Written by Beth Rasin
Holly Hoopes Hudimac may have grown up in a family that owned black Labradors, but once she discovered corgis in 1995, she was hooked on the breed. Nearly 30 years later, she serves as the point of contact for the Corgi Corps, a group of devoted enthusiasts who gather each year to march in the Middleburg Christmas Parade.
“Corgi owners are a special breed,” she shares. Although her corgi Panda passed away this fall, Hudimac, who lives in Round Hill, will be returning to this year’s parade with her other corgi, Abby.
She sends emails to nearly 300 breed enthusiasts each year to remind them of the parade, and she said the dogs love attending. “They like looking at the other corgis, figuring it all out. It’s kind of amusing,” she says.
But the owners may enjoy it even more, making lifelong friends who return each year. “I’ve gotten to be Facebook friends with a bunch of owners and like following their lives,” Hudimac says. “When Panda passed away in October, I got very sweet condolences from other owners who I’d gotten to know through the parade.”
Some owners go all out on holiday costumes for their dogs, from Santa outfits to sweaters, dressed as elves, wearing antlers, or packaged as gifts. Last year Hudimac bought her first doggie Christmas vest, but she says she usually just decorates with signs showing the dogs’ names and a Corgi Corps banner she made. “I really do admire the people who go all out.”
Despite the large number of corgis in attendance, no one could recall any altercations amongst the canines. “Most all corgis are well socialized and tend to get along,” Hudimac notes.
Berk Lee, owner of The Tack Box in Middleburg, has been taking her corgis each year for as long as she can remember and has also gotten to know fellow dog lovers through her participation.
Lee, who will be parading this year with Spencer, her 11-year-old red and white corgi, fosters and adopts dogs through East Coast Corgi Rescue. She parades with their banner and invites them to set up outside her store to meet potential adopters.
“I usually put some kind of thing around their neck, glitter or some little Christmas thing or bandana,” she explains. “They look at me like I’m crazy, and they’re right.”
Lee has adopted four corgis, who have been older, and fostered six. “I enjoy seeing everybody else’s corgis,” she says. “It’s fun to get them out and talk to people about where their corgis originated from.”
Elaine Burden has owned eight corgis over the 48 years she and her husband have lived on a farm just outside town. Her dogs, all named on a theme (Lily, Rosie, Jasmine, Ivy Geranium, Flora, Magnolia, Briar, and Zinnia) were always interested in seeing other dogs at the parade and enjoyed being admired. “They were like, ‘Look how cute they are over there, and they think we’re cute,’ and all the people on the street would ooh and ahh, and I’d let them walk over on a leash and be petted and adored,” she remembers. “Everyone would tell them how cute and adorable they are.”
Lee and Burden said so many corgis can be found in the Middleburg area because they’re such good farm dogs, bred for herding. Lee estimated that the Corgi Corps has quadrupled in size since it began more than 40 years ago. “It’s fun, and it gets all the corgi enthusiasts in town together,” she shares. “They’re just so cute. Everybody loves corgis, especially if it’s not their own; they can be so naughty.”
But corgi owners know their dogs are nice at least as often as they’re naughty. “My dogs get Christmas treats and stockings,” Hudimac admits. “I bet most of the people in the parade have stockings for their dogs.”
For the corgi lovers who flock to the parade from all over the mid-Atlantic, the dogs are part of the family and holiday traditions. Burden said each Thanksgiving they take a long walk with the dogs while the turkey is cooking.
“They’re a really fun breed; they love people and other dogs,” Burden says. “They’re obedient — well almost,” she adds with a laugh, “and they’re loyal and love to go for walks. They’re great country dogs.”
“I just think it’s really wonderful there are so many devoted owners of one particular breed,” Hudimac shares. “It’s a fun afternoon — pure joy, no stress. Even with the parade so huge now and so many spectators, it’s just a nice way for me to meet other corgi owners.” ML
Featured photo by Nancy Kleck.
Published in the December 2023 issue of Middleburg Life.