Costumed pooches gather for Howl-O-Ween

The Strut Your Mutt event featured a costume contest and a walk along the Chippewa

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The overall best costume winner, Maxine as Paddington Bear, was held by her owners Deedee and Chad Ryder the entire competition.

Despite the cold wind down by the water, mutts and their owners still strolled down to Hobbs Ice Arena for the fifth annual Strut Your Mutt Howl-O-Ween.

Put on by Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and Forestry, pooches and their families gathered at the Hobbs Ice Arena boat launch parking lot and showed off their costumes at 2 p.m on Oct. 27.

While the turnout was lower than other years, Chad Duerkop — the event organizer and Recreation program supervisor — said the event started as a fun twist on the other Strut Your Mutt events.

The other Strut Your Mutt events, like the end of summer dog swim at Fairfax pool and Howl-O-Ween, all work in a series to get people out with their dogs to promote healthy lifestyles and provide fun settings.

“The whole idea, especially with the ones in the spring and the fall, is to get people out, get them familiar with our trails,” Duerkop said. “People have dogs to walk, so why not walk in the beautiful trails system that we have?”

The two vendors present, Your Dog’s Gym and Rex’s Canine Training, acted as judges for the costume contest. The owner of Rex’s Canine Training, Rexann Lemke, has a history of attending the Howl-O-Ween event.

“This is the fourth year and it gets better every year,” Lemke said. “Better costumes, more dogs.”

All costume contest participants were given free washes to Your Dog’s Gym, while the winners of the handler and dog costume contest, and the overall winning costume, got special gift bags.

Spierings can be reached at [email protected].