If you’re a festival-goer but also a pet lover, chances are you’ve been disappointed in the past with the number of events that unfortunately aren’t okay with man’s best friend joining in the festivities. The good news is that you no longer have to choose between your two loves. Read on to find out more about some of the best pet-friendly festivals in the nation.
Do Dah Day
Founded in 1979 by a small group of fun-loving friends, Do Dah Day is one of Birmingham’s oldest and best-loved events, drawing people from all over the United States to the city’s historic Highland Avenue parks of Rhodes and Caldwell in May. What started out as a simple party has grown into an all-out music festival enjoyed by pet lovers and their four-legged friends. One of the festival’s best events is the parade, which offers prizes in categories such as Best Pet/Owner Look-Alike, Best Dressed Pet and Ugliest Pet (all in good fun, of course).
Details: May 19, 2012, Rhodes and Caldwell Parks, 2730 Highland Ave. S, Birmingham, Ala. 35205
In addition to being one of Chicago’s most eclectic, cutting edge street fairs, West Fest is also one of the most pet-friendly festivals in the Windy City. You’ll find delicious local food, high quality live music, diverse vendors and booths and a fun, hip vibe at West Fest, but it’s Pet Fest, the “fest within a fest” dedicated to pets that really makes this festival stand out. From pet product vendors to bathing pools and a number of great pet games for charity, West Fest is the place to be in Chicago for pet lovers.
Details: July 7-8, 2012, 1800 W. Chicago, Chicago, Ill. 60622
Dog Day Festival
Nashville’s Dog Day Festival takes puppy love to new heights every September at Centennial Park. An all-day event benefiting the Nashville Humane Association, the Dog Day Festival kicks off with the Music City Mutt Strutt dog walk fundraiser. The event also features dog training classes, dog adoptions, contests with wacky awards such as “Waggliest Tail” and “Best Bark," doggie treat samples and craft time, live music and so much more.
Details: September 2012, Centennial Park, 2500 West End Ave., Nashville, Tenn.
Aloha Pet Festival
If you ever find yourself on the island paradise of Hawaii, make no bones about stopping by the Aloha Pet Festival in Honolulu. Talented pooches can try their hand (or paws) at the pet costume and trick contests. And to end a perfect day, treat your canine companion to delicious delicacies like pet shave ice and doggie donburi while you munch on offerings from over 13 food trucks and vendors at the aptly named Bow Wow Brunch.
Details: October 2012, Kaka’ako Makai Park, 325 Pakanu St., Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
Woofstock Dog Festival
When the Woofstock Dog Festival first opened its doors in 2006, its founders wanted to create an event catered to the dog lovers in the Roanoke area, creating a super fun, family-friendly festival that attendees can freely bring dogs to. Now, just a few years later, the festival has grown to be one of the best-loved events in the area, boasting live bands, food and drink, raffles, prizes, vendors games and more each June.
Details: June 2, 2012, Elmwood Park, 706 S. Jefferson St., Roanoke, Va. 24011
Oregon’s coastal town of Manzanita comes alive with furry critters in August with the Muttzanita Festival, a pet-centric charity celebration that goes to benefit United Paws of Tillamook, a local volunteer organization focusing on spaying, neutering and adoption. The canine fun never ends at Muttzanita, where dogs are treated to massages, “pawdicures” and other spa treatments, and can be featured in the hilarious pet fashion and talent shows. And just for laughs, dogs can participate in fun games like musical chairs and fetch.
Details: August 2012, 144 Laneda Ave., Manzanita, Ore. 97130
Photo credit: iStockphoto/bddigitalimages