It is time to dress up the dog and bring him to town. The pooch parade has returned.

It is time to dress up the dog and bring him to town. The pooch parade has returned.

After a six-year hiatus, the popular festival and parade for dogs and their owners will return to High Street this Sunday afternoon.

The event will begin at noon on the north quadrants of the Village Green. High Street will be closed to traffic at 3:30 p.m. for a parade, which will include a blessing of the dogs and will be followed by a costume contest.

Worthington Organized Off-Leash Friends (WOOF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating Worthington's first dog park, has taken over sponsorship of the event, which is now called Fido Fest.

The event was held last year at Worthington Square as a project of Leadership Worthington. WOOF agreed to take over this year, and decided to try to move it to downtown Worthington after hearing many requests from vendors and from dog owners.

"It was people remembering it from years past and how much fun it was," said WOOF organizer Jennifer Lyon.

The original Worthington pooch parade was organized by Bob Haas, then owner of Scottie MacBean. It began in the late 1990s, and for many years drew hundreds of people to downtown Worthington.

It was canceled six or seven years ago after some downtown merchants complained that it interrupted business on what would have been a busy Saturday afternoon.

The new parade will be on Sunday, and will be north of Granville Road, a block from downtown.

Lyon said that when she approached the city with a request to bring back the event, she was met with enthusiasm and a willingness to help.

This year's activities include approximately 50 vendor booths showcasing dog merchandise and services; a demo ring with agility and K9 search and rescue demonstrations; food vendors; and pet rescue and adoption groups.

People are encouraged to dress their pets to compete in the costume contest, which will be held following the parade.

New contests include bobbing for wieners, best trick, and Simon says.

Father Phillip College from St. John's Episcopal Church will bless the dogs just in time for them to line up for the parade, which will starts at northeast Village Drive, proceed south to Granville Road, and north to the Griswold Center.

All socialized dogs are welcome to the free event.

Plans to develop the dog park at Godown Park are proceeding, Lyon said.

The cities of Worthington and Columbus will be partners in the park. Godown Park is owned by Worthington but is located in Columbus, just west of the railroad tracks on Godown Road.

WOOF will pay for the park, and plans several more fundraisers in the next several months.