Please, leave your pets at home!

The American Folk Festival wants to remind visitors that the festival is not the place to bring pets of any kind. And the festival has seen them all, including a leashed lizard one year. But, of course, dogs are the most popular pets to bring. Festival Executive Director Heather McCarthy noted that while the festival site is big, when you pack in thousands of people, it can get tight.

“It’s not so big that we’ve really got room for dogs to do all the things that dogs do — with room for the humans, too,” McCarthy said. “There’s just not a whole lot of elbow room, particularly at the stages, for the dogs to be comfortable, to be safe, and for the people around them to be safe from deposits on the ground.”

There’s not just the risk of stepping in something you’d rather not; many people sit on the ground, and nobody wants to sit in dog waste, whether solid or liquid.

There are also safety issues. Your dog may be absolutely fine in a less stressful or less crowded place, but for a dog, the festival is an overwhelming world of people, surprises, noises and changes.

“It’s just terribly unpredictable, and it’s really not great for the dog to have to put up with that,” McCarthy said.

Of course, service animals are allowed.

McCarthy said that many people have good intentions when they decide to bring Fido along, but they often don’t consider that if problems arise, they can’t just take him indoors or send him to the doghouse.

“And we certainly don’t want people showing up and then deciding to leave the dog in the car,” McCarthy said. “That’s absolutely not an option either. So please, leave the dog at home.”