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Pet Day and Costume Contest at Deno’s Wonder Wheel

Costumed pets compete for prizes

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Stars and stripes: Little patriotic Paquito came in second in the third-annual pet costume contest on the Boardwalk.
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Little Daisy: Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park’s third-annual Pet Day featured a pet costume contest with a record 25 participants.
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Pink power: Gabriella strutted her stuff at the event.
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Bows not bones: Melody was in it to win it.
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Pets of all species: Cookie Dough the guinea pig took third place.

It was all about the animals at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park’s third-annual Pet Day on June 15.

The day featured a pet costume contest on the Boardwalk, followed by a procession of the pets and their owners through the park. Pets were also invited to ride the Wonder Wheel for free with their owners.

This year’s costume contest had 25 participants, a record number, featuring everything from dogs to the event’s first bearded lizard, and was emceed by World Famous BOB, a burlesque performer who hosts events worldwide. It was judged by pet owners Shelly “The Singing Siren” Watson; Mr. Gorgeous, also a burlesque performer; and Serpentini, a snake charmer — all of whom have performed at Coney Island — and Deno’s co-owner Diane Vourderis. The judges looked for both creativity and stage presence.

“It was very successful,” said Deno’s event coordinator Jen Gapay. “We had more entries than ever. We had to turn people down.”

Baby, an apricot poodle from Marine Park, won first place. He was dressed as a Martian and sat in a flying saucer made of styrofoam with a sign that read “Earthlings: We Martians come in peace.” He won second place in 2011, but took a brief hiatus last year.

“He loves to ham it up,” said his owner, Jamie Tropia.

Paquito, a toy breed chihuahua from Queens who got first place in last year’s contest, won second this year for his Uncle Sam get-up. Cookie Dough, a guinea pig, took third.

First prize was a season pass to Deno’s and a $150 Petco gift certificate, and second and third prizes were day passes to the park and $75 and $25 Petco gift certificates, respectively.

Owners were asked to bring two cans of cat or dog food as an entry fee, which will be donated to Sean Casey Animal Rescue, an animal shelter in Windsor Terrace.

Updated 5:22 pm, July 9, 2018
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