Maybe it's the timing. That might explain the dominant theme of the entries in our first annual Hot Dog Dressing Contest, which fetched dozens of entries with several themes.

We got show-biz dogs: Darth Vader, Harry Potter and Carmen Miranda, plus one that looked alarmingly like Gumby. We got professionals: a dolphin trainer, a pirate and a couple of cowpokes. We got iconic sports dogs: Brett Favre, a Joe Mauer fan and a Gophers basketball player.

And we got two grill-meisters, a pair of corpses, some dancers and quite a few fairies. But the theme that readers cooked up most often? Brides, resplendent in all manner of white paper picnic products.

But there's no wedding in store for our two winning entries, both from Minneapolis: "Dog Gone" by Mel Ferrer and Joanne Haas, and "Tooth Fairy" by Korey Hokenson and Verity Rose Baker.

As impressive, artistic and downright droll as these works are, we frankly must concede that the Kansas City Star's winner, "Pigs in a Beach Blanket," is pretty doggone swell.

For this year, at least, their wurst got the better of our best.


Bill Ward • 612-673-7643