Pirate the Portuguese Water Dog was a stupendous Batman in this year’s Fantasy Fest Pet Masquerade, all white fluff and vigor, as the black fur around his eyes served as a natural mask.
But Pirate had a problem keeping his cape on.
“The cape lasted about three seconds,” said his pet sitter Arthur Crocker, of Key West.
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Costuming dogs and other pets is what the Pet Masquerade event is all about (a hedgehog showed up). Sure, it’s a contest with prizes and trophies but many of the decorated mutts didn’t even compete. For locals and visitors, it’s a welcomed G-rated event in a week filled with anything but.
“I love that the whole community comes out,” said Betsy Croteau, whose dog Fluffy came as a bouquet of flowers and she as a bumble bee. “It’s not a drunken, craze-fest. It’s a nice reprieve from all the insanity of Fantasy Fest.”
Ally, a long-haired dachshund, donned a sombrero. Nugget, a Chihauhua, was a tiny Ricky Ricardo wannabe, as his owner and friend dressed as Lucy and Ethel from the “I Love Lucy” show.
And Mrs. Butterworth, a compact English bulldog, wore a blue peacock smock and matching hat. “We’ve been training for a couple of weeks,” said her owner Jennifer Rockland, of getting the dog comfortable with the get-up.
The event is a fundraiser for the Lower Keys Friends of Animals nonprofit.
“This is a worthy, worthy event,” said emcee and local DJ Rudey Gee, rousing the crowd which packed the city’s new Truman Waterfront Park Amphitheater. For years, the pet masquerade was held at the Casa Marina Resort.
Nancy D’Amato, the event’s organizer, reminded the crowd to keep the greens clean.
“No poop on the lawn or the city will never let me have this here again,” she said.
Batman the white fluffy dog didn’t place but his partner in the show reported it didn’t matter.
“But he sat and shook my hand which is all I wanted,” Crocker said.
Fantasy Fest runs through Sunday. For a complete list of events, visit the official web site.