More than 50 dogs and their owners crowded onto the Christiansted Boardwalk to vie for the prizes, trophies and recognition in Saturday afternoon’s ninth annual Dog Parade, sponsored by Krewe de Croix.
“The crowd looks like an upswing for the island,” said Krewe de Croix spokesperson Val Stiles. There were twice as many entries this year as last.
The under-the-sea theme brought out dogs dressed as lobsters, crabs, scuba divers, hammerhead sharks, mermaids and boat captains. Others were color-coordinated with their owners, with pink, purple, blue or turquoise garb and even dyed fur.
Some dogs needed nothing but their size to make them stand out – Great Danes, Labradors, and a 75-pound bullypit – pit bull and bulldog. There was a white Great Pyrenees/Alsatian mix with a blue flower painted on its back, and a mastiff-sized dog with lionfish stripes on its body.
Scooby Do, "the ambassador of the boardwalk" according to his owner, Amba, looked sophisticated in his black and white spots. Veterinarian Duke Deller wore a shirt to match Monique’s pink hat and leash.
At the other extreme, tiny pups were garbed in madras, wrapped in crustacean and whimsical, flowing costumes. There was a blue shark, an orange lobster and Goliath, a catfish diver with goggles, air tanks and a flotation device.
Oreo wore a hot pink dress with hot pink eyelashes and nails, and Nipper, a little dachshund, dressed like a pirate.
Dogs from the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center got into the act and were dressed in curls, flowers and colorful necklaces. Moises Carmona and staff looked for homes for Ice, Lucy, Chop Chop, and others, and accepted donations for the island’s animal shelter.
After a parade through King’s Alley and Strand Street, the winners were given plaques and gift certificates. Tesla owned by Coby Olah was named Best of Show for his lionfish stripes.
Goliath, owned by Michael Dance and Terry Cretian, was given an honorable mention. Wayne Acker’s Cewey, tucked in a backpack with shades and a hat, took third place, and Jamey Hughson and Becca Mendelson’s dog Dragon took second with a scuba outfit. Sea green-tinted Foxy, sponsored by You Are Here restaurant and Nisha Srivegstava won first place.
Children had fun whether they led a dog or just played with the pups. One four-year-old dressed like a dog, scampered on all fours in the parade along side Nipper.
The third place pup in the children’s category was Jimminy, owned by Jayda Olah. Second place went to her sister, Jessa Leberoni and purple Pi, costumed as the Sea Witch Ursula from the movie, "The Little Mermaid."
The first place winners were a group of kids sandwiched into a boat and led by Oreo. Parker and Serena Sheraw, Cole, Eric and Drew Sommer and Lena Kammerzelt were Oreo’s crew. Honorable mention was given to Bella, owned by Thaitee.
Krewe de Croix is a community organization that hosts the Dog Parade and other events, such as Mardi Croix. Some of the funds raised from the $5 entry fee will support the Mardi Croix parade on Feb. 7 in Cane Bay. Registration is at 11 a.m. and the parade starts at noon.