Article and Pictures by Chuck Seaver, South Lake Tablet

The City of Clermont hosted the 4th Annual Pups in the Park at Lake Hiawatha Preserve on Saturday, March 16th. This wonderful tradition grows each year and from the appearance of the large crowd, the community seems to love the tradition, as well.

Pups of all sizes, shapes, and breeds were greeted by a host of vendors and displays that were fit for a furry king or queen. Visitors received toys and games from the City of Clermont and local vendors. The Clermont Police Department was on-hand to provide a “puppucino with an officer” experience for the four-legged friends. Furry friends kept the officers busy with refills and cuddles as handlers inquired about various community topics. The event was introduced as an expansion to the police department’s “Coffee with a Cop” program which is designed to provide an opportunity for residents to meet and talk with police officers in a fun and relaxed environment.

The annual costume contest brought out the best in handler imagination and creativity as the pups strutted their stuff down the grassy runway to a panel of judges composed of representatives from the community, including Mayor Tim Murry and Pat Caracciolo of “Pat the Dog”.

All of the costumed cuties were winners in the judge’s eyes but three pawmazing pups stood out in categories that included Best Overall, Most on Theme, and Most Creative. 

The showstopper choices were difficult but the three who walked away with wagging tails and winners of the contest were, Best Overall to Jiko, the stately black labrador decked out in a gray body suit, a sporty tuxedo, and red Crocs. Most on Theme was the handsome Maximus, also a black labrador who impressed the crowd with his formal tuxedo and Broadway-style show hat.

The Most Creative honors went to Chelsea, an Aussie poodle. Chelsea not only presented a precious side but donned a prom queen dress that was worthy of an evening at the pageant.


Congratulations to the wonderful participants and handlers who made the day enjoyable for everyone who attended.


The City of Clermont provides community events throughout the year that are all family-friendly. Visit for a full listing of community events offered. 

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