As the city emerges from the pandemic slump for the 4th of July weekend, downtown goes to the dogs

There were smiles, cheers and lots of tails wagging Sunday as 39 patriotic pooches marched down Summer Street past Macy’s to celebrate the nation’s independence and bring people and their pets back downtown.

The first annual Independence Day Dog Parade was just one of many events hosted by the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District and Boston Harborfest throughout the 4th of July weekend, including pageants, ice cream nights and a ukulele band show.

Adrienne Vaughan, 52, and Brian Trabish, 51, came with their 12-year-old daughter, Madeleine, and a 16-month-old white Siberian Huskey named Magnus from West Roxbury.

Although Magnus’ costume of a blue t-shirt, a green Statue of Liberty crown, and a stuffed eagle strapped to his back was something the family “got together last minute,” Vaughan said the judges were impressed, awarding Magnus Best in Show.

“It’s phenomenal,” Vaughan said. “I’m happy to see all the hard work Mayor Wu and his team have put in to bring people back downtown.”

Friends Charlotte Michaux, 36, and Jessica Pereira, 32, moved to Boston from France and Brazil during the pandemic and were eager to experience their first full-fledged 4th of July.

“It’s silly, but it’s nice,” Pereira said as Baily, her golden retriever wearing an Uncle Sam hat, looked around at all the other dogs.

Downtown foot traffic has dropped sharply since the pandemic began, and the Downtown Boston BID aims to use the holiday weekend as an opportunity to draw people into the heart of the city.

“We stepped up events this year knowing full well that we needed destination events to bring people to downtown Boston for things they really can’t get anywhere else,” said George Comeau, Director marketing from Downtown Boston BID.

The BID counted about 108,000 visitors downtown Friday and Saturday’s total was also over 100,000, Comeau said.

“It’s not window dressing; it’s crowded here,” he said on Sunday.

Hana and Keri Pearlson with their poodle mix, Russel, were among the crowd. The festivities were a nice break from depressing news, they said.

“Right now it’s hard to celebrate the country,” said Hana Pearlson, 26. “But we can still celebrate the dogs.”

“We always find a way to come together,” said Keri Pearlson, 64.

Monday’s festivities will begin at 9 a.m. with a parade from the Government Center culminating at the Old State House for a reading of the Declaration of Independence.

At 1 p.m., there will be a reading of Frederick Douglas’ “What, to the slave, is the Fourth of July” speech on the steps of Downtown Crossing, and events on the Esplanade begin at 7 p.m.

Sunday’s clear skies will last through Monday, when temperatures peak at 83 degrees with a light breeze and low humidity, according to the National Weather Service.

Beautiful weekend weather had Katie Shusdock sweating as she led a tour group on the Freedom Trail along Beacon Street near the Statehouse in 17th-century costume on Sunday.

“It’s not as bad as you think,” she said of the three-layer green linen dress she wore.

Shusdock, who teaches high school biology during the school year, said tourists have returned to the city in full force, many here this weekend for the Independence Day festivities.

As for the patriot Shusdock portrays on her tours, “she would be very excited” for Independence Day, Shusdock said.


Alexander Thompson can be contacted at [email protected]

David H. Henry