Do Dah Day combines a festival atmosphere with pet-centric philanthropy in Birmingham’s Highland Park neighborhood. It’s also the year’s best excuse for a dog costume and one of the city’s favorite traditions.
Like many Birmingham favorites, it began in an impromptu way: “In 1979, a small group of friends got together and decided to have a party — or so the story goes — and Do Dah Day was born,” says the Do Dah Day website. “Soon Do Dah Day was no longer a party — it had become an all-out festival.”
These days, the festival’s spread across both Caldwell and Rhodes parks gives it a nicely indigenous feel and a varied experience. Caldwell Park tends to feel more action-packed, but that might just be the giant, blow-up bungee station talking. Neighboring Rhodes Park, meanwhile, is a great spot to grab a beer and share a picnic blanket with your pet. Kid-friendly activities abound, including the aforementioned bungee experience, plus Do Dah organizers promise face painting, McWane Center-led crafting, and more at Rhodes. In other words, it’s your basic fun for all ages.
It always feels like a Saturday in Highland Park, and Do Dah Day takes that feeling to its logical extreme. It’s an actual Saturday in the parks with all the classic weekend entertainment you can imagine. Besides lazing around outdoors, you can hear an entire music line up across two stages and watch a delightfully ridiculous parade. The experience is pretty cute and cuddly all around, so it’s fitting that proceeds benefit furry friends.
It’s fitting, as well, that Do Dah Day shares a neighborhood with Rojo. Best we can recall, Highland Park’s Rojo debuted the bring-your-dog-with-you brand of an afternoon out in polite company. Dog lovers should definitely take this as a sign: You’ll really love Highland Park.