You can’t keep a good dog down, and you can’t keep a festival centered around dogs down, either.
Dog Days of Summer Festival, which debuted in Milton in 2019 before being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set to return on Saturday, Sept. 18.
Founded by Inn The Doghouse owners Annette Babich and Mal Meehan, the festival brings together music, vendors and the potential to go home with your very own furry friend through on-site pet adoptions conducted by Doggone Happy Animal Rescue.
“We’re excited. We were trying to do it last year, but we felt like we couldn’t put on a show with a nice experience. This year feels hopeful. Hopefully, it will be bigger and better,” Babich said.
She said this year’s event will be an hour longer, lasting from 2 to 7 p.m., and will have four bands on the newly built stage. Proceeds from the event will be split among Doggone Happy Animal Rescue, Milton Community Food Pantry and Milton Fire Department. In 2019, the festival raised $7,500 for charity.
Babich and Meehan said this year they wanted to curate the vendors a bit more to focus on local artisans. The duo decided not to do food trucks this year, but instead have food vendors.
While vendors and adoptions are what Dog Days is built around, new for this year is the tiki bar stage built by Tiki Murph in Milford. The 20-foot-diameter stage is oriented to face the largest part of the yard, so visitors will get a good view of the bands, which this year will include J.C. Andersen, Pawnshop Roses, Hot Sauce Band and Lower Case Blues. Meehan said they hope in the future to use the stage for other events, including music and theater performances.
Babich and Meehan said the timing was right to bring the event back, as COVID-19 related restrictions on outdoor gatherings begin to lift.
“I think people are going to be out because they are looking for activity ... they have been cooped up in the house for a year. With people getting vaccinated, you feel a level of comfort being out and about,” Babich said.
Meehan said the event will still have to follow state COVID guidelines, including masks, sanitary stations, social distancing, contact tracing and hand sanitizer at every booth.
For more information and tickets to Dog Days of Summer Festival, visit dogdaysofsummerfestival.com and follow on Facebook and Instagram.