For a second year in a row, the Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade has a bone to pick with the City of New York. The annual canine costume pageant was close to being cancelled due to marketing fees imposed by the Parks Department. Now, a last-minute sponsor has swept in to save the day.
One year after the dog parade was almost shut down because of insurance issues, the event was snout to snout with cancellation again. This year, it was because of an unexpected fee–up to $11,400–for hosting Amazon as a sponsor at the event. The fee is outlined on the Parks website, but according to the event’s founder, Garrett Rosso, the parade has never had to pay it before. On Monday, Rosso told Bedford + Bowery the event couldn’t afford it and there was a “50/50” chance the parade would happen at all.
There have been sponsors every year during the event’s 29-year history, according to Rosso. However, this was the first year a sponsor impacted the park with tabling, tents or other branding, according to Crystal Howard, assistant commissioner of communications for NYC Parks. “If the event had sponsors prior, it was without our knowledge,” Howard said.
To raise money, a fundraiser was created on the parade’s Facebook page. But with only $230 of its $15,000 goal raised and the Oct. 20 event quickly approaching, things looked bleak for the Halloween hounds. Hope was dwindling. Until out of nowhere, like a shih tzu in a superman costume, Heart of Chelsea Veterinary Group came to the rescue.
Natasha Santiago, a client services representative from Heart of Chelsea, contacted Rosso Tuesday night to talk about participating in the parade of pooches. “When he told us that they might have to cancel again like last year,” Santiago said, “we decided that we should step in.”
The veterinary clinic, with locations in the Lower East Side, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, committed $17,500 to the event to make sure the pups would get a chance to strut their stuff. Although, like last year, fido’s fall fashion show will have a waterside view; it’ll be at East River Amphitheater, not Tompkins Square Park.
Once again, the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade has risen from the grave to raise money for the newly renovated East Village dog park. After another close call, it seems like nothing can stop the yearly parade where pups celebrate Halloween by doing tricks and getting treats.