Last week’s ‘Throwback’: Buddy Pet Parade

News Journal

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Jennifer Hollon, who let us know that last week’s photo was of the Varelmann’s Buddy Club Pet Parade on July 27, 1932:

“Varelmann’s Men’s Store was located on the north side of Main Street across from the Murphy Theatre. It catered to the men of the community carrying the best in fine suits, hats, neckwear, and shirts, and also catered to the youth of the community offering knickers, trousers, shirts, and shoes for the well-dressed boys. They took great pleasure in providing a ‘Buddy Club’ for young boys who could participate in the many community projects they sponsored and were given free tickets to the Murphy Theatre on their birthdays.

“Buddy Club members were encouraged to enter a big contest that Varelmann’s sponsored for a 2-cent participation fee. It was to be a pet parade that would march from their store on Main Street to the fairgrounds and would be led by the Wilmington College Band. This was the big kickoff to the county fair as a feature of the opening day of the races and expositions.

“On July 27, 1932, 250 boys gathered with their pets that included dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, ponies, a draft horse, fleas, a raccoon and goats! It seemed to include every kind of pet one could imagine and was said to be the most colorful juvenile event the city had ever witnessed. The parade covered over three city blocks. They assembled at noon and marched up north South Street to Don’s Soda Grill where they each received popsicles, then continued up Main Street to the Fairgrounds and past the judges stand. Judges included Carl Shanks, Superintendent of County Schools, Dr. Dalton Peelle, and Kroger Babb.

“All participants were given free admission to the Wilmington races and the exposition, as well as a card entitling his family to an additional 10% reduction below their store’s semi-annual clearance sale prices.

First-place winner was Arthur Nichols, Jr.; second-place, George Bond; and third-place, Davy Gallimore Jr.”

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