Costumed dogs parade at Narrows Botanical Garden’s fall festival

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Summer may be over, but the dog days aren’t.

The canine costume contest stole the show during the Narrows Botanical Garden’s annual Fall Harvest Festival on Oct. 12.

The fest featured arts-and-crafts, local vendors, raffles, and live music, but when the dapper doggies started strutting, there was only one place to be.

“Once it started, everyone was there,” said Victoria Viscardi, whose Pomeranian, Gia Marie, took the top prize for best homemade costume.

The contest-winning pom-madonna usually only wears designer fare, but this time Viscardi — a self-described “fabulous dog mom” — wanted to try her hand at crafting something completely original, she said.

“All her costumes are made by designers,” Viscardi said. “She does not wear off-the-rack — she has worn gowns that cost up to $500. But I really took the time out and was thinking about it for months. I’m like, ‘this could be fun, different, and original.’ ”

The best-in-show award went to Noelle Fonak, Frank Tarsnane, and Ursela Nigrelli, whose four Bichon Frises donned shells and bandanas as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Nigrelli and crew ordered the costumes online, but they built a Ninja Turtles Party Wagon from a shopping cart and a whole lot of art supplies.

Both winners got their supplies — and a little help — from Ridge mom-and-pop craft shop Norma’s Arts and Crafts Supplies. Nigrelli said Norma’s did such a bang-up job helping her that she was worried the result might be a little too good.

“I had to push that shopping cart from her store on 77th and Third all the way down to my house on Narrows,” Nigrelli said. “People were looking at me because she had put a missile launcher on top. I thought, ‘for sure, if you see something, say something.’ ”

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @MJaeger88.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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