July 4: Visionary Pets on Parade

If you’re anything like me, July 4 is a day full of barbecue, fireworks, and feeling less and less convinced that America was ever great. At least, it’s hard to look at a bajillion stars and stripes and not think of the blood, hatred, and institutional neglect that linger not far behind those patriotic gestures. But you know who committed all those crimes to humanity, who continue to do so from the White House? People. You know who’s not people? Dogs and cats. So start this Independence Day by surrounding yourself in something that actually makes this country and the rest of the world great—or at least somewhat bearable—at the American Visionary Art Museum’s annual patriotic pet parade and costume contest. You need a furry or scaly or feathery friend to participate in the parade (which, by the way, is just around the building; you have to be considerate of the corgis and other stubby-legged guys), but you don’t need one to watch or just touch a lot of dogs, many of which are wearing vests or top hats or sequins. I’ve become a regular at these things, and for me, it’s always the best part of the day. 9:30 a.m. pet registration, parade at 10 a.m., American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, avam.org, free. (Maura Callahan)

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