Soon after they won second prize for ‘Prettiest’ — dressed as masquerade ball partygoers — in the recent Pug Parade competition in Chestertown, Julie Moffitt and her daughter Ariel watch their dog ‘Angel’ pose for posterity. Contestants in the annual event dressed up their pugs as everything from cartoon and storybook characters to a roller-derby referee.
Creative costumes, effusive pug-love and spirited socializing prevailed at 14th annual Pug Party & Parade, held recently at the Town of Chester’s Dynamite Hill Recreation Area.
The event drew 153 pug contestants, accompanied by hundreds of humans.
Carol Barboza, 75, of Bolton Landing smiled repeatedly as she watched a variety of costumed pugs go by Oct. 20.
Her pugs were dressed up as the Three Bears of Goldilocks fame — each wearing a pair of red long underwear, stuffed bear heads attached to their necks. The getup was complete with bear-paw slippers for each. Barboza has been bringing them to the Pug Parade for about six years, she said. A prior year, she dressed them up as scarecrows.
“Believe me, it’s the same as packing up for babies when you take them anywhere,” she said, describing the food, water, costumes, and treats that accompany her troupe.
One family of pugs enjoyed a reunion at the Pug Party & Parade, costumed as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves — well, at least six of them.
Jill Metcalf had her pug “Gwen” dressed up as Snow White in a princess gown, and six of Gwen’s seven pups — who now belong to other Queensbury residents — were garbed as the dwarves. Metcalf’s husband George had his pug “Diego” impersonating Prince Charming.
Stephanie Carota, one of the owners of a toddler pug, said that the pug parade was idea for the canine reunion.
“The dogs are having a great time,” she said watching them cavort, causing their costumes to go awry.
Kathleen and Ted Wilson of Queensbury accompanied another of Gwen’s offspring, “Bentley,” to the pug parade. Bentley was a gift to Wilson’s son Luke, 13, because of his scholastic accomplishments.
“This is awesome because Bentley’s getting together with his parents again,” Luke Wilson said.
The pug-fest was also a family get-together for Kelli McDermott and her daughter Courtney McDermott and Courtney’s boyfriend, Eric Markson of Utica.
They collaborated on constructing an Old McDonald’s Farm float complete with a barn built out of Duplo blocks. Starring in the storybook scene were Courtney’s Boston-Terrier cross “Obie” dressed as a goat, Markson’s Plott hound “Lefty” representing a scarecrow, and Kelli’s pug “Melvin” impersonating a cow.
This was Kelli’s second year at the event, she said.
“We enjoyed it so much, we had to come back.”
Courtney McDermott added her thoughts.
“Pugs are such clowns — they like to show off,” she said. “Getting so many together like this, you can’t help but smile.”
Other families getting into the canine costume caper were members of the Pasco family of Livingston, NY. Vicki Pasco and her daughter Alyssa, 15, jointly created a Batmobile — with a lot of cardboard, black paint and duct tape — for their little black pug “Fenway,” who they dressed up as superhero Robin. Their brown pug “Molly” masqueraded as Batgirl.
“I love Batman, so it was really fun,” explained Alyssa.
“With all the creativity that’s displayed here, it’s awesome,” her mother said. “And everyone here truly has a love of pugs.”
While others were rookies at gussying up their dogs, Carol Ornoski of Queensbury was a veteran at it. She dressed up her pug “McKenna” as Minnie Mouse, complete with big ears, fanciful dress and dainty shoes.
“McKenna loves to get dressed up — she craves the attention,” she said. “I really enjoy this — it’s not a get-together of show dogs, it’s regular pets.
One of the most patient pugs at the party was “Matsui,” whose owner dressed him up as a foil-wrapped baked potato, ready for serving. The pug listened to her owner Margaret Assman of Saratoga Springs crack a joke at his expense, but he didn’t wince.
“Matsui looks like a potato anyway,” Margaret said, noting that her dog’s costume could be used again next year — he could be an opened bag of Jiffy-Pop popcorn.
“I really enjoy this party — some of the costumes can get so ridiculous — I love the silliness of it all.”
Matsui wasn’t the only patient pug.
“Lexi,” a black pug owned by Tina Dell of Albany and her daughter Carly Dell, 10, was dressed up in a grass skirt and bikini top and wheeled around in a small wagon bearing a beach scene complete with a faux palm tree, sand, surfboard, and beach ball.
“This is incredible,” Carly Dell said, gazing at the costumes the dozens of canine contestants were wearing. “There is so much creativity — nearly all the dogs are the same breed, but they look so different.”
Kristie Style, a member of the Lumber Jills roller derby team of Plattsburgh, needed no costume — she wore her competitive gear. But her pug “Zero” wore a black-and-white striped shirt — as did her husband Adam Style —with the identification “Rufferee” on the dog’s back.
The event hosted more than a dozen vendors and displays of community groups.
Joyce Houck and Judy McConnell manned a booth for the North Warren Chamber of Commerce, conducting a raffle, while Dan Freebern and Russell Houck passed out dog treats.
Not far away, Lisa Giknis of the Dog Cabin store in Lake George tended a booth while her husband and son entered their dog in the competition. Her offerings included Harley hats for lap dogs and peanut butter dog treats along with more practical canine supplies.
Julie Moffitt of Bakers Mills and her daughter Ariel, 15 entered with their dog as masquerade ball partygoers. Ariel wore a prom gown, and their pug “Angel” wore a velvet and lace party dress. Julie Moffitt wore a men’s suit-and-tie getup. They won second place in the “Prettiest” division.
“This event is a great way for pugs to meet each other, while we pug owners get together, swap tales and make new friends,” Moffitt said with a smile.
At the conclusion of the competition, event organizer Pam Morin was all smiles as she recorded the winners.
“This was a perfect day for pugs and outdoor fun.” she said.