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McLean Canines Get Festive

Residents and their dogs gather for the ninth annual McLean Chamber of Commerce ReinDog Parade.

It was a chilly morning, but residents of McLean packed into the parking lot of the Langley Shopping Center early Saturday to participate in the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce ninth annual ReinDog Parade.

Chamber member Ellen Field started the annual event after being inspired by seeing it in West Virginia.

"This is a huge tradition in West Virginia," said Field. "It's a big, big event with thousands of people and many, many dogs."

Although the ReinDog Parade has not yet hit that scale in McLean, Field says it has grown immensely over the last nine years.

"It's gotten so big that we think we ought to make it into a real parade, and we are looking into combining it with the tree lighting and make it a big event for McLean," said Field, who added that one of the purposes of the event is to get local residents out and about, and shopping in downtown McLean.

Dogs of all shapes and sizes gathered in the parking lot, sporting every type of holiday costume imaginable. Field was particularly fond of the group efforts.

"I think the most fun are the whole families that get into it," she said. "The parents, the kids, the dogs are all dressed up and you can tell they spent a lot of time on it."

Anika Crone, 12, brought her dog Proxy for the third year in a row. The tiny papillon was dressed as a Christmas present.

"We were trying to think of something creative to do," said Crone. "The first time we went, she just had a Santa hat, so we've just been getting a little more creative ever since."

Mary Fisher, a former ReinDog Parade chair, said she is always impressed by the variety of costumes at the annual event.

"There were these little dogs dressed up as Christmas lights and the last one had a little plug-in for his tail," said Fisher. "There have been so many great costumes."

Dranesville District Supervisor Joan DuBois was on hand as a judge at Saturday's event.

"This is my third year doing it and it's always really fun," said DuBois.