The Annual Tompkins Square Dog Parade Has Been Cancelled & We're In Shock

Dog-lovers everywhere unite because we’ve got some sad news for you. The Annual Tompkins Square Park Dog Parade has been cancelled. What is that, you say? Well, it’s probably the cutest parade to have ever existed. Three words: Dogs in costumes -- must I say anything more? As a self-proclaimed dog enthusiast, my heart hurt a little when I got the news that the 28th Annual Parade will not be happening (Heart. Broken.)

The Parade originally began as a means of raising money for the maintenance of Tompkins Square Dog Run. The park, which in the 1980s attracted drugs and crime, caught the eye of the residents in the area who wanted a safe place to walk their dogs. In 1990, after the renovation of the park, the first dog run in New York was founded; however, it all happened under one condition: “the run must be managed and funded by the community (not the city).” And that’s where the Parade comes in.

The Dog Parade attracts thousands of dogs in costume each year, ranging from nurses to KISS to everything in between. However, it seems that it is the increasing popularity of the event, which may have caused its cancellation. In an interview with The Cut, Garrett Russo, the Parade’s voluntary manager, said that the New York Department of Parks & Recreation already required insurance for the Dog Parade last year. But this year the insurance company “was requiring them to purchase insurance for 20,000 potential attendees [although] [a]n estimated 10,000 people showed up for last year’s event.”

The post on Facebook that announced the cancellation confirms this. “Although the parade has grown over the past 28 years, it has always been the creation of a small group of volunteers from the dog park. The Parks Dept is asking for a large insurance & liability policy in order to hold the event this year — and we simply don’t have the funds or sponsor willing to provide it.”

An article on Gothamist explains that the Parks are not the ones to charge the insurance fee instead the fee is from the insurance company itself that are working with the parade organizers. “[T]he high attendance in recent years meant that Parks had to require a contract, and because of that contract, a certificate of insurance (COI) valued at $1 million was required,” states the article.

A big fan of the yearly event, Therese Moriarty has started a GoFundMe page for the Parade. She writes: “This year, the parade's budget has ballooned. As a result, the organizers have not been able to secure a sponsor and they may be forced to cancel this crucial fundraising event for the Tompkins Square Dog Run.” The page’s goal is to raise $15,000. Whether or not this will make the Parade happen, is still to be determined.

While we wait in anticipation for the fate of the event, we mourn the New York pups’ lost opportunity to show off their adorable costumes. For the time being, we turn our attention to The Great PUPkin in Brooklyn, a Parade also featuring adorably costumed dogs. We can only hope that it doesn’t get canceled as well -- and leave our hearts forever broken.