Is there a fee or cost to come to Dog Bowl?
No – Dog Bowl is a FREE family fun festival. There are some costs involved with activity registration fees or the Pet Marketplace vendors but it does not cost anything to come and watch the events. Dogs are welcome and encouraged – please make sure they are up to date on vaccinations and on a leash at all times!
Where should I park? Is there handicap parking available?
Parking is available at Frankenmuth River Place Shops, 925 S. Main Street, along Weiss Street near Heritage Park, and throughout downtown Frankenmuth. Handicap parking is available on the south side of River Place Shops.

As always, parking is free at Frankenmuth Dog Bowl!

How late is Frankenmuth River Place Shops open during Dog Bowl?

Frankenmuth River Place Shops has special hours during the Dog Bowl festival. See below for opening and closing times:

  • Friday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Sunday: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Memorial Day Monday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
May I bring my drone and fly it over the festival grounds?

We know our events are exciting and offer great subjects for drone film footage, but we ask that drone operators respect the following requests.

  • The events are held on private property and the property owners ask they you do not launch or land your drone from their property. Frankenmuth River Place shops, parking lots and field, the walking bridge to River Place, Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Lodge and their parking lots, along with the Covered Bridge Gift Shop and the houses on Weiss Street are all private property.
  • Be Cautious of powerlines in the area.
  • Be mindful of the crowds of people and remember you are not allowed to fly over crowds.
  • Drone noise could frighten a dog that is competing at Dog Bowl. Many of these dogs are competing for National titles or to go to a grand championship and their owners would be really upset if your drone noise caused their dog to lose concentration or not want to perform.  We therefore ask that you do not fly directly over the dogs or their events. Please film these from a safe distance.
  • If you are at a hot air balloon launch or landing site or a competition target please remember that balloons cannot maneuver out of your way, it is your responsibility to stay out of their line of flight and avoid a drone/balloon collision. Do not fly close to a balloon or directly over or under a balloon when it is in flight.  Please do not fly directly over a competition target, rather stay safely off to a side that is not in the line of flight.  Competition rules do not allow anything within 50 meters of a target, except for the target scoring team, we ask that you honor that rule as well.
  • If you are at a Hot Air Balloon Glow we ask that you are mindful of the crowds and also please do not fly directly over the balloons or near them. (Note:  We will have TWO Balloon Glow locations each night, Friday, Saturday & Sunday (all inflating at 9pm for one hour). TWO (2) hot air balloons will glow at the Bavarian Inn Lodge front lawn. The Frankenmuth Credit Union Event Field at Frankenmuth River Place Shops (Due south of the Lodge) will have app. 13 balloons glowing each night (different mix each night). All will inflate around 9pm (assuming calm winds) until about 10pm.
What restaurants near Dog Bowl have pet-friendly dining options?

There are several outdoor pet-friendly locations where you and your pet may dine! Visit our Plan Your Visit page for more information or see our official Frankenmuth Dog Bowl brochure for food options throughout the festival grounds.

Please remember that state health codes do not allow non-service animals inside buildings where food is prepared and served.

When and where is the Pet Parade this year?
The annual Pet Parade will line up in the south parking lot of River Place Shops at 12:45 PM and begin at 1:00 PM. The parade will head north on Main Street, across the Covered Wooden Bridge and end near the Doggie Play Park in the east parking lot of River Place Shops!

Serving as the Grand Marshals are this year’s Dog Bowl King and Queen. It is free to participate – all dogs must be on leashes during the parade!

Is my dog allowed to participate and/or compete in any of the events?

Yes. Some events require early registration. Others you may register for on the day of the event. Please visit our events page for more information on how to register for different events.

Is there a place for my dog to play or rest at Dog Bowl?
Of course! There is a Doggie Play Park available for your furry friend to run around, relax and take a dip in a kiddie pool! This is free to use – however, dogs must be attended at all times and you must clean up after your pet. No worries, there are plenty of doggie poop bags available throughout the festival grounds.
What time are the different events? How do I sign my dog up?

All information regarding event times, registration and participation fees is available on the Events page! Events your dog can participate in include:

  • DockDogs
  • Disc Dogs
  • Dog Bowl Lure Course
  • Wiener Dog Races
  • Small and Big Doggie Fun Run Races
  • Silly Pet Tricks Contest
  • Best Doggie Costume Contest
  • Annual Canine Cruise on the Bavarian Belle Riverboat
  • Dog Breeds of the World Show
When is the Annual Canine Cruise and how do I get tickets?

Online registration is open for the Annual Canine Cruise aboard the Bavarian Belle Riverboat. Tickets cover one person and one dog for a 1-hour cruise down the Cass River; the dock is located on the north side of River Place Shops. Click here to purchase tickets!

When is the fireworks show and where should I sit to view them?
Fireworks are always Sunday night at 9:45 p.m. after the Balloon Glow event. They are visible to the west over the River Place Shops rooftop. In rare cases of undesirable wind direction, the fireworks may be relocated to be launched from the baseball diamonds in Heritage Park, making the fireworks visible in the north sky.

The fireworks are visible from the Balloon Glow field and can also be viewed at various locations across Frankenmuth. The show is weather dependent.


What is the difference between a Balloon Flight and a Balloon Tethered Ride?

A balloon flight is usually a 2-3 hour experience from helping the pilot and crew to inflate the balloon, flying for 45 minutes to a little over an hour and landing in a down-wind location from where you started. A “Chase Crew” follows your flight path and helps you pack up at the end of the experience. A private ride for 2 costs about $1,300. For current pricing and availability, please visit www.BCBalloonRides.com

A tethered ride is a shorter experience where a Hot Air Balloon is anchored to the ground.  You go up about 50 to 60 feet in the air for approximately a 5-minute experience. You will have an FAA certified pilot in the balloon basket. This is a great way to see the sights and sounds around Frankenmuth and get a small sample of flying in a Hot Air Balloon.  The tether ride will be available for $25.00 per adult and $15 per child (12 & under)

Where & When will the tethered balloon rides happen?

On May 24, 25 & 26th, the tethered balloon rides will happen on the West corner of Bavarian Inn Lodge (adjacent to the peacock cage).

Can I reserve tickets in advance?

No reserved tickets are not available to book in advance. We cannot guarantee times due to the volatility of wind and weather so all tickets will be sold at the time of the experience.

What may cause this pop-up activity from not happening?

Rain, Thunder & lightning causes all hot air balloons to be grounded.  In addition, moderate winds also cause a tethered balloon to be grounded for the safety of our passengers, pilots, and crewmembers.

How Many people can ride at a time with the Pilot?

Many factors go into the total amount of people we can carry including outside temperature and weight of each individual. Typically we can accommodate four adults weighing 180 pounds or less  OR a maximum of about 700 pounds.  It can be a family or a group of friends. Also, since children are generally smaller in size and weigh less, we may be able to accommodate a larger number.

Can my very young children go up in the balloon with me?

Generally speaking children five and over will do well and enjoy a Hot Air Balloon Ride. Young children must always be riding with a parent who can control and comfort them. If a child is “at all” afraid, they should not ride. Please keep in mind the Burners are hot and make a loud sound, so if your child is timid or afraid of loud sounds it may be better to wait until they are older.

Is there a way to reserve a long private balloon flight?

YES, Magic Clouds Balloon Corporation is taking ONE morning flight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (approximately 6:00 am!).  The typical price for shared flight is $350 / person for up to 4 individuals with the pilot.  A private flight for 2 is about $975. All flights will be about 45 minutes to an hour – depending on landing locations and availability. All flights are weather permitting. The entire experience from inflation to landing could be up to 3 hours. Family members are welcome to follow the chase vehicle & crew in their own vehicle(s) to see them land and help pack up the balloon. For a potential flight go to www.bcballoonrides.com and click on book flights, then hit the hamburger button (3 lines) in top corner of screen and choose Frankenmuth, Mi flights. (Mobile directions) You can reserve or chat with them online. There are no long evening flights since the balloon will do tethered rides from 6:00 until just before dark. 

How is Social Distancing handled within this experience?

There are no mask mandates in Michigan. Please respect those who choose to  wear a mask and respect those who prefer some social distancing. 

Does the Tethered ride accept credit cards?


I see hot air balloons flying over Frankenmuth. Can I get a ride in one? or where are they flying?

There are 23 balloons holding a competition in flight over Frankenmuth all weekend.  They do not have a predetermined launch or landing site.  So enjoy them in the air!

Only one hot air balloonist is taking morning flights (about 6:00am) and has several mornings open. Read question 7 with answer above for pricing.

Can I see balloons glowing in the evening?

YES – there will have TWO Balloon Glow locations each night, Friday, Saturday & Sunday (all inflating at 9pm for one hour).  TWO (2) hot air balloons will glow at the Bavarian Inn Lodge front lawn.  The Frankenmuth Credit Union Event Field at Frankenmuth River Place Shops (Due south of the Lodge) will have app. 13 balloons glowing each night (different mix each night).  All will inflate around 9pm (assuming calm winds) until about 10pm.  On Sunday night fireworks will be shot off over Zehnder’s parking lot area and viewable from around downtown Frankenmuth & our glow fields at 10:00pm.

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