Pups and Pumpkins: 8 Cant-Miss Fall Parties

Posted by Billy Francis

Hot dogs everywhere have had to endure one of the warmest summers on record. Fortunately, fall is here, which means less huddling around the A/C and more outdoor fun in cooler temperatures. These fall dog parties invite you and your “gourd” boy to make hay and celebrate the colorful coziness of harvest time together.

Fall Dog Party at Dog Mountain

St. Johnsbury, VT
Play fetch in the fall fields. Photo by Mercy

A featured attraction in the 2021 edition of our Ruff Guide to the United States, dog lovers come to St. Johnsbury from all around the world to celebrate and remember their beloved furry friends that have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Sit on one of the hand-carved pews inside the chapel at Dog Mountain, surrounded by photos of passed dogs and handwritten messages their families tacked onto the walls in memoriam. Dogs are free to run, play, and swim wherever they’d like in this 150-acre doggy paradise. The only rule is to leave your leash at the door!

One of the best times to visit is during the glorious New England fall, when Fido can make new friends at the Fall Dog Party and Anniversary Celebration at Dog Mountain. This year, they’re marking the 20th anniversary of Dog Mountain with a free event full of live music, food, dog contests, agility courses and more.

Located just 13 miles from Dog Mountain, the Wildflower Inn is situated on 570 acres of bucolic Vermont farmland in Lyndonville. After enjoying the innkeepers’ signature buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh-from-the-orchard maple syrup, you and your pooch can work off your meal by exploring the vast woods and meadows surrounding the quaint, pet-friendly bed-and-breakfast.

Scarecrow Fest - Dog Weekend

Frankenmuth, MI
“Did somebody say treat?” Photo by Frankenmuth River Place Shops

If you missed the toast at Frankenmuth Oktoberfest, you can still soak in the atmosphere of the Bavarian-themed town at Scarecrow Fest - Dog Weekend. The first weekend of festivities is a delightfully dog-centric celebration with six shows from the incredible Rock N Roll K-9 performance team. Not all canines are born to execute amazing tricks in front of big crowds; some are meant to vogue. Pre-register your pooch for the costume contest at Hello Cats & Dogs, then join the parade of contestants through the streets of the festival. While you’re in town, cruise with your canine on The Bavarian Belle Riverboat down the Cass River and learn more about the history of the region.

Settle down for the night at the Hubinger House, where you can hang out with your hound in the hammocks outside and grill up a brat on the BBQ.

Fall Fair

Savannah, GA
"I'm ready to gobble gobble." Photo by Facebook.com/HSGSav

Celebrate the season of pumpkin-flavored treats while raising money for the Humane Society for Greater Savannah at the fun-filled Fall Fair. Leashed dogs are welcome to join their owners on a sampling tour of local vendors and food trucks. Dress your best friend to impress and enter one of the costume contests, including best people and pet theme, and best DIY costume. The event is free to enter, but “pawticipants” need to pay $5 to strut their mutt stuff in the contest.

Swap the costume for a dressing gown and relax at the popular and pet-friendly Tru by Hilton Savannah Midtown.

La Jolla Art & Wine Festival

La Jolla, CA
"I'm the real work of art here." Photo by Facebook.com/LJAWF

One of San Diego’s preeminent seaside communities invites people and pets to enjoy fine wine and admire incredible artwork at the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival. Giving a platform to more than 150 artists from across the U.S. and Mexico, you and your pooch are invited to marvel at the original paintings, sculpture, jewelry, fine glass, ceramics, woodwork and photography on display. One thing that will make you look like an art critic, even if you can’t tell a "Pugcasso" from a Maltese, is a glass of fine wine. The wine and beer garden boasts offerings from 40 international wineries, local craft breweries and distilleries. Also working the festival is Sip 'N' Drool, which aims to pair dogs and cats with forever homes by placing adoption stations throughout the festivities. The last time the festival was held, 60 animals were rehomed.

After the festival, enjoy a few more days in this picturesque west coast city with a stay at La Valencia Hotel. This oceanfront hotel welcomes dogs and cats with treats, pet beds and bowls.

Annual Fall Festival

Bolingbrook, IL
"No, I won't forgive you for this." Photo by Facebook.com/ThePromenade

Bring your leaf-loving Labrador to one of America’s coolest pet-friendly malls, The Promenade Bolingbrook. Located a short drive from downtown Chicago, the shopping center’s Annual Fall Festival is a great way to celebrate harvest season with your hound. The mall offers 26 pet-friendly stores to visit, so you can shop ‘til he plops. There are doggie potty stations placed on different levels around the mall to offer pet relief when needed. Reward your patient pup with a bite to eat from It’s So Fluffy, a bakery for dogs.

Aloft Bolingbrook is located near the mall and offers convenient grassy relief areas.

Harvest Festival

Johns Island, SC
Fun in the sun with the family. Photo by @charlestoncountyparks

Join the “pup-kins” for the Harvest Festival on South Carolina’s largest island, Johns Island. Taking place at Johns Island County Park, live bluegrass provides the soundtrack for pumpkin decorating, archery and more. Food offerings include Carolina BBQ and kettle corn. Don’t forget to shop the vendors for holiday-themed gifts and treats. If Fido needs a break from the crowds, crunch through the leaves along miles of pretty pet-friendly trails throughout the park.

Stay on the island overnight in the adorable Li’l Blue Cottage, with a fenced backyard and bags provided for convenient cleanup.

WuffStock Festival "A Celebration of Dogs"

Lake City, FL
“Does he have a license?” Photo by Facebook.com/CovenantPetTrust

Florida isn’t known for crisp weather, sweaters and trees turning an array of colors, but you can still have fun with your pup in the Sunshine State this fall. WuffStock Festival "A Celebration of Dogs'' in Lake City pays fitting tribute to our four-legged friends and the joy they bring to our lives. Run together in a 5k, visit rescue organizations to meet adoptable pets, sniff out the best vendors, and enter one of the many exciting events for all sizes and breeds. Categories include agility, best costume, oldest dog in the crowd, smooching pooches and best nose.

Cook up a feast for Fido in the outdoor summer kitchen, then cool off in the pool at Mike’s Place.

Circleville Pumpkin Show

Circleville, OH
"Ready for anything." Photo by Facebook.com/TheCirclevillePumpkinShow

Circleville Pumpkin Show is a fall fiesta spread over four days. The pumpkin-packed event will feature competitions, floats, parades, live music, vendors, and a big wheel race, but the main event for the canine community is a hotly contested pet parade with awards for unusual pets, biggest packs of pups, best dressed dog and even a category for cats. Don’t forget to register for the parade via the website by October 13.

Pups who want to “leaf” the part early will relish some alone time at this secluded Hocking Hills log cabin.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Photo by Linda Segerfeldt


The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the best dog-friendly things to do across the country. And we've assembled it all in our new book, Ruff Guide to the United States.

Now in its second edition, the book features over 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Order your copy today and save 50% off the retail price when you use the discount code PARTY.

Are you attending a fall dog party with your best friend? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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