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Latrobe's July 4th bash to dress its dogs

The 41st annual Latrobe 4th of July Celebration on Tuesday will be the site of a beauty pageant and competitive games contest for dogs.

All dogs except organizer Darlene Schmucker's three Yorkshire terriers -- Alli, Dalaney and Dexter.

"I told them they'd win flat-out, and we just can't have that," said a chuckling Schmucker of Youngstown.

The event, "First Doggie 4th of July Pageant & Doggie Games," will be held at 6 p.m. at Legion Keener Park in the city. Registration for contestants runs from 5 to 6 p.m. tomorrow near the park's band shell.

The pageant portion calls for dogs to be decked out in costumes for review by a three-judge panel.

Categories are sports themes; food, candy and fruit; patriotic themes; funniest; furry tales -- or storybook characters and/or animal costumes; and the dog that looks most like its owner.

Games will follow, including doggie limbo, musical dog-sit, best howl and best tail-wag, Schmucker said.

"We thought this would be a good event for the park," she said, adding that the city will lift its ban of pets there for the event only.

The holiday celebration began June 20 and resumes daily from tomorrow through Independence Day.

It will feature several new food vendors, including Maryland-based Seafood Unlimited with lobster and crab cakes; Royal Pizza; Florida-based South Beach Grille, featuring Greek and Italian cuisine; and Four Seasons with barbecued grilled chicken.

The July 3 parade at 10:30 a.m., themed "What Does The Red, White & Blue Mean To You?," will be headed by a new chairman, Tony Arbore.

Ms. Pennsylvania, Greensburg's Gina Cerilli, and the city's 2010 Miss 4th of July Pageant winner, Samantha Brant, 18, will be on hand.

The procession will include "The Living Flag," an immense star-spangled banner to be carried by 64 volunteers who will be followed by members of the Shanksville volunteer fire department.

Parade participants are asked to line up by 9 a.m., as Depot Street will be temporarily converted for two-way passage and Ligonier Street will be closed from Cedar to James streets, both beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Fireworks provided by Keystone Fireworks Co. will start at 9:30 p.m. Sunday near Legion Keener Park.

"It's great community support. I can't tell you how overwhelmed I am by that," said Carol Greenawalt, the celebration's coordinator since 1990.

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