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Pug Party & Parade occurring today in Chestertown

Dressed in cowboys & Indians garb, Leah, Ann and Chuck Dolin wait with their pugs Darla and Biscuit for judging to occur during the Halloween Pug Parade & Party held in Chestertown in October 2011.

Dressed in cowboys & Indians garb, Leah, Ann and Chuck Dolin wait with their pugs Darla and Biscuit for judging to occur during the Halloween Pug Parade & Party held in Chestertown in October 2011. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Well over 100 canine enthusiasts from a wide region are expected to participate in the 14th annual Halloween Pug Parade & Party set for Oct. 20 in the Town of Chester.

In recent years, pugs — those wrinkly-browed, chubby, fun-loving dogs with curly tails — have become a popular October attraction in Chester.

This annual gathering of pugs in fanciful costumes has attracted up to 155 pugs and their owners not only from the region, but from across New York and neighboring states as well.

According to reports, it’s one of the biggest pug-related events in the state. Last year over 110 pugs and their families attended. Admission is free.

Participants and spectators will not only be witnesses to the colorful parade — complete with some miniature dog floats — but browse among wares from a variety of vendors, as well as food and beverages.

Prizes and certificates are awarded for most creative, scariest and cutest costumes and floats, and the best duo, youngest, oldest pug, best wrinkles, etc..

The allure of participating in the event apparently extends well beyond momentary fun and winning prizes, as the pug owners establish a real camaraderie with each other and annually make new friends.

The parade and party are held on Dynamite Hill Recreation Area off state Rte. 8.

Some entrants in the pub contests build a small float to show off their pugs — in years past, some people have decorated carriages, strollers and wagons for their pugs.

Registration is set for 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the parade, with contests and prizes, follows. To register in advance, call 494-2722 or 696-7184).

Various events continue on Oct. 20 until 3 p.m. Vendors related to various canine needs are on site for the day, and there’s plenty of good socializing as well. This year’s event features a raffle for a bank gift card worth $600.

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