Who lets the dogs out?

Julie Chapman, founder of ALX Dog Walk. (Photo John David Coppola)

Alexandria, VA – After seven months of planning, the ALX dog walk takes place on Saturday April 2 in the old town. Founded by Julie Chapman, this new walk is sure to become an annual tradition in Alexandria.

“The vision from day one was for this to become a coveted annual tradition for Alexandria that draws people from all over the DMV to come to our city, attend a fun event, and enjoy our city,” says Chapman.

Starting at Oronoco Bay Park, more than 500 dogs and their owners will walk along the waterfront to Robinson Landing Pier, take a break from a jury, then return to Oronoco Bay Park. ‘Oronoco.

The judging panel will choose the winners in the following categories: Funniest Personality, Biggest Ears, Fluffiest Tail, Best Groomed, and Best Recycled Costume. Del Ray’s Dog Store will award a $100 gift card to each winner. During check-in, which begins at 7:00 a.m., guests will be entered into a raffle. Walkers will also receive a goody bag, t-shirt and breakfast refreshments upon check-in.

Once registered and stocked up, a photo op at 8:00 a.m. kicks off the walk at 8:15 a.m. Winners of the raffle and costume contest will be announced around 9 a.m. Attendees can listen to music and enjoy delicious light refreshments throughout the event, like the vegan dogs at the Haute Dogs and Fries food truck. Everyone is asked to bring their own water bottle, as this is a plastic-free event.

Do not worry; puppies are not left out! The Chippin pet brand will also provide healthy, long-lasting dog treats throughout the morning.

These young dog walkers marched with the Zebra contingent in George Washington’s birthday parade in February. (Photo: John David Coppola)

The absence of plastic and sustainability are two key points of the event of the day. Chapman says, “A big inspiration for starting this event was that my passion for the environment equaled my passion for dogs. Both live up to my passion for helping the city. All of these factors will come together on this day. »

In her twenties, Julie lived in the heart of the old town. But she grew up in Potomac, Maryland, and moved back there to start a family. Now embarking on her chapter on empty nests, she and her husband returned to Alexandria, along with their two white gold retrievers, Indy (after Indiana Jones) and Kirby.

“We’ve always been a golden retriever family,” she says. “I love dogs and my kids love them. They have always been part of the family and they add such a special dimension to family life.

Chapman wants to make sure his dogs live the best life possible, especially in a clean and beautified city. “Dogs and the environment go hand in hand,” she says. This connection between his pets and the environment formed Chapman’s three main missions of the ALX Dog Walk: to beautify the city; To protect the environment; to educate citizens through the DMV on the importance of both.

“We always need another voice,” Chapman says of delivering his message. “I think the voice of ALX Dog Walk is special because the dogs are involved in it, which sets a warm and light tone. We want to keep it simple, we want to spread hope. Start small in your home, in your living space, in your community, and then, believe it or not, you will contribute.

Thirteen generous sponsors have helped make the ALX Dog Walk possible. Chapman, who previously opened two other organizations promoting public causes, understands the value of public-private partnership. “We are best when we come together in the name of a social cause, and we have a fantastic group of people who have come together for that,” she says.

Chapman started planning for this event during the pandemic, so everyone had to come together like they did. She filed for 501(c)(3) status in August 2021 and immediately began her outreach efforts. In addition to sponsors, Chapman has enlisted the help of many city officials, small business owners, and local individuals.

“I give a lot of credit to Ellen Eggerton, the City’s Sustainability Coordinator and responsible for Earth Day celebrations in Alexandria,” says Julie. “She recognized the value of an event like this, especially in the context of her Earth Day program.

“It takes visionaries like her to help set things in motion. Chuck Bell, Mayor Wilson and Monte Durham were among others who joined early on. Each partner made me more confident and more emboldened to move forward.

In addition to sponsorship funds, walkers will have the option at check-in to make an additional donation of $25, which will be used to plant 20 trees to increase the canopy of Alexandria.

After the event, 100% of the funds raised will be used to achieve the main points of the mission, in particular the renovation of the historic park of King Street Garden, the planting of these 20 trees in a local hot spot requiring more than greenery, eliminating litter and debris pollution, and improving the event next year.

“Without a doubt, we are learning a lot this year,” says Chapman, “but in the years to come, we hope to extend the lessons learned. We want to grow and prosper in many ways. We are delighted with this.

Zebra’s Grace Arnold appeared in pink tennis shoes. (Photo John David Coppola)

With the ALX Dog Walk showcasing sustainability best practices and being plastic-free, it will be a great start to Earth Day celebrations in Alexandria this April. It’s sure to deliver on those three main mission points and be a lot of fun.

For more information on the 2022 ALX Dog Walk or to register, visit www.alxdogwalk.com. Want to sponsor next year’s walk? Contact Julie Chapman at juliechapman@alxdogwalk.com or (703) 717-3672.

ALX Dog Walk Partners

Honorary Master of Ceremonies:

Chuck Bell, NBC Storm Team 4 meteorologist

Honorary Co-Chairs:

Mayor Justin Wilson

Monte Durham, Salon Monte, host of “Say Yes to the Atlanta Dress”

FOUNDING Sponsors:


City of Alexandria

NBC4 Washington

Wexler LLC

PACK Sponsors:

Carahsoft Technology Corp.

Morgan Stanley


Realtor Robyn Porter

Zebra Press


Chippin Pet Nutrition

The dog store

Haute Dogs and Fries

Theoharis Management

To learn more about how to sponsor the ALX Dog Walk this year and in the future, go to ALXdogwalk.com.

We are a plastic free/recycled plastic event.

For us, that means doing our best to use only plastic-free/recycled plastic items on walk day. More specifically, we are:

· Use canvas banners, not vinyl (a highly toxic plastic).

· Re-use of old election signs for marching route signage – we stick paper signs on top of the old plastic sign. We will also use some metal panels.

· Ask all partners to refrain from distributing plastic items at the event.

· Ask all participants to bring their own water/drink bottle instead of providing a plastic bottle which is quickly thrown away.

· Use Goodie Bags made of canvas and burlap, and no plastic treats inside the Goodie Bags.

· Offer long-lasting raffle prizes you’ll LOVE!

· Distribute sustainable dog treats.

· Borrow storage containers, tables, chairs and as many other supplies as possible.

We’re not completely plastic-free, but we do our best.

A Word in Alexandria by Julie Chapman

The Dog Walk feels like my personal love letter to the city of Alexandria. It combines all the things I love most about our city. This

Brings the community together

Famous Dogs

Lifts businesses and non-profit organizations

Help Alexandria beautify and protect the environment

Quick facts and resources on plastic pollution

– 8 million tons each year in the oceans

– 300 million tons produced each year

– 9% of all plastics are recycled

– Every piece of plastic ever made still exists on this planet

– We have become a throwaway culture – everyone is responsible

– Laundry detergent: 700 million cans thrown away each year

– Toothbrushes: 1 billion thrown away in the United States each year

More resources

Online retailers: look for eco-friendly, plastic-free products

Recommended book: life without plastic: by Chantal Lamondon and Jay Sinha

Website: Consult OceanCleanUp.com

Educational videos:

Great Pacific Garbage Patch, : 02 minutes www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EyaTqezSzs

Documentary film, A Plastic Wave, :24 minutes www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-dpv2xbFyk

A PBS NewsHour documentary, The Plastic Problem, : 54 minutes www.pbs.org/video/the-plastic-problem-7kdvzo/

Dog-friendly restaurants

Lost Dogs Cafe


The shelter

by Joe Theismann


Food and grain of virtue

Lena’s Wood Fired Pizza and Tap

by Micha

Mai Thai

Vaso’s kitchen

Buzz Bakery & Cafe

Blackside hitch

The dairy godmother

Cafe Pub St. Elmo

Haute Dogs & Fries

Foxfire grill

Taqueria Poblano

Cosmopolitan grill


South side 815

Jackson 20

Two nineteen restaurant

Pork Barrel BBQ

The warehouse

Sweet Fire Donna’s

Rockland BBQ and Grill Company

Fontaine Café & Creperie

Did we miss any? Send your favorites to grace@thezebrapress.com

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