There’s no need to whine about the end of summer. Fall is arguably one of the best times of year to celebrate dog-friendly Maine. Favorite trails will begin to glow as the leaves change and then fall to create a fresh carpet of foliage for four-paw hikers to wade through. As the days begin to get a little shorter, dog-friendly beach hours and rules become more relaxed, and with kids back at school, the harvest event schedule kicks into gear.
Here’s a six-pack of dog-friendly events from Kennebunkport to Boothbay Harbor including furry festival fundraisers, harvest celebrations and Halloween howlers. Go ahead carve out some free time to ruff it up with your social harvest hound.
11 a.m. Sunday, Mother’s Beach, Kennebunk. $20 individuals, $40 families. animalwelfaresociety.org
The Animal Welfare Society does a furry salute to the end of summer with their annual fundraising walk. The day begins at Kennebunk’s dog-friendly Mother’s Beach with music, beach games and photo opportunities. Marching mutts and owners can join the procession on the coastal boardwalk or choose the sandy-paw route. This is AWS’s largest annual fundraising event with Kennebunk Savings serving as the underwriting sponsor. Funds raised benefit the Sadie Fund – a pledge fund named after a surrendered Shih Tzu with multiple medical issues who won the hearts of the shelter staff. The Sadie fund helps pay for medical care for AWS homeless furry friends in need. Registration begins at 9 a.m.
1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Deering Oaks, Park Street, Portland. Free admission. planetdogfoundation.org
Planet Dog is celebrating its 10-year Woofminster anniversary with a new carnival style theme in Deering Oaks park. The afternoon canine carnival is all about celebrating Greater Portland’s dog-loving community and helping the Planet Dog Foundation raise funds for service dogs for military veterans with PTSD. Woofminster loyalists can still expect signature doggie games from musical beds, to a 50 Paw Dash, high jump and the coveted Planet Dog cover dog challenge. For fido-foodies who prefer low-impact ruffing there will be tongue-in-check contests like the Hold-Your-Licker peanut butter eating contest.
The new carnival format will serve-up fun for the whole family with live music from Gunther Brown and The Joint Chiefs, food truck munchies, caricatures, face painting and a bouncy castle for kids. Participating animal rescue groups will be showing off their furry friends as they search for forever families. Event participants can purchase tickets carnival style.
2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 3, Thompson’s Point, Portland; $25 in advance, $30 day of; arlgp.org
The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland is reinventing their annual Paws in the Park dog-friendly fundraising festival with a perfect pairing of furry tails and local ales. This new canine community fall festival is being hosted at Thompson’s Point outdoor venue located on the banks of Portland’s Fore River.
The grassy peninsula will be hopping with local brews, live music, food trucks and fun activities for people and their tail-waggers.
All event proceeds will help Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland to continue their mission to re-home over 4000 furry friends a year because “everyone deserves a happy home.”
Oct. 3 to 12, Damariscotta; damariscottapumpkinfest.com
When Damariscotta turns into pumpkin town during the first few weeks of October, their dog-loving community welcomes well-behaved woofs to join in the celebrations. The general rule is, if the event is held outside, then leashed dogs can attend. The shuttle bus that transports people from satellite parking areas welcomes dog passengers and many local businesses offer water bowls and cookies.
People and their dogs always line the streets to watch Saturday’s Pumpkin Parade, which includes a procession of rescue dogs from Lincoln County Animal Shelter looking to win someone’s heart. On Columbus Day, Schooner Landing Restaurant’s dog-friendly riverside deck offers a great vantage point to dine with your dog and watch the crazy antics of the Pumpkinfest Regatta.
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 10 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11, Boothbay Railway Museum, 586 Wiscasset Road; $4 (children 12 and under and museum members are free); railwayvillage.org
Thanks to Margaret Hoffman, the Boothbay Railway Village’s new executive director, this is the first year that dogs are invited to join in this midcoast fall foliage event that has been hosted on the village’s green for almost half a century. People and their harvest hounds can sniff around the local craft show paired with live music and food and then board the steam train for a rover-friendly ride.
This year, a new pumpkin-carving contest for kids, adults and professional artists has been added to the weekend mix. Your dog might like to pose as you carve his likeness into a pumpkin.
Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, Colony Hotel, Kennebunkport, reservations required; thecolonyhotel.com
Dog-Lovers weekend at The Colony Hotel is the end of season hotel closing party where dogs can really let their fur-down. Friday night begins with cocktails and a silent auction to benefit the Animal Welfare Society.
Saturday’s events include puppy playtime, an agility course and canine couch sessions with Animal Communicator, Sarah Moore. On Saturday evening, the Grand Dining room goes to the dogs with a Halloween Munster Ball complete with a costume contest and paw-tapping dancing. Sunday finishes with a group walk to Walkers Point, photos and then the splashing finale – a pool-closing dog-paddle party.