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Ray Routhier

Portland Press Herald staff writer Ray Routhier will try anything. Once. During 20 years at the Press Herald he’s been equally attracted to stories that are unusually quirky and seemingly mundane. He’s taken rides on garbage trucks, sought out the mother of two rock stars, dug clams, raked blueberries, and spent time with the family of bedridden man who finds strength in music. Nothing too dangerous mind you, just adventurous enough to find the stories of real Mainers doing real cool things.

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Posted: April 15, 2015

See dogs in their holiday finery at the Patriotic Pooch Pageant and Fashion Show Sunday in Ogunquit

Written by: Ray Routhier

On Sunday, a Welsh corgi named Corgi will prance down the runway doing her best impersonation of Amelia Earhart.

Corgi’s owner, John Stand, is hoping the little dog can soar above her competition at Ogunquit’s annual Patriotic Pooch Pageant and Fashion Show.

But he’s also hoping that Sunday is not a windy day, which might prompt Corgi to soar, literally.

“Her costume is basically a set of (airplane) wings, so I’m just hoping it’s not too windy, she might take off,” said Stand, an artist who lives in Ogunquit.

Corgi’s costume, in her role as the great female aviator of the 1930s, also includes a tiny pilot’s helmet.

The Patriotic Pooch Pageant is part of Ogunquit’s 25th annual Patriots Day Weekend of events. It’s hard to find a lot of events celebrating Patriots Day, which is a state holiday only here and in Massachusetts.

But in Ogunquit, they’ve found a way to use the weekend of Patriots Day to help bring people out to the seaside resort before summer officially begins. Patriots Day itself is Monday.

The events over the weekend include some you might expect in any town-wide celebration, like craft demonstrations and book sales. But there are also fun themed events, like a re-enactment of George Washington crossing the Delaware, with the Ogunquit River as a stand-in.

There’s also a fife and drum concert, some Colonial-era games for kids and a flag hunt, among other things.

Patriots Day weekend works as a good “soft opening” date for many of the beach town’s businesses, so it makes sense to hold fun events around this time of year, said Frances Reed, vice president of the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce. And the Patriotic Pooch Pageant is definitely a fun event.

The pageant and fashion show is in its fourth year. Dogs can enter in two categories for judging. There’s the patriotic category, which calls for costumes of red, white and blue, and the famous American category. Corgi will be entered in the latter. Prizes, to be determined, will be given out in each category.

In past years, the people depicted by canine contestants have included former First Lady Barbara Bush, portrayed by a white standard poodle with pearls and a light blue satin blouse. There has also been a pit bull dressed as former candidate for vice president Sarah Palin.

The dogs get to stroll up an elevated runway, showing off their patriotic looks. Stand says last year there might have been 30 participants.

“The dog walks up the runway, everyone claps, everyone takes a look,” said Stand. “People just love to see the dogs in their costumes.”

The pageant lasts about 30 minutes to an hour. Some dogs from area shelters looking for a good home are usually on hand as well.

People can have their picture taken behind giant cutouts that make them look like a poodle, or bullmastiff, depending on their mood.

Last year, Stand entered all four of his dogs in the patriotic category. They had red, white and blue socks, with matching scarves. But he decided that trying to shepherd four dogs down a fashion runway was too much.

So this year, Corgi is flying solo.

“She’s been practicing indoors, but her wings keeping bumping into walls,” Stand said of Corgi’s Amelia Earhart costume. “It’s not easy for a dog to learn to walk with a plane on her back.”

PATRIOTIC POOCH PAGEANT AND FASHION SHOW

WHEN: Noon Sunday
WHERE: Liquid Dreams parking lot, 696 Main St., Ogunquit
HOW MUCH: Free
INFO: visitogunquit.org

MORE PATRIOTIC FUN
Ogunquit’s 25th annual Patriots Day Weekend Celebration features two dozen or so events through Sunday, besides the Patriotic Pooch Pageant. Here are just a few highlights. All events listed below are free. For a complete schedule go to visitogunquit.org

FRIDAY:
7:15 p.m.: Washington Crossing the Delaware re-enactment. Viewing from the main beach parking lot off Beach Street or the Sea Chambers Motel, 67 Shore Road.
7:30 p.m.: Fife & drum parade and concert. The 10-minute parade runs from Sea Chambers Motel to Ogunquit Baptist Church, 157 Shore Road. The concert begins at 7:45 p.m. inside the church.

SATURDAY:
All Day: Stocks will be set up Saturday and Sunday at the main beach parking lot, off Beach Street, for photos. Be the first family on your block to be photographed enduring this Colonial-era form of punishment.
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Beach Bazaar, with more than 50 vendors selling their wares under tents at the main beach lot.
9:30 to 10:30 a.m.: Colonial-era children’s games and crafts at Ogunquit Baptist Church, 157 Shore Road. Make your own button whirligig or toothpick top or paper doll.
11 a.m.: American Pie contest at the Dunaway Center, 23 School St. Enter your home-made pie in an “American” flavor for tasting by the judges, Prizes awarded.
3 p.m.: Book-making workshop at Ogunquit Baptist Church, 157 Shore Road.

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