Dress up the dog, pack up the kids and head to the Fido Fest this Saturday.

Dress up the dog, pack up the kids and head to the Fido Fest this Saturday.

The event, meant to be a reasonable facsimile of the now-defunct Pooch Parade, will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the front parking lot of the Worthington Square Mall.

The free family festivities will be packed with family and pet-friendly activities, including the pet parade at 3 p.m.

The parade line-up will begin at 2:45, with Worthington Organized Off-leash Friends (WOOF) leading the way, followed by the smallest dog to the largest, along with their owners.

The parade will march along the front sidewalk of the mall, returning to the festival area on the south side.

Costume contests begin at 1 p.m. and will be judged in several categories, including best dog costume, best dog/owner costume combo, cutest dog costume and scariest dog costume.

There will also be food, dog events, children's activities, vendors, and more.

Local pet rescue organizations will be on site to assist those who are considering adopting a new pet.

The first Fido Fest is sponsored by the Leadership Worthington Class of 2009 and was done as a class project.

Class members remembered the popularity of the Pooch Parade, which used to be held each April in downtown Worthington. It was cancelled several years ago after some downtown merchants refused to cooperate.

By moving the event to the mall, there is no need to close down High Street and it should be a good location for everyone, said Becky Henman of the 2009 Leadership Worthington class.

"Each graduating class is given a challenge to create an event that will benefit our community," she said. "Our goal is to create a sustainable event that benefits both local area businesses and animal welfare organizations."

The event will benefit WOOF, a grassroots campaign to create and maintain a dog park in Worthington.