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Barktober! Dogs of Bay Ridge get into character at annual Canine Costume Contest

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Winning dinner: “Ronzoni Puperoni” showcased his macaroni and meatballs costume with owners Vincent Caputi and Vanessa Brown at the canine costume contest at Narrows Botanical Gardens on Oct. 8, and was cute enough to snag the “crowd favorite” award.
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One if by land, two if by sea: Ridgite Laura Marmo and her 4-year-old pooch Dash took home the “Best in Coordination” award at the canine costume contest on Sunday for their scuba diver costumes.
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That’s 49 in dog years: Ridgite Fred Zorn posed with 7-year-old mutt Rowdy, who took home the “Lifetime Achievement” award on Sunday for entering the contest every year since birth.
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Playboy: Rowdy showed up to the contest this year dressed as “Hugh Woofner,” according to Zorn.
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Pathos of the pooch: Rowdy really got into character as “Hugh Woofner” — even reenacting the late publisher’s Sept. 27 death.

Pooches paraded in their scariest, cutest, and most creative costumes — some of them in coordination with their human companions — at the Canine Costume Contest on Oct. 8 as part of Narrows Botanical Gardens’ Fall Harvest Festival.

The annual event was, as always, a hotly anticipated one for the most camera-ready dogs of the Ridge, including one local’s 7-year-old mutt.

“He loves it. He gets very excited about being there and being the center of attention,” said Fred Zorn of his dog, Rowdy, who took home the “Lifetime Achievement” award for his long commitment to showing up in creative costumes. “The reason that we’ve done it with him every year is that when we go into the park and the festival isn’t on, he parades around the space.”

In past years, Rowdy has dressed up as an Egyptian pharaoh, a chick magnet, Dogzilla, a “watchdog” (you can imagine the pun), and a canine dopplganger of Brooklyn’s beloved former borough president “Barky Barkowitz” — and taking home prizes in the “best homemade” and “most humorous” categories, among others, according to Zorn.

But this year, Zorn had Rowdy don a pair of silk pajamas, a velvet robe, and a captain’s hat to fully inhabit the character of “Hugh Woofner” — a costume that Zorn said he planned well in advance of the original playboy’s Sept. 27 death.

Other pooches took inspiration from the big screen: 6-year-old Ridge Labradoodle Eddie dressed up as Thor from “The Avengers,” with his owners, Vanessa and Roger Jerome, dressing up as the Black Widow and Hulk, respectively, and with his human siblings donning the costumes of Captain America and Iron Man.

The pooch took home “Best in Show,” but not without working for it — Vanessa said that, with some training and prodding, Eddie emulated Thor’s super strength by picking up a toy hammer after the rest of the family pretended they were too weak to do it.

“In the movie, only Thor is able to pick up the magic hammer,” she said. “So he did the trick.”

But he was happy to do it, Jerome said, because “Thor” thrives when he’s in people clothes.

“He loves it — he thinks he’s a human,” she said. “Everyone kept saying they’ve never seen a dog so happy in costume.”

Not all the dogs were as enthusiastic as Eddie. Another local said that even though her 4-year-old Boston Terrier-Chihuahua mix has donned a costume for the past four years, he’s less than enthusiastic about doing so.

“He tolerates it,” said Laura Marmo of her dog, Dash, who donned a black wetsuit with her to snag the “Best in Coordination” award for their matching scuba suits.

But despite her four-legged friend’s hesitation to get into character, Marmo said this year’s iteration of the annual event — which she has been attending since 2009 — was a joyful one.

“It was a happy, fun day that brought the community together,” she said.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 1:34 am, July 10, 2018
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