Pet-friendly festivals were a huge hit this summer, but just because the temperature outside is dropping doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Whenever Fido’s finished launching himself into your carefully arranged pile of leaves, you’re both cordially invited to enjoy great music, delicious food and spooky celebrations at these fantastic fall festivals. Well-behaved, leashed dogs are welcome to attend all of these events for free.
Plymouth Fall Festival Plymouth, MI
The first Plymouth Fall Festival was held in 1956 to raise money for new playground equipment. Over the years, it has grown into a fall celebration that overtakes Plymouth’s downtown area. The weekend's events range from live music and bingo to an antique and classic car show, but what the crowds are really there for is the hotly contested Plymouth Optimist Club Pet Show. This is an interspecies competition, so your pooch will have to beat out cats, reptiles, fish, rabbits and rodents to win top dog honors. Categories include largest, smallest, shortest, tallest, longest and shortest ears and tail, most unusual, best costume and best trick. If he loses the best trick category to a fish, it might be time to take Fido to a trainer.
Mont Sutton Fall Festival Sutton, QC
Fall is marked by the dramatically changing colors of foliage, and the Mont Sutton Fall Festival is the quintessential celebration of this awesome natural display. Located in Quebec, this gorgeous mountain town is known mainly for the skiing opportunities. During the fall season, however, it welcomes thousands of visitors to enjoy stunning views of the brown, red and gold tapestry surrounding the Eastern Townships. Dogs and their owners are welcome to join two daily organized hikes leading to scenic overlooks, enjoy camping trips under the leaves, or even ride on the chairlift as long as Fido is comfortable in your lap.
Mont Sutton Fall Festival will be held in and around Mont Sutton from September 14 through October 13, 2019. Stay in a unique cozy log cabin or comfortable yurt during this year’s festival at nearby Huttopia Sutton.
Beaverdale Fall Festival Des Moines, IA
Bring Fido’s camping chair and enjoy a couple of days’ worth of fun-filled activities on the poppin’ streets of Beaverdale, Des Moines. The Beaverdale Fall Festival and Dog Parade includes a talent show, arts and crafts vendors, and a gathering of classic cars on Friday night. But the real reason why Beaverdale Fall Festival draws such a large crowd each year is because of the dog parade. Snookies Malt Shop, one of the most pet-friendly ice cream parlors in America, hosts this dog-centric romp through the high street in honor of the parlor’s lip-smacking treat, the Puppy Cone. All shapes and sizes of dog and human are invited to wear a costume in an attempt to win one of the categories, like Best Look-Alike and Best Team Spirit.
Beaverdale Fall Festival will be held in Beaverdale, Des Moines, on September 21, 2019. Extend your visit to Des Moines with a stay at the Ramada Tropics Resort & Conference Center. While Fido’s in his room dreaming of his time on the podium, you can go for a dip in the hotel's indoor water park.
Albino Skunk Festival Greer, SC
The Albino Skunk Festival in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a pet-friendly celebration like no other. Located at Skunk Farm, loyal skunk-heads have been attending this mountain affair since 1995. This backwoods bash offers a lineup of acoustic music, including sets from Americana, Folk, Alt Country, Acoustic, Roots and Bluegrass artists. There are several local craft vendors who join in the fun, selling items ranging from tie-dyed shirts to jewelry and original art. The food is provided by local bakers, crab connoisseurs and Mexican food specialists. Dogs are welcome throughout the festival and in camping areas.
The Albino Skunk Festival will take place on Skunk Farm in Greer from October 3-5, 2019. if you don't feel like camping at the event, you can reserve nearby pet-friendly accommodations for the weekend.
La Jolla Art & Wine Festival La Jolla, CA
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. Entering its 11th year in 2019, this celebration gives a platform to more than 150 artists from across the U.S. and Mexico. 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. Fido will love the PUP RUFFreshment Station sponsored by Veterinary Specialty Hospital. The booth is stocked with treats, fresh water, a shaded area and even a slobbery kissing booth. Last year’s festival matched 60 pups with their forever homes, and the canine experts at the booth can give you a rundown on the 15 adoption stations throughout the festival.
La Jolla Art & Wine Festival will be held on October 12 and 13, 2019. 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.
New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival Laconia, NH
A glowing wall of jack-o'-lanterns looming 34 feet into the sky illuminates Laconia’s high street during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival. This two-day gathering sees more than 40,000 attendees take to the streets to marvel at the amazing pumpkin wall. Elsewhere in the festival, visitors can partake in pumpkin bowling, enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride and devour a pumpkin-based bite from one of 60 vendors in attendance. Pumpkins are great for a dog’s digestion and can even aid in weight loss, so perhaps it is okay if you get a third helping, Fido. To get around Laconia during the festivities, hop on the WOW Trail. This multi-use trail links Lakeport to downtown Laconia and provides 4.25 miles of continuous pet-friendly pathway.
The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival will be held in Laconia on October 18 and 19, 2019. Pack your bags and enjoy New Hampshire's pretty fall colors from the Naswa Resort. Located directly on Lake Winnipesaukee, its central location makes it ideal for festival-goers. The popular resort offers canine guests access to the water, dog treats, beds and bowls.
Mush, Music and Mutts Shelby, NC
The Mush, Music and Mutts Festival in Shelby brings together traditional food, modern brews and festive two- and four-legged friends. If you’re feeling brave, you can enter the Livermush Eating Contest. How much of the southern delicacy can you keep down? There’s also a chili cook-off for more mainstream palates. The main attraction for Fido is the Pet Festival. Pups can enter a costume contest and parade through town with other dapper dogs, outwit fellow mutts in musical sit, and show off their best flips in the trick contest. After all that fun, it’s time to cool off with a dog beer and watch the Shelby Police Department K9 Team perform some tricks of their own.
Mush, Music and Mutts will be held on October 18 and 19 in Uptown Shelby, NC. Book a weekend stay at one of these pet-friendly hotels nearby and attend both days of the fun festival.
Scott’s Addition Pumpkin Festival Richmond, VA
Scott’s Addition has fast become one of the hippest neighborhoods in Richmond, VA. Bring Fido to Scott’s Addition Pumpkin Festival, where you can try the area's famed local brews, listen to local bands perform and grab a bite from a variety of food trucks. Dogs and their owners are invited to dress up in their most inventive outfits to try and bag a prize in the annual costume contest. To enter, register at the Project Local Tent between noon and 2 p.m.
Scott’s Addition Pumpkin Festival will be held on October 19. After the festivities, treat Fido to a night at The Jefferson Hotel, one of Richmond’s grandest pet-friendly properties.
Diwali is honored by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists around the world. The Nepalese version of the five-day festival of lights is called Tihar, which includes Kukur Tihar, a day to celebrate the special bond that we share with dogs. This year’s festivities take place on Monday, October 28. Participants honor canines with wreaths of fresh flowers placed around the neck and a red mark on the forehead, both to symbolize the dignity of the animals. The best part of the festival is the feast, especially for stray pups. A buffet of deep-fried sel roti, eggs, milk, meat and dog food is laid out for family hounds and strays alike. If you can’t make it to Nepal for Kukur Tihar, celebrate by volunteering at your local animal shelter for the day or consider adopting a Nepalese pup.
Kukur Tihar is celebrated around the world on October 28, 2019. Make a pilgrimage to where it all started and book a stay at a pet-friendly hotel in Nepal!
Rural Hill Sheepdog Trials and Dog Festival Huntersville, NC
Fido can breathe a sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that the Sheepdog and Dog Sports Competitions are fully booked for this year’s Rural Hill Sheepdog Trials and Dog Festival. That doesn’t mean he can’t admire the highly trained athletes competing while he enjoys gourmet treats and browses the swag stalls. Trained dogs show what they can do in different levels of herding and agility trials, dock diving, and a range of other sports demos. There are many other activities to enjoy, too.
If you’re still holding onto your leftover pumpkin from the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival, bring it along for a Pumpkin Chunkin’! The Rural Hill catapult will fling your moldy jack-o’-lantern 40 feet into the air before it lands in a heap for the Highland cattle to enjoy when the festival is over. After you’ve gotten rid of your pumpkin baggage, enjoy a pet-friendly hayride or get lost in the Maize Maze together.
Rural Hill Sheepdog Trials and Dog Festival will be held at Historic Rural Hill on November 9 and 10, 2019. Check out these pet-friendly hotels for a longer vacation in the outdoor hub of Huntersville, NC.
Whether you’re enamored by the changing colors of the trees or counting down the days until another happily horrifying Halloween, there are many memorable ways to mark this fall. If you’re more excited by the prospect of a jug of pilsner and a wiener dog race, check out these wunderbar pet-friendly Oktoberfests!