Friendly commands: walk, run, sit

Carol EvansOur Town Outdoors

Local dogs will have their day on Saturday when the 13th annual Mardi Growl takes over downtown Knoxville.

Dogs and their humans, many (both pooches and people) in costume, will parade through the streets from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so if you’re allergic to canine cuteness, beware.

Also, be aware of street closures. Between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., Market Street will be closed between Church and Union avenues, and Clinch and Union avenues will be closed between Walnut and Gay streets.

Mardi Growl raises funds and awareness for the lifesaving efforts of Young-Williams Animal Center and support for Knoxville’s pet-friendly community. Officials expect about 15,000 participants.

There are several opportunities to walk, run or even sit for a good cause coming up.

Helping Hands Walk Without Limits at 10 a.m. tomorrow (3/7) at Concord Park will raise awareness for autism and the need for family support systems.

On Saturday, March 14, at 10 a.m., there’s the Lucky Kidney Run for the East Tennessee Kidney Foundation, a 6k starting at Market Square and heading out through the 4th and Gill neighborhood; and at 2 p.m. there’s the Barley’s St. Patrick’s Day 5k starting in the Old City and supporting Emily’s Power for a Cure, which raises funds and awareness for neuroblastoma research.

Also on Saturday, March 14, you can sit back in wonder watching the Banff Mountain Film Festival at 7 p.m. at the Bijou Theatre. The tour features some of the most inspiring action, environmental and adventure films from the festival, and a portion of the proceeds goes to support the Legacy Parks Foundation.

With spring on the way, there are many parks needing your help with weed wrangling. Also, you can get acquainted with trails and areas through guided hikes around East Tennessee.

If you just want to get out and play – nothing wrong with that – the big thing is bouldering. You can learn the fundamentals and safety considerations at Boulder with a Ranger at noon Saturday, March 14, at the Obed Wild & Scenic River.

Get details on these opportunities and much more in our Outdoor Knoxville calendar.

Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation, a nonprofit devoted to ensuring that our community enjoys exceptional recreational opportunities, natural beauty and open spaces, and that those assets exist for generations to come.

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