There’s an adage about the best gifts being the small ones. In DeLand, the best gifts are so huge they can’t be wrapped! Every year, for the past 23 years, the women’s carnival club, the Krewe of Amalee Inc., has presented a themed, fun-filled family day of parading costumed canines, decorated floats, and marching bands. It’s the big gift the Krewe of Amalee gives to our small-town community.

This year's theme was "Dogs Will Rock You," and, of course, everyone was decked out in their rockin best. 

Before the parade kicked off, there was a dog costume contest, whose winners have the coveted front spot in the parade. 

Spun into this hometown atmosphere are the royalty floats. Krewes traditionally crown a queen, a king, dukes, lieutenants and maids who have donated money for this honor or have done exceptional service for the Krewe.

The women royalty, dressed in themed gowns complete with ornate back pieces, wave to the crowd as they ride down the Boulevard. The last float is always the King and Queen. Corny? You bet!

Kids love the Mardi Gras beads that the people on the floats throw out. After the parade, thousands of kids, wearing multiple strands of beads, check out the vendors and food trucks. Music, hunger-inducing smells, cool animal accessories and community mingling are plentiful throughout the day.

Sound corny? Not to the thousands of dog-loving DeLandites who line the streets to enjoy our hometown small-community atmosphere of good old-fashioned fun. All brought to them by the hundreds of volunteer hours of the talented Krewe of Amalee.

This year, Cheryl Cook, Senior Vice President, Global Partner, Embedded & Edge Solutions Marketing at Dell Technologies, was the Grand Marshal of the Dog Parade.

—Portions from the Krewe of Amalie's official program of the event