 million goal,” Clifton said. “We are looking to break ground in January of 2025.”

The pet shelter, which was built in 1962, is sorely in need of reconstruction, according to Clifton. The new shelter will have handicap access and better space to accommodate the animals it takes in. Clifton is hoping the BHS can provide care to even more animals once the shelter is built.

“The community has come together and is really supporting the Humane Society on this re-build. As you can imagine, it’s got a lot of needs.”

For more information about the BHS or its Mardi Gras event, visit