Make America great dane again: Brooklyn dog parade elects leader

The presidential contest was referenced in Fort Greene park on Saturday but it didnt dominate the event, as owners and canines dressed to impress the judges

In an election year punctuated by allegations of sexual assault, demands that political opponents be jailed and the mocking of the disabled, there appears to be little greater catharsis for New Yorkers than dressing up dogs as llamas or Cyndi Lauper in the name of good-natured competition.

On Saturday, the 18th annual Great Pupkin event in Brooklyn followed the popular Halloween dog parade at Tompkins Square Park just a week prior. Dog costumes were not confined to the spooky and provided an appropriate level of surrealism to what has been a rather ludicrous year.

The Brooklyn event attracted several thousand dog enthusiasts but, perhaps surprisingly, there werent many Donald Trumps. The election was ever present, though: one dog was presented onstage in a basket of puppies, under the title a basket of adorables.

Another mutt was provided a poncho, the name bad hombre and a sign that read I can dig under the wall. The nods werent solely to American politics one woman opted to dress as Elizabeth II, drape a union jack over her dog and hold a sign that said Barxit.

There were nods to titans of politics and entertainment, with a George Washington dog accompanied by its tricorn-hat-wearing owner, and an impressive Prince curly wig and purple outfit sported by a French bulldog.

We were thinking of going with David Bowie but Prince just seemed a bit more iconic, said the dogs owner, Sarah.

As each of the 135 competing dogs was introduced to a raucous crowd the field was trimmed from last years 165 it was clear this was a very modern Brooklyn affair. The recent gentrification of the area, Fort Greene, is obvious but was rammed home by the number of dogs dressed as pumpkin spiced lattes. Another dog was dressed as a lobster, its owners chefs, to suit the theme ocean to table.

One family decided to go all in on Werner Herzog, or Werner Herzdog, providing a cardboard backdrop of the Andes and huge cue cards with quotations from the German directors work. The children appeared to be as enthusiastic about Herzog, or maybe just Herzdog, as their parents.

To win the top prize of a bag of dog treats, a special effort is required. The defending champion, dressed as a working piano last year, was a strong favorite after arriving as a chainsaw, complete with motor sounds and a handler dressed as a lumberjack.

A sense of theater is also a crowd favorite: one group made a long silver cardboard tunnel, covered it in silver and called it the shrink-o-matic, in which a large dog was fed into one end and a smaller one emerged from the other side. An improvised milk van was embellished by a Pomeranian which posed with milk bottles on its back.

But the clear winners were a couple who dressed their nine-year-old Yorkshire terrier Chester as a llama. Chester was placed upon the torso of a llama on wheels, acting as its neck and head, while his owners supported the theme by wearing a poncho and an elongated llama head and white-painted face, respectively. The effort was dubbed Doggy Llama.

Carrie was traveling in Peru and thought Chester had a llamas face, said Alex, the poncho wearer. Chester whines if hes dressed up, so we thought wed do this. Plus, its more hilarious this way.

It took us about a week to put it together. Its a great community event. We had a Star Wars theme last year but it didnt go as well. We will certainly have to figure out what to do next year now.

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