ANNA MARIA – Last Saturday was a perfect day for walking your dog and some 39 pooches were on parade at The Anna Maria Island Sun’s Halloween Dog Costume Contest.
The dogs were the stars of the show, although some owners also dressed the part. The Sun awarded first, second and third place trophies for each of three categories, "Most Celebrity," "Most Original" and "Cutest."
However, as emcee Chantelle Lewin told the owners, "Every dog is a winner and we have ribbons for each of them."
The judges were Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford, veterinarian Dr. Luke Berglund and Duffy’s manager Peggi Davenport.
The winning celebrity dogs were: Max, owned by Karen LaPensee, took first place; Pierre, owned by Rachel Nix, took second place; and Bay Breeze, owner Charlene Doll, came in third.
Chaquito, owned by Ruby Lake, was the most original; Shorty, owned by Mary Kent, came in second playing the role of a skunk; and Lola, owned by Lisa Calvert, came in third in a flowery outfit with a toddler playing the part of a bee.
Stella Luna, owned by Dolly Gianni, was the cutest; Lulu Belle, owned by Lily Batley, came in second; and Jody, owned by Tanice Bellas, came in third.
Other celebrities at the contest included "Sarah Palin" and her entourage of Secret Service poodles, and at one time, Batman started chasing The Great Pumpkin.
After the competition, Stephanie Belill spoke about her dog who kept slipping out of its costume.
"My dog is supposed to be a witch and she’s acting the part today," she said.
The dogs seemed to enjoy the attention as they walked around the parking lot and they occasionally stopped for a drink from one of several water dishes set up. One pooch, a Chihuahua, decided that drinking the water was not enough and jumped into the dish for a swim.
It was another fun-filled contest to get everyone into the Halloween spirit.