September First Fridays: Dog Days of Summer

About September First Fridays

Downtown South Bend will be going to the dogs for the September First Fridays, as we celebrate the “Dog Days of Summer.” Bring your furry friend downtown for a fun night out! 

Over 30 booths will be located downtown (on Michigan Street, Studebaker Plaza, Key Bank Plaza, and on and around the Gridiron) filled with animal rescue groups, animal nonprofits, and groups who provide goods and services for animals. There will also be a doggy fashion show, and the 4-H Dog Club will give an agility demonstration. Dine with your dog at one of our pet-friendly patios, take a horse-drawn wagon ride with your pet, or paint your pet at GALLERY 2910.

A new addition to this year’s event will be Vegan Corner – a mini food fest featuring vegan cuisine catered to animal lovers!

In addition to pet-friendly activities, there will be plenty for humans to do as well, like attend the architectural walking tour, SBMA exhibitions, or First Fridays Latin Dance party. Find out these details and more below!

Free Parking

Parking (on-street and in DTSB-managed garages) is always free in downtown South Bend nights and weekends. For full details on downtown parking options, click here.

As always, Transpo will be offering FREE shuttle rides on one of their new CNG buses from 5:00 to 9:00 pm. Click here for a map of the shuttle route. Transpo shuttle service will pass each stop approximately every 15 minutes.

The shuttle service now has First Fridays Tour Guides! They will tell you all about the different activities and promotions that are taking place downtown at First Fridays, as well give general info about the downtown businesses, mixed with historical tidbits and fun facts. Grab a seat on the new First Fridays Transpo Tour, and enjoy the informative ride!

If you’re interested in being a First Fridays Tour Guide, click here for more information.

Dog Days Booths & Activities

Booths, Fashion Show, Agility Demonstrations and more!

This year’s Dog Days of Summer Event will contain over 30 booths filled with animal rescue groups, and organizations who provide goods & services to dogs. In addition, there will be a doggie fashion show, agility course, and a vegan food festival. Click here for a map (also posted below the booth activity listings.) Read on for more details!

The Dog Days of Summer “Adopt Don’t Shop” Fashion Show

7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Please join us for the First Annual “Adopt Don’t Shop” Fashion Show, with celebrity host Maria Catanzarite of WNDU! Local animal shelters and rescues are a wonderful place to find your next furry friend. Our fashion show will feature happy hounds adopted from local groups and their human companions wearing fashions provided by Resale to the Rescue. Resale to the Rescue is an upscale not for profit resale store in Mishawaka that financially assists local animal rescue organizations.

4-H Dog Club Agility Demonstrations

6:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The St. Joseph County 4-H Dog Club will be presenting two agility demonstrations on the Gridiron. Agility courses are designed to demonstrate a dog’s athletic ability and willingness to work with his handler through strategy, skill, accuracy, speed, timing and distance handling through a fast-paced obstacle course. This is a timed event where dogs and handlers navigate through the obstacle course while completing required course tasks and obstacles.

Doggie Watering Stations

The following downtown businesses will have water set outside for pets to partake:

Bruno’s: 131 S. Michigan St.
GALLERY 2910: 113 W. Monroe St.
Purple Porch Co-op: 123 N. Hill St.
South Bend Chocolate Cafe: 122 S. Michigan St.
The General Deli & Cafe: 609 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Dog Activities at DTSB Businesses

Doggie “Ice Cream” at Purple Porch Co-op
5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
123 N. Hill St.

Free Dog Nail Trims by “For Pet’s Sake” at Chicory Cafe
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Dog Days of Summer Booths

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
various locations

Over 30 different animal rescue groups and organizations who provide goods & services to animals will be located throughout downtown this First Fridays.

4-H Dog Club: agility course and demonstrations
All 4 Animals Rescue: bean bag toss and adoptable pets
All Species Kinship: will have at least one adoptable dog
American Greyhound: will have adoptable dogs
Bittersweet Pet Resort & Stables: spin the wheel to win free items and discount coupons
Bunk and Biscuit: will have information on their dog and cat boarding and services, as well as info on Pet Tech Petsaver, Pet First Aid and Pet CPR.
Camp K9 Doggie Daycare: will have a chance to win a prize by getting the bag in the kitty litter box
Cathedral of St. James: will be offering pet blessings
Clayview Animal Clinic: will have brochures and gifts
ECHO Club Inc.: plan to have demonstrations showing different types of dog sports/activities. Owners that bring their dogs will be able to participate in the demonstrations as well. Small freebies will be handed out (while supplies last).
For Pet’s Sake: free nail trims
Frantz L. Dantzler Friends for Life, Inc.: will be selling t-shirts for $10 and will give away dog and people treats, plus info on the Frantz Fund.
FurEver Fosters: specialized (stuffed animal) pet adoptions for kids, fun foto booth and games
Heartland Small Animal Rescue, Inc.: will be selling handmade pet beds & toys
Humane Society of the United States: handouts and candy
Jennifer’s: bandanas
M & S Handmade Designs: dog beds, toys, carrying bags
Michelle Rink, Realtor, Coldwell Banker: will be giving away tennis balls made especially for dogs so they are safe for your dog to chew and use only pet-safe inks, plus candy for your kids.
Mixed Up Mutts: frisbee, balls, bandanas for sale for a donation
Morris Animal Foundation/Golden Retriever Lifetime Study: dogs can sit and wait for a cookie; if they can leave it they get a prize. Also giving bandanas and info on MAF/GRLS.
Nanaz Pawz: homemade dog treats and many items for pets and pet lovers
Pet Refuge: duck pond, Plinko
PetsConnect! Inc.: will have dogs available for adoption, sell handmade doggy toys, Lupine brand collars/leashes, and will have hot dog bobbing
PetSmart South Bendgiveaway for a free groom service, goodie bags w/coupons & more, win a prize at their game, free pet stencil/doggie tattoo, photo op props & background, and a special appearance by Chance the Dog
Reigning Cat and Dogs Rescue, Inc.: will have microchipping available as well as a doggy kissing booth featuring a very friendly kissable rescue for adoption
Resale to the Rescue: will have free tug toys made from recycling t-shirts
South Bend Lost & Found Pets: will have a face painter and a raffle for three pet-themed baskets (large dog, small dog, and cat.) Tickets will be sold throughout the event with the drawing at the end of the night. Winer need not be present at the drawing. They will also be scanning pets for microships and pet boutique items and SBLFP gear for sale.
The Fido Fund of FurEver Fosters: $5 microchips, $5 nail trims, raffles, and games
The Humane Society of St Joseph County: will have dogs available for adoption, kiddie pool w/tennis balls with some marked with prizes for the pets & info about their community shelter
Vet Tech Coach: Choke collar + prong collar + shock collar trade in program for a No-Pull Harness (~$30 value.) They will also have harnesses for sale and interactive toys, too.

2018 Dog Days of Summer Map

Click image to expand to larger PDF!


Entertainment & Activities

Happy Tails Waggin’ Rides

6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
by Chocolate Cafe

Take your dog on a horse-drawn wagon ride on the Happy Tails Waggin’ Ride from Dream Coach Carriages. 15-minute rides are just $2 per person (dogs ride free!) Pick up and drop off takes place right outside the South Bend Chocolate Cafe, and tickets go on sale shortly before 6:00 p.m. Don’t have a dog?  No problem! You can ride with a rescue dog (details where you purchase tickets.)

Live Alligators and Laura Whidden at South Bend Chocolate Cafe

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
122 S. Michigan St.

The South Bend Chocolate Cafe will live alligators in their chocolate garden this First Fridays, plus Laura Whidden will be performing a free concert from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Also take advantage of their First Fridays special: 2 for $17 any crunch/pretzel combo.

Paint Your Pet and Other Events at GALLERY 2910

10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
113 W. Monroe St.

Welcome to one of our newest First Fridays participants – GALLERY 2910! They will be having three events/promotions taking place this First Fridays.
Paint Your Pet: paint a portrait of your favorite furry friend at GALLERY 2910. Price of class includes drinks, canvas, pet template creation, brushes, paint and all other supplies. Prior registration recommended, and can be done online by clicking here.
Artists You Should Know: Jean Carter. Each month GALLERY 2910 features a different artist for your enjoyment with complementary light refreshments from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.. The artists’ work is always for sale and artists are available for commissioned orders.
Energy Friday: Start off your month with their Energy Friday and align yourself with your greatest desires. This holistic art lab features a different modality each month. Practitioners will be available for mini sessions from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Downtown South Bend Architectural Walking Tour

5:30 pm to 7:00 p.m.
American Trust Company clock (corner of Washington and Michigan)

Enjoy a fun and informative guided walking tour of South Bend landmark buildings, exploring their history and present day use. Tours are given by the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend & St. Joseph County. Cost for these 90-minute tours are just $4/person (cash only.) Space is limited so reservations are recommended. Reserve your spot online by clicking here, or by calling 574-282-1110. Tours meet at 5:30 p.m. at the American Trust Company clock, located at the corner of Washington and MIchigan, in front of Cafe Navarre. This will be the last regular downtown architectural walking tour of 2018. The October tour will be back in the Historic West Washington District.

Fall Exhibition Receptions at South Bend Museum of Art

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
120 South Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Visit the South Bend Museum of Art for an evening of art and mingling as they celebrate their fall exhibitions: “Courser Stuff” by Sandra Perlow, “Sentient” by Diane Christiansen Animations,  and “Watercolor Gone Wild” by Saint Joe Valley Watercolor Society. Contuing exhibitions will also be available to enjoy – “Beyond Ink” by regional tatoo artists and “The Side Show.” A Gallery Talk by Sandra Perlow will take place at 6:15 p.m., and live music by Ignition Brass Band will be from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Admission is free, and refreshments will be provided. Also enjoy 10% on your purchase at the SBMA gift shop, The Dot Shop.

Scavenger Hunt with Notre Dame Federal Credit Union

210 S. Michigan St.
Notre Dame Federal Credit Union will be partnering with Pet Refuge on a scavenger hunt for kids. Pick up your scavenger hunt clues at the NDFCU downtown branch, then head to the Pet Refuge Tent on the Gridiron for the answers. Return completed entries to the downtown branch for a prize!

Author Signing at Idle Hours Bookshop

6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
212 S. Michigan St.

Local children’s author LA Williams will be signing copies of her books at Idle Hours Bookshop this First Fridays. Her books include: “Lilly Brown Presents: Meet My Family” and “Lilly Brown Presents: What’s Race?” She will answer questions and read from her books.

Latin Dancing in Studebaker Plaza

8:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza (southwest corner of Jefferson and Michigan)

South Bend Latin Dance will be hosting a Latin Social Dance in Studebaker Plaza. Beginner lesson is at 8:30 p.m., with open dancing to follow until 11:00 p.m. Enjoy salsa, bachata, merengue and more under the stars!  All ages. $5 cover.

Latin Dance Party at Cinco 5

10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m.
112 W. Colfax Ave.

The Latin dancing continues at Cinco 5, where they will be playing bachata, salsa, cumbia, merengue, and more. 21+ only; $3 cover after 11pm.

Jake Webster Show Opening at Fire Arts

5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
305 E. Colfax Ave.

Jake Webster will be will be showing a selection of his sculpture and paintings at Fire Arts through September and October 2018. He will also be giving a talk at 7:00 p.m. and doing a performance of his poetry during both First Fridays during his show.

Dream Team Live at Vegetable Buddies

10:00 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
129 N Michigan St.

Vegetable Buddies will be featuring a concert by Dream Team Live. Come out early for a great dinner and to make sure you get a good seat. Doors open at 5:00 p.m.  21+, $10 cover.

Kennedy’s Kitchen at Fiddler’s Hearth

9:00 p.m. to midnight
127 N. Main St.

Enjoy free live music at Fiddler’s Hearth by local Irish band Kennedy’s Kitchen from 9:00 p.m. to midnight every First Fridays!

Tours of the Historic Hoffman Hotel

5:00 pm to 8:00 pm
120 W. LaSalle Ave. 

The Hoffman Hotel will offer free tours of their renovated historic apartment spaces and free refreshments. The tours will be given every half hour (5:00, 5:30, 6:00, etc.)

Tour the Golden Roamer: Mobile Visitor Center

4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Studebaker Plaza

The Golden Roamer is a 24-foot recreational vehicle complete with brochures for visitors detailing the area’s offerings as well as satellite TV, and more. It will be parked by Studebaker Plaza this First Fridays and you are invited to go inside and explore for free.

Live Music at LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
115 W. Colfax Ave.

Enjoy live music at LaSalle Kitchen & Tavern this First Fridays by Cambrae from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Food & Drink Specials

Pet-Friendly Patios

Dine with your furry friend at any of these downtown pet-friendly patios:

Bruno’s: 131 S. Michigan St.
Cafe Navarre: 101 N. Michigan St.
Chicory Cafe: 105 E. Jefferson Blvd.
Hammer & Quill: 613 E. Jefferson Blvd.
PEGGS: 127 S. Michigan St.
Purple Porch Co-op: 123 N. Hill St.
South Bend Brew Werks: 216 S. Michigan St.
South Bend Chocolate Cafe: 122 S. Michigan St.
Vegetable Buddies: 129 N. Michigan St.

Vegan Corner

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The Gridiron

Vegan Corner is a new addition to this year’s Dog Days of Summer – a perfect fit for animal lovers!  Vegan food vendors (Vegan Michiana, Maple Indian and SteMartaen) and animal rescue group All Species Kinship will have a dedicated section in the parking lot just south of the Gridiron. Vegan Corner will be fun and enlightening with some yummy vegan food.

Chicory’s Last Shrimp Boil of 2018

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
105 E. Jefferson Blvd.

Chicory Cafe will be hosting its last Shrimp Boil of the Year this First Fridays. Each order will receive  shrimp, potatoes, corn on the cob, and andouille sausage for $16. Enjoy it there or take it to go. Also, take advantage of the Chicory First Fridays specials: $1.50 one scoop gelato, and 16 oz. Hurricanes for $5.

Special Evening Hours at PEGGS

5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
127 S. Michigan St.

Enjoy special evening hours at PEGGS this First Fridays.


Retail Specials

Friends of the Library Book Sale 

12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
333 S. Michigan 

The Friends of the Library Book Sale is back open in their newly renovated space – with extended hours. Enjoy amazing bargains on books, CDs, magazines, and more for both kids and adults from 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.



Baker’s Bar & Grill

123 N. St. Joseph St. 
Buy one appetizer, get one 50% off.


713 E. Jefferson Blvd.
$4 pints every First Fridays; also featuring a First Saturdays special each month: any large 2 topping pizza, an order of breadsticks, and a pitcher of pop (or a 2 liter on carry out orders) for only $19.95 plus tax.

Ben’s Pretzels

122 S. Michigan St.
3 pretzels for $10 (not including sauce)


131 S. Michigan St.
Get one 14″ 1-topping pizza for $12

Chicory Cafe

105 E. Jefferson Blvd.
Live music, $1.50 one scoop gelato, and 16 oz. Hurricanes for $6.00

Edible Arrangements

123 S. Michigan St.
50% off a box of dipped fruit (pick-up)

Hair Crafters

602 Lincoln Way East
20% off for new guests and 10% off all retail

South Bend Brew Werks

216 S. Michigan St.
New seasonal beer release and food pairing

South Bend Chocolate Cafe

122 S. Michigan St.
2 for $17 any crunch/pretzel combo

Therapeutic Indulgence

904 E. Jefferson
20% off gift cards

Tippecanoe Place

620 W. Washington St.
1/2 price appetizers In the Studebaker Lounge

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