Dog festivals are everywhere – and so are festivals allowing dogs.
Dogtrotting.net has been compiling an expanding list of dog events across Canada (and now the U.S.) and that list is expanding yearly to include neighbourhood and regional events filling fields and street parking lots (check out Liberty Village in Toronto here) like pop-up shops celebrating all things canine – and sometimes feline too.
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Local, smaller and more manageable events might be preferable for some reactive pup or aging pups (like my cocker-cross Victor) than the ‘biggest and best’ filling convention centers and mega parks across North America – although I’m an all-afternoon-of-pets and more fan, don’t get me wrong.
But sometimes a quieter shorter stroll among vendors, hay and antique tractors closer to home is all the stimulation a 14-year-old four-legged dude can handle … if the rain holds off.
And it did, at the Harvest Festival in rural Jarvis, Ontario, Canada on September 28, 2019. Not specifically a dog festival, but dogs were welcome. And if Victor was any indication, dogs were a welcome distraction. Volunteers actively recruited anyone with a leash to participate in the 1 pm doggie costume competition.
Victor’s raincoat was mistaken as a ‘costume.’ Alas, that’s his standard overcast-weather-just-got-groomed ensemble. We didn’t stay long enough for the dog parade because Victor has mobility limitations these days.
Harvest Festival, 2050 Highway #6 in Jarvis, Ontario near Port Dover, was held at an agricultural historical site, specifically the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association museum.
The Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association has the mission to preserve farming history through the acquisition of agricultural equipment representing various time periods. Four barns on rural land adjacent to a railway (and near the history Jarvis Train Station once part of the Grand Trunk Rail line) dot the site, host to several fundraising events throughout the year including the annual Heritage Antique Day in August and now Harvest Festival in the fall.
Event dollars keep the site functioning – funds from Harvest Festival specifically are earmarked for train station restoration – and the field lined up with antique tractors. Instagram pics, anyone?
The tractor lot was Victor’s favourite part – he pranced freely between rows despite slowing down recently thanks to age and his ACL brace but on a mission nonetheless. He continued to pace without a moment’s break as we strolled between craft, plant, home goods and bakery vendors, pausing only to purchase cupcakes and baked dog treats from Brantford based Aucoin’s Bake House.
Standing still on the farm was not an option for Victor today. Apparently patches of tall brown grass, farm smells and occasional evidence of other animals keep my pup on the move for a full hour until dark clouds and a need for a nap sent him back to his Solvit Car Cuddler (affiliate link) to head back home.
TRAVEL GUIDE: If you happen to be traveling along Highway #6 between Haldimand and Norfork Counties and your pup needs a stretch break, check out the Jarvis Train Station recently moved to this site – half way between Caledonia and Port Dover.
Open green space surrounds the four barns where the Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Associations stores the equipment, and where your dog can run between tractors far enough from the highway to get a good energy rush. Then get back into the car and head to the beach at Port Dover, Ontario, especially shoulder season when your dog can race along the shore or walk the pier without complaint.
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research.