Edie had stage fright. Standing at the bottom of the steps to the stage lit up with bright lights and a camera, the crowd began to cheer her on.
“Edie! Edie! Edie!”
Edie, her head down, waddled up the steps. She lifted her head to show her face, which had been covered by her hat.
“Ooh! It’s a basset hound!” a host on the stage cooed.
With a renewed sense of confidence, Edie strutted around the stage and mingled with the front row of children with their hands outstretched to pet her. Her owner dressed her as a Christmas caroler, which received a round of “aws” from the audience.
She went on to win “Crowd Favorite” in the Roanoke Valley SPCA pet costume contest in downtown Roanoke. The event was one of several activities that closed out the final night of The Roanoke Times Dickens of a Christmas.
“I’m really excited she won,” said Edie’s owner, Maria Hambrick. “I made her costume from scratch, and I’ve had her come watch the contest the past few years, but I’ve never entered her in it.”
With temperatures in the 20s, owners cuddled tiny dogs in blankets and got their costumes situated as they waited for judging.
Madison Snowden held her shivering 4-pound teacup Chihuahua, Lola, wrapped in her arms. Bucking the common holiday themes of other dogs’ costumes, Lola dressed up as a cowgirl. The cold didn’t deter them from coming out.
“I love dogs, and I love doing stuff with my dogs,” Snowden said.
Nearby, Lilly, a 2-year-old Pomeranian, tried to wrestle out of her elf hat.
“She would have had more of a costume, but she ate part of it last night,” said her owner, Kristalyn Parker.
Meanwhile, Snoop basked in the attention his Santa Claus costume, with a tiny hat and tiny booties on his paws, brought him.
“He loves getting dressed up,” said his owner, Heather Sullivan. “He’s a ham.”
Most of the canine participants dressed up in holiday costumes. A pair of bulldogs strutted around the stage as Santa Claus and an elf to the glee of audience members. A rescue dog named Milo went on to win “Best Holiday Theme” with his tacky Christmas sweater.
Dozer, a German shepherd and Newfoundland mix, won the “Most Creative Costume” category. His owner, Mike Scott, strapped a fluffy antler to Dozer’s head and wrapped a strand of lights around him to make him look like Max, The Grinch’s dog and companion. Even with his thick fur coat, Dozer was in need of a sweater.
“It’s a little tight on him, but we don’t like to say anything to him, because we won’t want to hurt his, you know… .”