Coon Dog Day

Coon Dog Day Festival

July 8, 2017
The tiny town of Saluda (700 residents) welcomes 10,000+ visitors for Coon Dog Day. The very fun, quirky street festival in Saluda celebrates the loyal pet used for many years for hunting and known for their unique bark and amazing sense of smell. The celebration held for 50+ years includes a parade, music, street fair with art and food and dog judging. While many street festivals discourage dogs, this one loves them! It's about 35 miles southeast of Asheville. (We took all of these photos in 2017.)

Coon Dog Day Festival, Saluda

The festivities kick off early at 8 AM on Main Street with the 5K race through town. Folks bring chairs early to claim a shady spot for the 11 AM parade that features bagpipes, homemade floats, fire trucks, antique tractors, hillbilly cars, King and Queen, and plenty of coon dogs. It's the highlight of the day, lasting about 30 minutes. The day ends with the street dance that wraps up at 11 PM. Admission is free.

Coon Dog Day Parade

Coon dogs are the stars in the parade and after. The dog judging starts at 1 PM with the Bench Show for looks and style standing still. At 3 PM is the treeing contest with dogs chasing a fake raccoon. The winner has the most number of barks in 30 seconds. Dogs are welcome to join in the fun as long as they are leashed. Get your official Coon Dog Day t-shirt at the historic Thompsons Store.

Coon Dog Day Adoption

Meet many dogs up for adoption from several agencies at the festival.

Schedule Highlights

  • 7 AM: Breakfast for $6 at the Masonic Lodge on Ozone Drive. The Blood Connection onsite for donations until Noon.
  • 8 AM: Coon Dog Day 5K Race/Fun Walk. Register on Friday, July 7, 5-7 PM at Saluda City Hall. Or Saturday morning 6:30-7:30 AM.
  • 8 AM-11 PM: Main Stage Entertainment and vendors along Main Street
  • 10 AM: Pedal Cars for the Kids in front of Don Mintz Builders office on Main Street and Obstacle Course & Rock Climbing Wall on the Saluda School tennis courts
  • 11 AM: Famous Parade with lots of personality
  • 12 Noon: Lunch at First Baptist Church of Saluda on Carolina Street. Fried chicken with all the fixings for $10 per plate.
  • 1 PM: Slip & Slide across the street from the Saluda School on US Highway 176. Free
  • 2:30 PM: American Kennel Club Licensed Show in the Pavilion at McCreery Park. Treeing Contest immediately following Show.
  • 4 PM: Big Wheel Race Adults and Kids on Greenville St.
  • 6-8 PM: Shag and Swing Music
  • 8-11 PM: Street Dance

Coon Dog Day Festival NC

Find many goodies to buy for dogs and their owners!

Saluda General Store

Don't forget to explore all the cool shops, general store and galleries in downtown Saluda. Parking for Coon Dog Day is scattered around downtown in many lots (look for signs) including the local school, churches and fire department. Many of these organizations use it as a fundraiser with $10 parking that includes a golf cart ride right to the festivities. 

Read more about Saluda and other things to do. And see our other Top Summer Festivals.

Directions from Asheville: Take I-26 East about 35 miles to Exit 59.

Coon Dog Day, Saluda NC

Watch Our Video of Parade Highlights

History
In 1949, the Blue Ridge Coon Dog Association was organized to replenish the local raccoon population, which had dwindled to almost nothing. By the late 1950s the club was holding a fundraising barbecue each year on the first Saturday after the 4th of July. Proceeds were used to restock the woods with ‘coons. The popularity of the barbecues, and the success of the “Old Prospector” parade that had celebrated the opening of the Rock and Mineral Museum in 1962, convinced the club to try their own annual parade beginning in 1963. Coon Dog Day was wildly successful, and the event has grown over the decades.

Places to Stay

Orchard Inn
This historic inn is an elegant mountaintop retreat with peaceful views and graceful porches for relaxation. Stay in a B&B room or cottage. And dine at their romantic Newman’s restaurant for a delicious farm-to-table dinner and Sunday brunch. Listed on the National Historic Register. 9 rooms, 5 cottages, $150-$315, pet... read more
Cabin Rental Polk County
Cabin & Cottage Rentals: Tryon, Saluda & Columbus
Find a log cabin, condo or cottage vacation rentals by ponds or with mountain views in the First Peak of the Blue Ridge - many options near the Tryon International Equestrian Center.
Inns in Tryon
B&Bs & Inns: Tryon, Saluda & Columbus
Find a great vareity of historic B&Bs and inns in the towns of Tryon, Saluda and Columbus, the First Peak of the Blue Ridge. Includes award-winning Pine Crest Inn and Orchard Inn with exquisite dining.

We love exploring our cool small towns nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, filled with historic buildings with a mix of longtime family operated stores and restaurants,... read more
Pearson's Falls is a gorgeous 90-foot tall waterfall that cascades down a staircase of rock. It is accessed via a 1/4-mile easy hiking trail that follows the brook with several picnic tables along... read more
Asheville is vying for yet another title, Dog City USA. We are lucky to have so many hotels, restaurants and breweries that love dogs - a long history of being very... read more