Coon Dog Day plans discussed at Saluda meeting 

Published 12:53 pm Friday, March 3, 2023

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Citizens and board members share concerns and hopes for the upcoming festival


SALUDA – On Tuesday, February 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Saluda library, the City of Saluda held a meeting to plan the upcoming Coon Dog Day. The meeting was led by Saluda Mayor Tangie Morgan and the Saluda City Commissioners.

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Questions arose regarding the size of the event, as well as affordability and where Coon Dog Day stands from a local business viewpoint.

Both the board and citizens in attendance agreed that the community wanted to see more vendors and food options in the future, as well as more children’s entertainment options. Last year, every vendor that applied was accepted, except for food vendors that may have taken business away from local eateries due to similarities in the menu. The Board of Commissioner’s focus is to attract local vendors and nonprofits, while keeping food prices more affordable.

The Board also had concerns regarding the expense of the event. Saluda Commissioner Mark Oxtoby questioned the need for a parade if Saluda is trying to save money on the event. All other board members agreed that the parade is a Coon Dog Day tradition. “I like having the smaller parade,” stated Commissioner Paul Marion, adding, “I think it’s a good tradition, and I think it allows local people to get involved.”

One Saluda citizen told the board that if the city did away with Coon Dog Day, the city could afford to have the street lights turned back on at night, an issue that has been on the minds of some Saluda residents. Other residents mentioned how much money and business Coon Dog Day brings to the town, and that some people visit for not just the day, but sometimes the entire weekend, or maybe the entire week. “I do think that coon dog day is a draw to bring people into the town,” said Commissioner Marion.

“The problem is paying for the police and the trash pickup and the golf carts,” said Mayor Morgan, adding that she wants to see Saluda continue Coon Dog Day, but it’s getting difficult to pay for it. Marion proposed forming a committee to decide if they should grow Coon Dog Day or keep it the same size, while Mayor Pro Tempore Stan Walker stated that if the festival grows, the town must create new ways to finance it.

Commissioner Marion suggested that the community may have lost the vision of what Coon Dog Day really is, and that it’s become too commercial, asking the other board members, “How do we give meaning to Coon Dog Day so it’s not just a commercial event every year?”

A firm date and list of events for 2023’s Coon Dog Day have not yet been set.