Dressed in cowboys & Indians garb, Leah, Ann and Chuck Dolin wait with their pugs Darla and Biscuit for judging to occur during the Halloween Pug Parade & Party held in Chestertown in October 2011.
Considering the activity last weekend at Dynamite Hill, pug owners apparently adore their canine pets.
Many dozens of pug owners and enthusiasts from all over northeastern U.S. ignored dismal weather forecasts and turned out for the 12th annual Halloween Pug Parade & Party held Sunday Oct. 16 at Dynamite Hill.
Those attending not only participated in various casual contests and dressed their pet pugs up in costumes for a parade, but they spent time socializing, swapping tales and tips about their beloved diminutive dogs.
The event, which drew several hundred people and their pets, included vendors of pug paraphernalia and meetups between breeders and prospective pug owners.
Darla, a black pug owned by the Dolin family of New Jersey, was one of those pugs who was obtained two years ago at the event. The family has attended for four straight years for vacations with their pugs.
Darla was dressed as an Indian, as was her human charge Leah Dolin, 11. Her parents Ann and Chuck Dolin, were dressed as cowboys, as was their second pub, Biscuit. Last year, Darla — garbed as a Spanish Senorita, won a “Prettiest Pug” award. A year earlier, Biscuit won “Most Handsome,” in a surfer dude getup. This year, he was outfitted in chaps, a cowboy hat, and a holster complete with pistols and bullets. Another year, Leah was costumed as Little Bo Peep, and Biscuit was covered with cotton balls to pose as her lost sheep, Ann Dolin said.
“We’re already discussing plans for next year,” she said, noting the Pug Party was well worth the 470-mile round trip from their home in New Jersey.
“We just wouldn’t miss this,” she said, noting that pugs enjoy socializing with their own breed.
Local resident Julie Moffit and daughter Ariel echoed the point. They and their pub Angel were dressed as fortune tellers.
“I absolutely love this event — you get to meet people from all over,” Moffit said. “It’s not often I get to take my dog out to visit with other pugs.”
Nearby was Claudia Minor, 10, along with her Boston Terrier “Coco,” both dressed as Geisha girls in turquoise ceremonial robes. Coco was sporting a traditional black Geisha wig. Claudia and her mother Erin Miner have been attending for four years, Miner said.
“It’s a great event that we look forward to every year,” she said. “The dogs absolutely have fun here.”
Kelli Dougan of Brant Lake watched several pugs prance by. Her pug was dressed as “Pugtastic Pirate,” complete with a sword, buccaneer hat and bag of gold.
“It’s so nice to see community spirit like this,” she said.
Between announcing various fanciful contests to the crowd, event coordinator Pam Morin expressed thanks to the Brant Lake and Chester town employees for their help setting up. She also noted that Eric & Eric construction donated the tents.
Vendors at the Pug Party were conducting a brisk business on Sunday. A long line formed at the Pug Cafe, which was raising money to bankroll North Warren high School Scholarships.
Sean Morin, son of Pam Morin, was grilling up hamburgers and sausage & pepper sandwiches as fast as he could. Nearby, Helena Robbins of Main St. ice Cream Parlor in Chestertown was dishing out her eatery’s popular potato leek soup.
Not far away, Don Russell of Bolton Landing was displaying his watercolor paintings of pugs. He said he uses his two pugs, “Woobie” and “Cow” as models for his works. “Woobie” was adopted several years ago at the Pug Party, he said.
“Pugs are great dogs,” he said. “They have no other purpose in life other than loving their master.”
Setting up pug adoptions and foster placements at Sunday’s event was Green Mountain Pug Rescue of Lyndon, Vt.
Inside a building not far away on Dynamite Hill, Nancy Austin was photographing pugs. Following the event, the event sponsor, the north Warren Chamber of Commerce annually sends out the photos to the pug owners as free keepsakes.
Selling pug accessories beside the building was Kim Olden of Chestertown, who launched the event 12 years ago with a mere 21 pugs attending. Since then, it has blossomed into Chestertown’s premier annual event.
“I never realized it would ever grow this big,” she said Sunday as she gazed over the crowd.