LONG BRANCH: The 19th Annual Pooch Parade at West End Park was held for the visitors, artists, vendors, and supporters from businesses and city departments. The proceeds from the event goes to Wag On Inn, a refuge and shelter for canines waiting to get adopted by animal lovers from the city and neighboring towns.
Food vendors featuring the carnival fare complemented the local restaurants with their sidewalk appeal. Arts, jewelry, clothing and hobby booths were out on Brighton Avenue between Ocean and Second Avenues filling the sidewalks and lawns areas with lots of kids and parents.
A pre-Halloween scarecrow-making competition was another event with winners and sponsored by merchants.
The Long Branch Police presented a canine unit police dog exhibition to show the crowd how the canines are trained, how they are used to assist police activities, and to give the youngsters a treat of petting the pooches. The animals are "partners" of their trainers, and live with them and their families. These also provide good support for their owners, Sgt. Robert Shamrock and Patrolman Eric Wettermark.
The Long Branch Fire Department was at the corner of Second Avenue offering rides on a truck for all who wished to climb on for a short trip through the neighborhood.
The city's public works team brought their equipment for a "Touch the Truck" exhibition which is always a fun event for the youngsters. Included was an emergency Mmanagement truck and a hauling truck from DPW.
Wag On Inn had a booth and pooches looking for homes. The furry friends wore leashes and other regalia to advertise their availability. The web site is http://wagoninn.rescuegroups.org/
Finally at 1 p.m. the well-dressed, beautifully-adorned pooches paraded, were judged and received awards. The photographed winners were:
1st Place: Fritz Pastuck and Nancy Pierce with "Rosie and Caesar" as Prince and Princess
2nd Place: Cristina Iribarne with "Francisco" as Shark
3rd Place: Shawn Sosner with "Zara" dressed as a Hawaiian Hula Girl.
The Scarecrow Award went to scarecrow "Cotton Jellyfish" as designed on the fly and built by the Alvarez family of Long Branch - Peter, Carissa, Josh and "Dad" Don.