A cavalcade of critter costumes

Superman trotted around shyly underneath his red cape.

Behind him strode Superwoman in her red, white and blue tutu. A pink leash rose up from her neck to a child’s hand.

Across the circle was the Grim Reaper with his tinfoil scythe, burning red eyes and bashful Collie draped in a bloody shawl.

A bumble bee the size of a Bulldog trotted behind a pink unicorn.

The Scooby-Doo theme song stopped.

The contestants — dogs and people — stopped.

It was the treat walk in this year’s Strut Your Mutt hosted in a corner room at the Nikiski Community Recreation Center on Friday night. The small room buzzed with about 70 canines and people. Children chattering. Claws scratching.

“Number 11,” yelled Brittney Tuttle, of Nikiski.

“Oh, that’s me,” said a woman draped in a dress made of green and brown fabric.

She walked up and collected her treat. In her arm were two dogs no larger than kittens. One was dressed as a skunk; the other wore a witch hat. A gigantic butterfly on a leash at her feet.

“It’s interesting for sure,” Tuttle said.

“Who Let the Dogs Out” started playing, and all the pre-Halloween creations began walking around the circle.

Last year a pack of five dachshunds came dressed as a range of Crayola crayons, said Wesley Smith, who was manning the boom box.

After about a half hour, the treat walk ended and the runway show started.

“Time for the other ... part,” Smith said.

The room shifted.

Several rows of chairs lined the runway, and a panel of judges sat at the end.

There were four categories: best of show, people pet combinations, most creative and people’s choice.

“I love it,” Sarah Holliday said, after she strut her two Great Danes — one a massive alligator, the other a skeleton. “It’s absolutely amazing.”

The event started when the Recreation Center Supervisor Tammy Berdah, 31, started talking to her co-workers about ways to draw the community to the Recreation Center.

“It just really came together the first year,” the Nikiski resident said. “People loved it and we just kept doing it.”

She said they used to host the event in the gym, but it was too large. However the event is growing; they received 10 more entries than last year, she said.

From the audience Janell Grenier, 41, said: “Everybody, hands in the air. It’s a stick up.”

“It’s a stick up,” the Nikiski resident’s six year old daughter Maggie Grenier said, echoing her mom.

She was dressed in a red dress and wielded a Tommy gun. Her eight-year-old brother Simon Grenier carried a Tommy gun, too, and he was wearing a pen stripe, depression-era gangster suit and a black top hat.

Their dog, Leo, was wearing a red-collared shirt with black stripes and a top hat was strapped to his head.

“We’ve been saying he’s Leo Cabone,” Janell Grenier said.

After the gangsters strut the stage, the Tin Man rose from the audience. She had her heart on a leash.

Angela Lorenzo had painted herself sliver. She had spray painted a long sleeve shirt and burlap sack that she had punched the end out of. She wore grey leggings and a silver oil funnel on her head.

“And my favorite part are the boots,” the Nikiski resident said.

They are Spice Girl-style high heels she had also painted silver.

She and her husband sat the last two years on the judges panel, she said, but they won the first three years.

“One year we were a lobster and a lobster fisherman,” she said, the bottom of her glasses smearing her silver face paint. "The next year we were a corrections officer and a prisoner. The following year, (my dog) was a Saint Bernard and I was a skier with a broken leg.”

Her dog is a small, black Miniature Pinscher.

At the end of the night, the Grenier Mafioso family won best of show. Lorenzo won people pet combination. Ten-year-old Tyle Owens, of Nikiski, and his dog Rusty won most creative, and Santa’s Paws — three little elves and a woman dressed as Santa — won people’s choice.

 

Dan Schwartz can be reached at daniel.schwartz@peninsulaclarion.com

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