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Dressed to the ca-nines! Pups compete in Coney Island costume contest

for Brooklyn Paper
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Call it an early Howl-o-ween!

Visitors to Coney Island on June 9 might have thought Halloween came early this year when pooch parents and their pups arrived donning their wackiest costumes for the eighth-annual Pet Day Costume Contest at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Park, which brought out the creativity — and competition — in everyone, according to one participant.

“It was super awesome,” said Andrew Sargeant. “There was some really cool competition out there.”

The judges — Councilman Mark Treyger (D–Coney Island), Miss Coney Island Gigi Bon Bon, and Brooklyn Cyclones staffer Nicole Kneessy — inspected and ranked at least 25 competitors for humor, creativity, and pet-owner costume combos.

Pet parents pulled out all the stops to impress the judges, showcasing getups that included Pennywise the Clown from “It,” characters from “The Jetsons,” and even dogs inside in a faux claw-game machine.

Sargeant, his partner Maurice Renfro, and his pup Clark took home the top prize for their “Star Wars” outfits, which flipped the script on the popular science-fiction franchise, according to the first-place finisher, who said they crafted an alternate story that featured a stormtrooper rescuing “Bark Vader” from a villainous version of Princess Leia.

Their innovative ensemble earned them a Petco gift card, season passes to Deno’s Wonder Wheel, tickets to an upcoming Cyclones game, and a brief taste of stardom, according to Sargeant.

“Clark felt like a superstar that day,” he said. “He had his tongue out and was smiling.”

The event was so enjoyable that Sargeant said he intends to return next year, when he hopes even more participants will join in the fun. “Hopefully our costumes inspired other people to come out and participate more,” he said.

Updated 5:42 pm, July 9, 2018
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