Paris Permenter, along with her husband, John Bigley, is the co-author of Texas with Dogs and the founder of PawZaar.com.
April means a shower of dog festivals, especially in the Southern and Western States as communities fetch some fun before the hot weather sets in. These dog-friendly events welcome your dog and are a great way to wag in the season! Be sure to check with each for entry requirements including proof of immunizations.
1. Throughout April
Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest, Woodburn, Oregon
A perennial favorite among fans of both flowers and Fidos, your tail-wagging chum can tip toe through 40 acres of tulips at a festival that brings a hint of Holland to the Pacific Northwest.
2. Throughout April
Arizona Diamondbacks Dog-Friendly Games, Phoenix, Arizona
Baseball buffs and their barking buddies can watch the Arizona Diamondbacks play ball at each home game of the season, starting in April. While watching the D-Backs lick the competition on the baseball diamond your dog can lick pet-friendly ice cream topped with kibble!
3. April 2
Doggy Party On The Plaza, Houston, Texas
A fete to celebrate our four-legged friends, Doggy Party on the Plaza in Houston is a real treat complete with Fidos on floats in the Rescue Me Parade, adorable adoptables at Rescue Row, costume contests, demonstrations and over 80 vendors.
4. April 2
Nashville Outdoor Recreation Festival And Expo, Nashville, Tennessee
Ready to embark on an adventure with your four-pawed pal? Attend the Nashville Outdoor Recreation Festival and Expo, where you can stroll with Spot in a guided hike at Bells Bend Park and listen to some toe-tapping (and tail-wagging!) live music.
5. April 3
Dog Bowl At The Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
Scoring a touchdown in the hearts of pet parents, each April football-loving fur babies huddle at the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium. Your dog can unleash his inner gridiron giant with a romp on the field, and the event is a real game changer for adoptables from area rescue groups who dream of becoming a MVP (Most Valuable Pup) on a forever family’s home team.
6. April 9
10th Annual Woofstock Dog Festival™, Roanoke, Virginia
Enjoy live music, shop for dog goodies, and more on the banks of the Roanoke River.
7. April 9
Pet Palooza Festival & Walk for the Animals, Charlotte, North Carolina
The fun starts with a 2K fundraising dog walk and continues with a day of doggie contests, a dog agility demonstration, a beer garden, and more, all to benefit the Humane Society of Charlotte.
8. April 9-10
Houston Pet Expo, Pasadena, Texas
Your dog can try his luck at lure chasing at this Texas-sized expo, which also features contests and seminars throughout both days.
9. April 16-17
Phoenix Pet Expo, Scottsdale, Arizona
Here’s your chance to play Dog Musical Chairs—or just tap your toes as you watch the Arizona Canine Musical Freestylers.
10. April 22-23
Georgia Renaissance Festival, Fairburn, Georgia
Huzzah! Pups can find themselves in the presence of the past during the Pet-Friendly Weekend of The Georgia Renaissance Festival in Fairburn. Canines in retro wear ranging from court jesters to King Henry VIII will vie for prizes in the Pet Costume Contest.
11. April 23-24
19th Annual Buda Country Fair and Wiener Dog Races, Buda, Texas
We were shocked at the number of people attending this event (so many that we had to leave our car and hop a bus to the fair grounds). But we shouldn’t have been surprised. Wiener dogs. A barbecue cook-off. A bake-off. A pet parade. Who could resist?
12. April 24
Humane Society Of El Paso K-9 Classic, El Paso, Texas
Get your pooch to pucker up and win the Best Kisser contest, one of several special events at this annual fundraiser.
13. April 30-May 1
Tampa Bay Pet Expo, Tampa, Florida
Listen for the applause—that’s your cue that the Pet Costume Contest, judged by the audience response, is underway, just one of many events throughout the weekend.
14. April 29-May 1
Daffodil Festival On Nantucket, Nantucket, Massachusetts
You’ll find a virtual bouquet of fun activities for people (from an assemblage of antique autos to a wine tasting event) but also for your four-legged travel companion. Canines in costumes can promenade (and possibly win a prize!) in the Daffy Dog Parade.
15. April 30
Paws On The Path, Honolulu, Hawaii
Put some spring in your dog’s step this spring and join the Hawaiian Humane Society’s Paws On the Path hiking club for a dog walk along the Makiki Loop Trail.
16. April 30
Bark-B-Que, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A fundraiser that offers food for thought along with tasty treats, the Pennsylvania SPCA is marking National Adopt A Shelter Dog Day with a Bark-B-Que event. Pooches can pose for the paw-parazzi on the red carpet and pet parents can bid on items in a silent auction all to help the paws cause.