The people have spoken.
They have voted with their clicks.
Lantern Fly was elected Best in Show at the 32nd Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Festival.
Lantern Fly, a black pug, defeated main rivals Bodega Cat and Turtle Finding Nemo to clinch the victory. Lantern Fly — who uses the instagram handle @sexybeastthepug with the tag line “I don’t kiss and tell” — also held off strong showings from Chihuahua Jesus and Lady Gaga Meat.
“Lantern Fly came out of nowhere,” said Joseph Borduin, the organizer of the parade, noting that the pug edged out rivals late Sunday night – just before voting closed – to take the lead.
Jessica Marx and her husband, Steven Riddle, adopted Beast back in July. She thought of the idea for the lantern fly costume after killing one for the first time.
“There's nothing more Halloween than a city asking every single citizen to kill something,” she said, noting that she’d heard people were encouraging children to stomp on the pests. “I just thought it was really funny and an interesting idea for a costume.”
As for Beast, she was pretty sure the 7-month old pup knew about his victory.
“He's acting particularly smug today, so I think he does,” she said.
Beast had a strong showing at the parade, where his humans, Jessica and Steven, dressed as giant Converse sneakers, dubbing themselves the “Stomp Squad.”
Lantern Fly does not win any money for Best in Show, but he does win “bragging rights,” said Borduin. All 16 finalists for Best in Show will be awarded a photo shoot with Borduin, who works as a professional photographer when he’s not volunteering his time to produce the dog parade.
The event was held Saturday, Oct. 22 at Tompkins Square Park, and 400 dogs competed. Voting was held online for a week after the competition, in the hopes of dispersing crowds at the perennially-packed event.
“It was wonderful seeing everyone smiling,” said Borduin. “It just makes all the hard work that went into it, worth it. And seeing this last minute jump by Spotted Lantern Fly just really made me excited again. It’s getting me hyped up for next year.”
Here is a list of the finalists for Best in Show:
- Barbie, Best Celebrity
- Bodega Cat, Judges’ Pick
- Chihuahua Jesus, Judges’ Pick
- Halal Guys, Best Food Theme
- Lady Gaga Meat, Best Celebrity
- Lantern Fly, Judges’ Pick
- Little Mermaid Tucker Carlson (Black mermaid lives matter), Best Current Event
- Local Express train, Best Wheels Theme
- Marjorie Taylor Greene, Judges’ Pick
- Monopoly, Best Group Theme
- Roach Pigeon and Rat, Best NYC Theme
- Scary Clown, Best Chihuahua
- Sex & The City, Judges’ Pick
- T Rex Chasing Goldblum, Best Scariest Theme
- Turtle Finding Nemo, Best Animal Theme
- Uterus on a Judge’s Leash, Judges’ Pick
This year the parade returned to its namesake location after a stint at the East River Park Amphitheater and a year on Zoom in 2020.
Organizer Borduin says he is already planning next year’s event. “My main goal for this event is turning it into a real parade on the streets.”
This story has been updated to include a reaction from Beast and quotes from his owner, Jessica Marx.