51st Saluda Coon Dog Day a Howling Good Time

What started in 1963 as a little get-together of the local Coon Hound Club has grown into a WNC tradition that draws over 15,000 fun-lovers of all ages. This year, the 51st Annual Coon Dog Day will be on Saturday, July 5th. As usual, there will be a 5K race, merchandise vendors, food vendors, live music, dancing, and a parade with classic cars, fantastic floats, and who knows what all.

Energetic locals and visitors can run in the 5K race, the first of the day’s events, starting at 8am.  Less ambitious types can watch, cheer and applaud as contestants run through Saluda’s downtown. Then they could wander to the Masonic Lodge to enjoy a leisurely, hearty, benefit breakfast of eggs, grits, sausage or bacon, and biscuits and gravy for $6. If the mood strikes them when they are finished, they can stroll over to the 5K awards ceremony starting at 9:45am.

Coon Dog Day wouldn’t be Coon Dog Day, of course, without some actual Coon Dog events. And there will be some at the Saluda School Ball Field sponsored by the Central Carolina Benefit Coon Club. The first of the events, at 1pm, will be an AKC bench competition. The last of the Coon Dog events, at 8pm, will be a night hunt. In between, at 3pm, there will be a treeing contest. (Note: While someone suggested that the Coon Dogs tree a politician, the Saluda Municipal Clerk told PetGazette that that would not be the case.)

At 10:45am the Dancers Extension will present a dazzling performance. That should warm up the growing crowd before the start of the annual Coon Dog Day Parade. Saludan posters describe it as a homegrown, ‘anything goes’ version of a parade. That’s probably because of the way the parade has organically evolved over the years. Paradersjust show up at the intersection of Ozone Drive and Thompson Road/Louisiana Avenue by 10am to get organized by officers. There are no entry fees or applications. The result is that parade watchers don’t know exactly what to expect, although beautifully restored cars and highly creative floats have become standard and highly popularparade participants.

Live music will be a nearly non-stop part of Coon Dog Day, starting at 12:30pm and lasting until 11pm. In between will be performances by five musical groups. The trio Life Size will lead off the day’s musical offerings, followed by Theater of the Mind with a blend of original and classic rock.

At 3:40pm the Folsom Prison Gang will take the stage to play familiar Johnny Cash numbers. Then the Ryan Perry Band, house band for 99.9 Kiss Country, will present two hours of “country with an edge”. Finally, starting around 8pm, the Lonesome Road Band will provide the sounds behind Coon Dog Day’s annual Night Street Dance, including square dances called by local Archie Hardy.

Parking for Coon Dog Day will be at the Party Place & Event Center. The parking fee of $10 includes old-fashioned trolley transportation for everyone in the vehicle to and from the festival.

For more information about this WNC tradition, go to City of Saluda’s website at www.cityofsaluda.com. Most of your questions can be answered there, but if you don’t find what you’re looking for call the city office at 828 749-2581. And tell them PetGazette sent you.