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APRIL FOOLS: Downtown Harrisonburg Becoming “The Dog-Friendly City”

April 1, 2023 by Emily Winter

While we love our four-legged friends, the dog initiatives below are just a prank. April Fools!

We may have pulled a fast one on you, but your luck is about to change…The Friendly City Fortune Mega Raffle is BACK for 2023!
Check out the $250,000 worth of cash and prizes that are up for grabs on Saturday, July 29, 2023 at, or just click any of the links in post below.

Get ready for a new movement to build Downtown Harrisonburg as a destination where dog-friendly businesses thrive and pets enjoy memorable experiences!

On this twentieth anniversary year, we are delighted to announce a new focus for the future of Downtown Harrisonburg: developing programs and events that are dog-forward as well as welcoming new dog-focused businesses to the Downtown Harrisonburg community. We look forward to working on this new focus to make Harrisonburg known nationally as “The Dog-Friendly City.”

There are many exciting plans in the works, here is an outline of what we want to accomplish with this new initiative starting this Spring:

Dog-Friendly Live Music Events

Live music is a large part of the Downtown Harrisonburg cultural scene and we want our canine members to be able to make memories with our community too! All live music at our free community festivals will exclude high-frequencies to make the experience friendly to canine ears. No dog whistles allowed!

To see a list of dog-friendly performances coming soon, click here.

New Downtown Dog Park

You may have heard a new park is underway in Downtown Harrisonburg and we think our dog citizens are going to be wagging their tails for what we have planned. Modeling off of other dog-friendly communities, we will be installing obstacle courses, ball launchers, tennis ball trees, and water park features to help keep your pups entertained and come together as a dog community.

Do you have an idea to make this park the perfect place for your furry friend? RSVP to one of our upcoming focus group sessions.

Canine Art Walk

A new art series is in the works, made by dogs, for dogs! Twenty fire hydrants will be repurposed and decorated by canine artists and will be set up in an optimal walking path downtown for dogs to sniff, explore and enjoy throughout the entire year.

If you would like to submit your dog as one of twenty community artists, please fill out this interest form.

Doggie Restaurant & Spa

We are thrilled to be welcoming two new dog-focused businesses to Downtown Harrisonburg this fall! Joining our culinary community is Wagz, a restaurant that provides a five-star, farm-to-table dining experience for both you and your pet. Need some pampering? Also coming this year is Baths & Boops, a doggie day spa offering deep cleaning, massages, and bacon-scented mud wraps for your pup. Follow them on Facebook for updates.


HDR is truly focused on making sure that dogs are the center of our future vision, which is why we are excited to announce our new cohort of intern pooches for the summer. Welcome to the HDR team Barley, Sprout, George, and Ozzie to the team. We look forward to getting your input on these and other initiatives.

We are hiring fall dog interns! Fill out an application here.