Snoopies get spooky
Beth Moon dressed up D.C., her miniature rat terrier, as a foil-wrapped, twice-baked potato and her Italian Greyhound-Chihuahua, Harlem, as a ballerina, since "she’s the pretty one," Moon says.
The occasion was the Howl-O-Ween on Main Street, and she’s already plotting the costumes for the next parade this coming Wednesday (hint: this year D.C. will not be wearing real sour cream too tempting for the big dogs.)
It’s been seven years since the first Howl-O-Ween, and Moon says she and her clan of canines and kids have yet to miss a parade.
"I like the event, because I like supporting anybody who is creative and doing some cool things I just think the parade’s just a smile and so community-oriented," she explains. "A lot of people don’t have kids and their dogs are their babies, and so they get a chance to be on center stage and shine. It’s such a happy thing."
The affinity between Parkites and their dogs has long been observed. At a Park Silly Sunday Market a month ago, a man visiting was overheard commenting, "What is this? A dog parade?" after noticing the ratio of dogs to people wandering the street.
"I think it started a long time ago and I think it’s because having a dog is acceptable here," Moon says. "You walk a dog in Manhattan you think oh that owner’s so mean If you have a dog out here, it represents you’re an outdoor person. I just think owning a dog is just so acceptable and welcome here more than any place I’ve ever visited or lived."
Kimberly Kuehn, executive director of the Park Silly Sunday Market, started the dog parade event shortly after she moved to town. Since the markets ended, she has been focused on Howl-O-Ween.
"Where else in America do you find a Howl-O-Ween dog parade?" she asks. "It’s a tradition that has become such a fun event for people. You laugh when you see dogs in costumes and kids who are so proud of their dogs and their costumes. It’s off-the-charts hilarious."
Some might find the thought of dressing up animals to be a little kooky, but seven years since the event began in Park City, the concept of dressing up Fido for any occasion has become less an anomaly and more the norm across the country. Last year, more than 14,000 pets participated in PETCO’s Howl-O-Ween costume contest and according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, six percent of dog owners will purchase a Halloween gift for their pet, and 7.4 million households plan to dress their pet for Halloween. Devils and pumpkins rank highest on the favorite costume list for pets, reports the association.
The trend is not lost on Park City business community that embraces new pet boutiques each year. Lucy Has Everything, opened four years ago in Prospector Square by owner Kitty Bennion and her Maltese, Lucy — the real owner, Bennion claims. The store, which is open on select days of the week, is purveying hot dog, pig, prisoner and skunk costumes for the holidays.
iPaw, a boutique that moved to Park City after a successful first year in Salt Lake City’s Sugar House district, opened last weekend in Old Town. One of the biggest sponsors of the Howl-O-Ween event, iPaw unloaded boxes of costumes for dogs, and attended a pet costume fashion show at Yappy Hour, a benefit for No More Homeless Pets in Utah. The runway featured some of iPaw’s latest costumes, worn by dogs who were led by professional models.
iPaw offers durable, high-end pet costumes, such as a sheer pink pant-and-bodice "I Dream of Jeannie" getup for a Great Dane-sized pooch and a cheerleader outfit for a miniature poodle-sized pet. Fun Halloween clothing for cats and mid-sized dogs include princess, butterfly and angel costumes.
Martie Bond, who owns iPaw explains that she got into the pet retail business in part because it is part of a rapidly expanding industry in Park City and elsewhere: currently, it’s part of a $40.8 billion industry and growing, she says. It is also a profession that is in line with one of her greatest passions.
"I wanted a job that was in service to my heart," Bond says. "I have two dogs and they have changed who I am and I wanted to share that with other people. Doing something for your dog is really doing something for yourself."
Howl-O-Ween on Main
The 7th Annual Howl-O-Ween on Main, presented in part by the Historic Main Street Business Alliance will take place Wednesday, Oct. 31.
3 5 p.m. Trick-or-Treating compliments of Main Street merchants 4 8 p.m. Washington School Haunted Inn 4 5 p.m. Doggy Photo Ops 5 – 5:30 p.m. Howl-O-Ween Dog Parade 5:30 6 p.m. Activities at the Shops at the Village on Main Please note that Main Street will be closed to vehicle traffic between the Post Office and Cow’s (4th and 5th Streets) during the event.
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Welcome to The Park Record’s 2020 edition of Mile Post, our annual report on key indicators in our changing community.