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‘Puppy Bowl’ ref to host Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival will be back at its original, namesake stomping grounds this year on Sat., Oct. 22.

Of course, the event can’t return to the East River Park amphitheater again because, well…there is no East River Park amphitheater to return to anymore: It’s been demolished for the East Side Coastal Resiliency project — along with the rest of the southern end of the nearly 50-acre park.

East River Park activists disrupted last year’s Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade, which was held at the since-demolished East River Park amphitheater. (Photo by Milo Hess)

Adding some celebrity sizzle to this year’s East Village dog-stravaganza will be host Dan Schachner. A Stuyvesant Town resident, Schachner is the referee — or “ruffaree,” as it’s called — of Animal Planet’s annual “Puppy Bowl.” The fast-and-furry-ous, action-packed pooch affair runs every year at the same time as the NFL Super Bowl. And, in fact, it actually can be a lot more fun to watch than the human players, as Schachner tries to manage the pooch pandemonium, calling the puppies for flagrant violations like “Unnecessary Ruffness,” “A Number Two on the Two” and “Illegal Odor Downfield.”

Not only the dogs sport costumes at the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival. (Photo by Milo Hess)

The Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival (the name has now changed from “parade” to “festival”), now in its 32nd year, has earned rave reviews. “The biggest Halloween contest for dogs in the world,” CNN declared. “It’s Barking Mad,” raved The Guardian. “The best dog fashion event of all time,” proclaimed Vogue. “Where else can you see a corgi dressed as a french fries and a bulldog triceratops strut down the runway?” Time said.

One of last year’s contestants. (Photo by Milo Hess)

The event’s Web page says registration will start at noon on the day of the event and that the competition will be at 1 p.m. However, the page also says that because spaces are limited this year, participants must preregister. Volunteers are also needed. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. To preregister or for information on volunteering and sponsorships, click here.

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