Young pups may find this hard to believe, but dogs used to haveit ruff. Their personal space was limited to house and yard, perhaps a nightly walk around the block tethered to a leash, maybe a once-yearly car ride to the veterinarian for shots and undignified probing. Canine culture today means specialized car seats for outings not only to the dog park, but for accompanying their people to hardware stores, coffee and ice-cream shops, and brew pubs. Smaller pooches are carted about in designer bags or paraded in strollers. It’s a dog’s world, and humans make it go round and round.
Its recent sprucing up notwithstanding, Hendersonville’s Historic Seventh Avenue District started going to the dogs last year, and the town couldn’t be happier about it. The second annual Tails in Town event this month is expected to draw hundreds of locals and visitors to the revitalized area for an event tailored to the four-legged members of the family.
“The city had been looking to produce a dog-friendly event for some time,” says Bryan Byrd, marketing consultant for WTZQ and the event’s facilitator. For six years, he helped implement “Barq in the Parq” near Upward Road. “Partnering to create a bigger event in a much better location made perfect sense,” he says. “We got a better venue, and Hendersonville got an opportunity to shine a light on that part of downtown. It was a win-win.”
Especially for animals seeking forever families in Henderson County. “At its heart, the purpose of this event has always been adoption,” Byrd emphasizes. “Five nonprofit rescue organizations will be on site this year, and all will have animals available to take home.”
The day kicks off at 8 am at the Historic Depot off of 7th Avenue with Strut Your Mutt, a 5K run/walk for people and pooches, as well as a fundraiser for the nonprofits; participants select which of the five they would like their $30 entry fee directed to.
Competitive canines can also strut their style in the Pet Costume Pageant that takes place on the WTZQ stage and will crown winners in four categories: Cutest, Best Dressed, Silliest, and Best of Show. Many of the 50 vendors whose booths will line Maple Street specialize in pet services, such as the artist who sketches pets on the spot, and a photographer bringing his mobile studio to capture fur-baby closeups. Splash stations, grassy shaded areas, and plenty of clean-water dispensers will keep hot dogs cool and comfortable.
Humans can chow down at food trucks and stay hydrated in the Southern Appalachian Brewery beer garden, with proceeds there also going to the rescue groups. “Partnering with the city opened up the festival and made it more engaging for people who don’t have pets,” says Byrd. “They might go home with one!”
Tails in Town happens Saturday, July 27, 8am-2pm, at the
Historic Depot on Maple Street in downtown Hendersonville’s 7th Avenue district. To register for Strut Your Mutt, the Pet Costume Pageant, and for more information, see www.wtzq.com/tails-in-town.