Washington, D.C. can be quite the dog-eat-dog world. So why not take an hour drive up I-270 and visit a place that has literally gone to our four-legged friends?
Events, live music and a variety of locally owned stores (that stay open extra hours) await you and your pup-tastic sidekick.
A costume contest is just one of the events happening during the Dog Days of Summer event in downtown Frederick — Photo courtesy of Downtown Frederick Partnership
"People love their dogs, and it's fun to have a time when you can not only celebrate your own dog – who we all think is the best ever because it's our dog – but it's also a chance to show off your dog to other folks," says Kara Norman, Downtown Frederick Partnership's executive director. "A lot of people have a great time."
The event runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and there's a Yappy Hour beer garden from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., with live music for you and your perfect pooch to take in.
Get creative, and enter your dog in the annual costume contest. There are three categories: small breeds, large breeds and owner lookalike. You must register to participate, which also earns you a doggie swag bag filled with goodies your dog will adore.
"We do have people who come and just register their dogs and don't intend to participate in the costume contest, just because they want the swag," Norman says.
Downtown Frederick, Md., goes to the dogs during its annual Dog Days of Summer First Saturday event — Photo courtesy of Downtown Frederick Partnership
The Puppy Parade, beginning at 6 p.m. on Carroll Creek, is always a favorite – either to watch to see the variety of different breeds prancing along or to participate in.
Once you've had your fill of festivities, shopping awaits!
Check out the Dancing Bear Toys and Gifts store, which features a wide variety of kid play items that are battery free. (Yes. These toys do exist! It's quite shocking. We know.)
Or head to Lebherz Oil & Vinegar Emporium to sample over 50 varieties of fresh olive oil and aged balsamic vinaigrette on tap.
Or meander through the Curious Iguana, an independent bookstore that features both international and local writers.
Many of the stores in downtown Maryland allow dogs to come in for a visit, and some even keep bowls of clean drinking water outside their front door. Signs on their door proclaiming their dog-friendliness are on some, but if you question it, just pull up the Downtown Frederick Partnership website, which has a paw print beside businesses that allow dogs inside.
While the Dog Days of Summer is held annually, the First Saturday shopping events are celebrated monthly, with different themes such as February's Fire in Ice – showcasing multiple ice sculptures throughout downtown – and Mayfest, featuring sidewalk chalk pictures created by local artists.