Essex County, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. welcomed dogowners and their pets to the Annual Essex County Strut Your Mutt Canine CostumeParade and Contest at the Essex County Brookdale Dog Park Bloomfield/Montclair andthe  Essex  County  South  Mountain  Dog  Park  in  Maplewood/Millburn  on  Saturday,October 24th.

“Our Dog Parks have become popular places for dog owners to bring their pets, and ourCanine Halloween Costume Parades are another opportunity for the public to enjoy ourhistoric Park System,” DiVincenzo said. “I am always amazed and impressed with thecreativity of the costumes. Congratulations to the winners,” he added.

Strut Your Mutt is the County’s annual Canine Halloween Costume Parade and Contest.Dog  owners  were  invited  to  display  their  creativity  and  dress  their  canine  pets  incostumes.  The  parade  was  free  and  prizes  were  awarded  to  the  winners  in  each category.

Award winners at the Essex County Brookdale Dog Park Contest are as follows:

Best  in  Show: Vanessa  Montesano  from  Clifton  and  her  pet  Lunchbox  who  wasdressed as a smart shopper and pushed a shopping cart.

Scariest  Costume: First  place:  Jai  Lee  Wexler  from  Clifton  who  was  dressed  asMaleficent and her pet Chanel who was dressed as Princess Aurora from “SleepingBeauty.”  Second place:  Lauren Zodel  from Montclair  and her  pet  Frankie  who wasdressed as a crocodile. Third place: Noreen Fitzsimons from Nutley and her pet Baileywho was dressed as a spider.

Most Creative Costume: First place: Regina Mahon from Bayonne and her pet Gizmowho was dressed as a sheriff riding a horse. Second place: Marijoy Tibay from Montclairand her pet Lucy who was dressed as a rainbow fish. Third place: Dana Borzomati fromUpper Montclair and her pet Abby who was dressed as Batman and rode in a motorized Batmobile.

Couple Costume:  First place: Joe Kavesh from Montclair, his pet Vader and severalfriends who dressed as the Joker and other villains from Batman. Second place: JeanDabrowski and her family from Montclair and their pet who dressed as characters from“Star Wars.” Third place: Fanny Chin from Bloomfield who dressed as a Kikkoman soysauce bottle and her pets Lexi, Gyro and Shadow who dressed as sushi rolls.

Award  winners  at  the  Essex  County South  Mountain  Dog Park  Contest are  as follows:

Best in Show: Kelly Cuykendall from Woodbridge, her pet Simon and her friends whodressed as Snoopy and members of the Peanuts gang.

Scariest  Costume: First  place:  Rebecca  Wilkening  from  Maplewood  and  her  pet Pepper who dressed as a devil. Second place: Mary Morris from East Hanover and herpet Axle who dressed as a dragon. Third place: Caitlin McDonough from Verona and herpet who dressed as a skunk.Most Creative Costume: First place: Nila Schomfield from Maplewood and her pet Georgia who dressed as Pocahontas and John Smith. Second place: Pete Lionetti andhis pets who dressed as Little Red Riding Hood and Grandma. Third place: Joyce Aliliofrom West Orange and her pet Chip who dressed as a Beanie Baby doll.

Couple Costume: First place: Matt Greller and his family from Millburn and their pets Angus and Clyde who dressed as Minions and bananas. Second place: DJ Meisch from Nutley, his pet Lucky and friends who dressed as characters from “The Wizard of Oz.”Third place: Tracie Koehnlein from West Orange and her pet Stella who dressed asOzzie Osborn and a bat.

The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park systemestablished in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acresand has 22 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop AdventureCourse, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range,two  miniature  golf  courses,  three  off-leash  dog  facilities,  a  castle  and  the  PresbyMemorial Iris Gardens. Essex County’s three dog parks are located in Brookdale Park inBloomfield/Montclair,  South  Mountain  Reservation  in  Maplewood/Millburn  andWatsessing Park in Bloomfield/East Orange.