2017 Erin Go Paw Fest Mobile AL

MOBILE, Alabama -- For the past eight years, Mobile establishments have welcomed pets to the Erin Go Paw Fest, and again this year it’s just as special since their human owners are allowed to join in the fun too.  The good times happen in Mobile’s Oakleigh Historic District in April, and every year now, and as the spring warms up closer to a Mobile summer, your favorite dachshund – or any other dog for that matter – can now imbibe with their human counterpart.  Callaghan’s Irish Social Club is the place where humans and canines customers alike can enjoy their favorite liquid concoctions with some of the area’s best food.

Started by Callaghan’s manager Cheryl Shifflet, Erin Go Paw Fest is a focused street party in mid-town Mobile, and it’s where some of the area’s best musicians share the spotlight with dog trainers, veterinarians and hundreds of the cutest pups on four paws.

And it’s all for a great cause, that being, it’s for the Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter.  The group started nearly a decade ago and is currently dedicated to building a new kennel at Owens Street, near the Washington Square District, in mid-town Mobile to address overpopulation issues. The kennel has an estimated cost of $150,000, according to the group, and would fit nicely in that area of Mobile. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for shelter pets at the City of Mobile Animal Shelter, to find forever homes for healthy adoptable shelter pets, and to reduce the number of unwanted pets roaming the streets in our community by utilizing spay/neuter programs.

“I heard they were having trouble raising money to stay a no-kill shelter,” Shifflet said. “So we decided to do this dog-friendly festival, because so many of our clientele bring their dogs here.”

This is not some fancy pants wine mixer, it’s for everyone.  Entry costs for the Erin Go Paw Fest are low — $10 for grown-ups, $5 for kiddies — with a variety of pet-centric offerings and bands scattered throughout the festival hours, 3 to 7 p.m., at 916 Charleston St., Mobile.  There is usually a fun run too…more details later, and as you may well know, you can walk or run with your dogs in the fun run. The 5K and Fun Run start at 2 p.m., so get there by 1:30 p.m. to register.

Every year the fundraising goal seems to get a little bigger.  In 2012 it was $5,000.

Special fees, much lower than if you went to a brick and mortar store, will be implemented for this event.   There will be a dog trainer there, as well as a veterinarian there providing micro-chipping for their pet and their owners convenience.

One of the event’s focal points is an Annual Green Dress Run for Shelter 5k where it’s common for unleashed humans to run alongside their leased dogs.  Proceeds for the race go to the Mobile Animal Shelter.  Dress attire is more green, the better, and after you finish your race event there is plenty to do at the street party next to, and all around Callaghans.  Your registration allows you to go to the party too, but if you don’t want to sign up for the run you can pay for the party separately, so there are many options.  Either way, bring your tennis shoes to mid-town Mobile.

Music has also been provided throughout the afternoon with groups such as Gregg Fells, Red Field, and a perennial Callaghan’s favorite, the Dirty Bourbon River Show, which Shifflet describes as “gypsy circus, tied in with traditional New Orleans style.” “They’re like a theatrical love affair,” she said.

Usually they have a silent auction, and a kick off to a month-long “ruffle,” for tickets to the sold-out Hangout Music Festival in May.

“Sometimes the dogs are better behaved than the people,” Shifflet joked. And no matter what, all are invited, and Mobile needs more of these events.

For those who don’t know where Callaghan’s may be, you can punch the address into your GPS.  Here goes…

Erin Go Paw Fest
Callaghan's Irish Social Club
916 Charleston St
Mobile, AL 36604

If you’d like to find your new best friend and adopt a dog or cat from the City of Mobile Animal Shelter, you can visit them at 855 Owens Street in Mobile, or call (251) 208-2830. If you want to help but aren't able to adopt a pet right now, you can talk with someone at the shelter about volunteering, fostering or donating. Friends of the Mobile Animal Shelter is a 501(C)3 Non-profit No Kill Adoption Guarantee Group. All donations are tax deductible.