Many two-legged mountain residents share their lives with four-legged friends. It’s easy to take your furry family members on mountain hikes or find pet-friendly restaurants in the area. But many local events are not pet friendly.
If you’re planning to take your pet to a local street festival or community event, it’s always best to check on who’s allowed. But luckily, there are still many local events that are not only pet friendly, but are designed specifically for our four-legged friends. And our agents, who are pet lovers and pet owners themselves, know where and when to find them.
We asked them: Where are the best pet-friendly events in WNC?
The weekend after the 4th of July, the town of Saluda hosts Coon Dog Day. Now in its 56th year, this year’s festival is on Saturday, July 6 and features baying contests, food, crafts, and a fantastic parade. Bring your four-legged companions and be ready for them to make some new friends, as the streets are teeming with dogs of all makes and models. While you are there, take the opportunity to visit the historic train depot and museum dedicated to the Saluda Grade, the steepest railroad grade in the US. Or head over and tube down the Green River to cool off on a hot summer day!
Sarge’s Annual Downtown Dog Walk takes place every August. The Downtown Dog Walk scene is a wonderful blend of tail wagging and smiles, as dogs and their humans congregate on the courthouse lawn and strut their stuff in a parade down the middle of Main Street. The fundraiser supports the homeless dogs and cats of Haywood County and is a much-loved community event. The parade brings hundreds of dogs and their families to Waynesville’s Main Street. Sarge’s volunteers also bring some of the many dogs available for adoption.
Bark in the Park in Sylva is a good annual event. Sarge’s Downtown Dog Walk usually has between 200 and 300 dogs parading down Main Street in Waynesville. We put on the Haywood Square Block Party at The Dog House in conjunction with The Whole Blooming Thing in Waynesville, which are both pet friendly. Waynesville recently lifted its dog ban on Main Street events, so this coming event season will be more pet friendly than ever.
Share a special experience with your beloved pet and go to the Blessing of the Animals at Trinity Episcopal Church in Asheville. It is held as part of the St. Francis Day Celebration in October. While they don’t promise perfect post-blessing behavior, the service is always full of joy, laughter, barks, and meows. It’s a reminder of the gift of an animal’s companionship.
Since Coon Dog Day in Saluda is all about the “dogs and their people,” you have the ultimate festival that includes dogs. I will offer that the annual Saluda Arts Festival (May 18 this year) is pet-friendly as long as pets are on leashes.