Apalachicola Mardi Gras Queen June Bug surveys her subjects in the parade around her. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
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Canines ride the range at Barkus Parade

The little doggies git along Saturday afternoon in downtown Apalachicola, as thousands of people and hundreds of dogs stampeded to the Apalachicola Mardi Gras Barkus Parade.

An annual event put on for 13 years by the Mystic Krewe of Salty Barkers, the parade picks a theme each year, which in 2024 was the Old West, so many a pooch and lots of their people dressed in cowboy attire.

The crowd was enormous and the vendor booths were busy, but the main action came in a spectacular parade that wound through downtown, all in the name of raising funds for both the Franklin County Humane Society and Florida Wild Mammal Association.

Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith led the parade as grand marshal, less than a week after he and wife Helen endured the loss of their beloved dog Tucker, in whose memory he dedicated his participation.

A visit to the veterinarian showed he had a tumor on his spleen, which is often routine and treatable. But the vet found tumors all over the dog’s liver, and with a bleak prognosis and Tucker in discomfort, it was determined to let the dog run free on the eternal ranch above the clouds.

“He was an awesome dog, we rescued him about five years ago,” Smith said.

The parade was also led by two rescue dogs, Apalachicola Mardi Gras Queen June Bug, a goofy and affectionate 3-year-old Basset hound surrendered reluctantly by her former owner, and King Noa, a relaxed and gentle 3-year-old with border collie and blue heeler ancestry.

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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