60th Annual Coon Dog Day Festival In Saluda

Categories: Events, News and Events

You can thank your local hunter for the beginning of Saluda’s Coon Dog Day Festival! Just a short drive from Hendersonville is the quaint country town of Saluda, known for its historic Main Street, great biking, kayaking, tubing, and more. Every summer residents look forward to the Annual Coon Dog Day Festival. But did you know it all began because of the low numbers of racoons in the woods?

The Blue Ridge Coon Club, which was later renamed to the Blue Ridge Coon Dog Association, sought to replenish the low numbers of racoons in the area. A native to Saluda, George Johnson created this association in 1949, but it didn’t really take off in popularity with a parade until 1963. Before that, the association would hold fundraising barbecues each year.

Image Cred: HistoricSaluda.org

Now the event has grown and attracts 15,000 visitors each year from all over Western North Carolina. While the coon dogs are the main attraction at the festival, there is so much more to do, especially for kids. Vendors open along Main Street, along with the public parking lots, as early as 9am.

Here is the schedule of events happening on Saturday, July 8th.

Coon Dog Day 5K Race

The annual Coon Dog Day Festival 5K Race (with no winners and losers) begins at 9am, but you’ll want to arrive between 8 and 9. This is a fundraiser for Saluda Elementary. If you’re interested in running, pick up your entry packet on Friday between 4-7pm at the Saluda Visitor’s Center.

Coon Dog Day Parade

The 60th Annual Coon Dog Day Parade kicks off at 11am so you’ll want to be there early with your chairs to set up along Main Street. The parade consists of firetrucks, classic cars, bagpipe players, homemade floats, local organizations, and of course, coon dogs. There’s no admission fee to watch the parade and it usually wraps up in about 30 to 45 minutes. Spend the rest of the time there enjoying local food, face-painting, checking out the local shops, and more.

Plenty of coon hounds in the parade!

Coon Hound Dog Show

Proud Coon Hound dog owners love to show off their pups at the AKC Registered Coon Hound Dog Show at the McCreery Park Pavilion. The show grades the Coon Dogs on their looks (they’re all cute!) and their ability to hunt. Attendees get to have fun watching the Coon Hounds showcase their abilities. This event begins at 2:30pm.

Evening Music

At the end of the Coon Dog Festival, there is always a performance on the music stage. This is a fun evening to come and enjoy with many local residents. This year’s music starts at 7pm and will run until 9pm. The performers this year are The Stipe Brothers and Dan Ruiz.

Kids enjoying the rides at a previous Coon Dog Day Festival.

Other Notable Things To Do Surrounding The 2023 Saluda Coon Dog Day Festival:

  • Pedal Cars For Kids at 10am in front of the Don Mintz Building
  • Obstacle course & Rock climbing for kids at 10am at the Saluda School tennis courts
  • Fried Chicken lunch at 12pm at the First Baptist Church of Saluda – Only $10 per plate!
  • Slid & Slide opens at 1pm – Free & located across from the Saluda School
  • Big wheel race for both adults and kids at 4pm on Greenville Street
  • Shag and Swing Music goes from 6-8pm
  • The Street Dance starts at 8pm and runs until 11pm.
One of the old classic cars on display at the Coon Dog Day Parade.

If you’re looking to kill some time between events, mosey on over to some of the stores and restaurants in Saluda along Main Street. It’s hard not to appreciate the historic downtown area with the brick buildings and railroad. It was founded in 1878! Definitely check out the MA Pace General Store which includes southern cooking merchandise, fresh produce, old time candy, and even official Saluda Coon Dog Day t-shirts.

The M.A. Pace General Store first opened in 1899!

If you’re going to the Coon Dog Day Parade with kids, we can offer some firsthand experience. This is a lot of fun to watch the dogs, the old cars, let the kids play, grab some fair style food, and get some awesome face painting done. It is July though so expect a rain shower or two to come through. Our advice is to bring an extra shirt and maybe some paper towels as face painting and rain don’t really mix well! If you go to the parade, have some patience with parking and the weather, and you’ll have a really great time.

Lovely face painting at the Coon Dog Dag Festival!

If you decide that you would like to learn more about buying a house for sale in Hendersonville, N.C., or have one you wish to sell, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (828) 423-1401 or by email at [email protected].

Written By: Rob Bowman

About The Author

Rob Bowman of Bowman Marketing has 20 years of experience in advertising luxury items in the boating and yachting industry. He’s been an expert in the marine industry space in search engine optimization, content creation, social media, and overall marketing strategies. He has a client list that includes United Yacht Sales, SI Yachts, Seattle Yachts, Fleming Yachts, Absolute Yachts, and others. Rob now also manages the marketing for HendoLife and all of Ashley’s real estate clientele. Find out more about Rob Bowman professionally on his LinkedIn page.

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