You and Your Dog are Cordially Invited to Yorktown’s Annual Paws at the River!

Paws at the River

Help us say goodbye to the dog days of Summer with Yorktown Market Day's Paws at the River. Since launching our Facebook event, the response from so many of you has been amazing! So amazing in fact that we're extending this year's hours. The fun at the waterfront will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will feature close to two dozen animal welfare organizations, free pet portraits, a live animal show, and face painting for the kids!

According to Paws at the River organizer Belinda Willis, this annual event is designed to educate the general public about adopting rescue animals, and to showcase some pets that might be lucky enough to find their “furever” homes.

Adoptable Pet at Paws at the River

“If one pup gets a permanent home that day, it’s worth my time. People can also find out just how many rescue organizations there are that are dedicated to a particular breed. If you have your heart set on specific type of dog, rescue is a great alternative to purchasing from a breeder,” says Willis.

Whether you're a pet owner or you're seriously considering adoption, you'll find materials about spaying and neutering, including  low-cost options. You can also pick up free dog food samples and pet snacks.There are going to be so many different vendors! Get advice from local dog trainers, find out how you can volunteer to help watch the pets of service members when they deploy, and even learn a few things about snakes and alligators (eek!).


In a show of support to the community, the Riverwalk Landing Business Association is providing some pretty cool activities for the kids. One of the highlights will be the “Animal Friends” show presented by the Virginia Living Museum. The museum will set up on the performance stage beside the Freight Shed at 1 p.m. and young visitors will get to learn interesting facts and even ask questions. Be sure to pack a blanket, wagon, stroller, or any comfy seating to set up on the grassy field behind the artists for this 45-minute educational program. Face Painting by Vivian will also be set up near Patriot Tours & Provisions from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to transform younger visitors into cats, dogs, lions, tigers, and many other zoo animals.


The fun doesn't stop there. York County Tourism Development will provide free pet portraits from 8 to 11 a.m. Just look for the signs pointing you in the right direction of our awesome photographer Jenn (or ask at the information tent at the market). The pictures will be posted to our Visit Yorktown Facebook page after the event for easy download by attendees.

Pet Portraits

Of course all of this is in addition to the regular farmers market will take place in its usual spot with more than 30 different artists, vendors, and food trucks selling meat and seafood; seasonal produce; freshly baked breads and desserts; local honey; cold brewed nitro coffee and hand-shaken lemonades; fresh-cut flowers; and more!

Yorktown Market Days by the River

Veteran vendor Teresa Smith with FiDough Gourmet Dog Treats will be selling her healthy, all-natural snacks for pups and several other businesses will be featuring special pet-themed items that day. Make sure you stop by to see Morgan at Colonial Lavender. She will have paw-print shaped versions of her lotion bars for $3 each, and will donate the proceeds from the sales to her favorite organization, Hope for Life Rescue.

Paws at the River Vendors

There will be live music from Henley Fork until noon, and not one, but TWO special chef cooking demonstrations! Chef K will show visitors how to make Cuban Black Beans & Rice—which can be cooked separately and shared with dogs prior to seasoning. The demonstration begins at 10:30 a.m. and Chef K hopes to bring one of her mini dachshunds Mingo or Bella Rossa (shown below) to share in the fun. Then, at 12:30, Carrot Tree will show you how to make healthy dog treats from scratch. Both chefs will hand out samples and recipes so make sure you don't miss out.

Chef K and her pups

As with any special event in Yorktown—parking can be a little tricky. Those prime spots in the two-level garage on Water Street fill up quickly. Remember there are also spots in the lots on Ballard Street, at the York-Poquoson Courthouse, County Administration Building, and York Hall. The Yorktown Trolley runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., though the only canine passengers permitted are service dogs.

For many of you responsible pet owners out there, it goes without saying... but we'd like to take this opportunity to extend a friendly request to please pick up after your animals. There are several “Mutt Mitt” dispensers conveniently attached to trash receptacles throughout town. September days can still be pretty warm. The market vendors will be putting out water bowls for the day, as well as some of the Paws at the River organizations. You can bring your own travel bowl and fill it at the station that's located year-round at the water fountains closest to the Dockmasters Office. 

dog reminders

While dogs are not allowed on the main beach area, guests can walk their pups along the brick-paved Riverwalk. Dogs are permitted in the sand and water farther down (on leash), past the restaurants and shops, on the other side of the Coleman Bridge. They can also sit with their owners on the patios of Water Street Grille, Carrot Tree, and Ben & Jerrys!

As you can see, it's going to be a day filled with tail-wagging excitement. Just in case you'd like to do a little research on some of this year's participants, here is a complete list of who will be in attendance: