Pets set to take center stage in Sewickley

| Wednesday, May 15, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

A pet parade, a 5K race, guest celebrities, costumes, food and a chance to adopt a pet all will be featured at the fourth annual Sewickley Unleashed Saturday to raise money for the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society.

A collaboration between Village Green Partners and the humane society, the event raised $7,000 last year. Five dogs and three kittens were adopted as a result of the event, and in previous years, the event has drawn thousands of people to Sewickley.

“The event gets bigger each year, and, with that, we hope to bring more foot traffic to the businesses and more awareness to the plight of homeless animals,” said Alex DeLoia, social media strategist for Village Green Partners.

Sewickley Unleashed will return to Broad Street from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. this year.

The pet parade will begin at noon with registration and lineup at the PNC parking lot on Blackburn Road.

The route follows Beaver Street through the Village and circles back to end at Broad Street, where food and vendor booths will be open at 10 a.m. Mayor Brian Jeffe and his dog, Otis, Sewickley police Officer Frank Lesniak and K-9 officer, Tripp, will lead the parade. In addition, the hounds from Sewickley Hunt Club will lead the pack.

Pets and their people are encouraged to dress up in costumes, come in groups and compete for Best in Parade, Best Costume, Best Dog Family, Best Float, Best Non-Canine, Best Youth Participant, Best Teen Participant and Most Creative Group.

Judges will be: Sally Wiggin, WTAE-TV anchor; Rick LeBeau, American Kennel Club judge and author of “Count Noble: The Greatest Dog That Ever Lived”; and Pat Lamantia, Nestle Purina PetCare professional engagement team area manager.

New this year is the people-only 5K walk/run and the Sewickley Showcase.

The 3.1 mile course, to begin at 8:30 a.m., will start and finish at Sewickley Municipal Building, 601 Thorn St., weave through the Sewickley neighborhood and loop through the Village.

Medals will be awarded to the top finishing male and female runner in various age groups.

The idea for Sewickley Unleashed came about in 2009 when Cora DeLoia, owner of Spoiled Chics the Boutique, Doug Florey of Laughlin Children's Center and Brenda Fisk of Fun Buy the Pound were chatting about their passion for animals.

“They came up with this idea to promote the Village and create a fun event for Sewickley and its dog-loving residents, while bringing attention to homeless animals at the same time,” DeLoia said.

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or

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