Bay Ridge

Fall Harvest Festival brings country life to Brooklyn

Canine Costume Contest part of action

October 14, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Frank Tarsnane, Ursula Nigrelli and Noelle Fonak (left to right) dressed their dogs up as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and won the top prize, “Best in Show.”
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If you walked into the Narrows Botanical Gardens in Bay Ridge on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 12, you might have thought you had left Brooklyn behind for a day to travel to the country. The Fall Harvest Festival was in full swing, turning the gardens into a giant pumpkin patch and filling the air with the sounds of country music.

The Narrows Botanical Gardens, an organization made up of volunteers who take care of the land located in Shore Road Park near the 69th Street Pier, holds a fall harvest festival every year to celebrate autumn. The land that is looked after by the volunteers is also called Narrows Botanical Gardens.

The festival had something for everyone: a pumpkin patch, an arts and crafts table at which kids could decorate their own pumpkins, raffles, bake sales, tables at which handmade jewelry and pocketbooks were sold, and country music.

The biggest draw of the afternoon was the annual Canine Costume Contest, in which dog owners dress up their pet pooches as football players, tacos, kings, queens, even Cabbage Patch dolls, all for the chance to win prizes.

The top prize, “Best in Show,” was awarded to Ursula Nigrelli, Noelle Fonak and Frank Tarsnane, who teamed up to dress their dogs as the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Victoria Viscardi came to the contest dressed as a little girl and brought her dog Gia in a Cabbage Patch doll costume; she won the prize for the “Best Homemade Costume.”

More than two dozen contestants entered the contest. Among the contestants were some famous Bay Ridge faces. Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny (Coney Island-parts of Bay Ridge) dressed his dog Lola as a lady bug. His chief of staff, Kate Cucco, brought her dog Bella and dressed the pup as a football player. Ilene Sacco, president of the 68th Precinct Community Council, cleverly put her dog Madison in prison stripes.

The festival also offered visitors a chance to taste honey produced at the Narrows Botanical Gardens.

Established by Bay Ridge residents Jimmy Johnson and Joan Regan in 1995, the gardens are one of the longest-lasting volunteer gardens in a public park in New York City. The area contains a native plant sanctuary, a lily pond, a zen garden and a rose garden. The volunteers also take care of birds, chickens, turtles, and bees in the gardens. The group’s goal is to educate the public about the natural world in Brooklyn and to foster an interest in plants and animals.

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