Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is there a fee or cost to come to Dog Bowl?

 A:  No. Dog Bowl is a FREE family fun festival.  While there may be registration fees for some of the events, or costs involved         with certain vendors or activities, it does not cost anything to come and watch the events. Dogs are welcome and                         encouraged!


Q: Do you have parking and is there any handicap parking?

A:  Yes!  We have over 100 handicap parking spaces in the south parking lot of River Place Shops: 925 S. Main Street,                            Frankenmuth, MI 48734. There is other parking available in our east parking lot as well as down Weiss Street.


Q: Is there a cost for parking?

A:  No!  Parking is free!


Q: How late are the Frankenmuth River Place Shops open during Dog Bowl?

A:   Frankenmuth River Place Shops has special hours during the Dog Bowl event.
       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


Q: May I bring my Drone and fly it over Dog Bowl events or at the Balloon Event?

A:   No! Balloons over Bavarian Inn is a sanctioned FAA regulated balloon event.  The balloon pilots are competing under an             FAA Waiver.  This allows them to fly a bit closer to the ground and over crowds – not normally allowed.  Under the same           FAA waiver, there can be no drone flights within 5 nautical miles of the River Place Shops field.  They may fly in any                     direction (based on wind) that distance.  This restriction is from Friday, May 24– Monday, May 27.  Competitive dog                         events also do not want drones flying due to the risk of the noise distracting their competing animals.


Q: What restaurants near Dog Bowl have pet friendly dining options?

A:  State health codes do not allow non-service Animals inside buildings where food is prepared and served.  However, the              outdoor pet-friendly locations where you and your pet may dine include:

  • Bavarian Inn Lodge – Schnitzelbank Biergarten                            •  Cass River Bar & Grill
       • Bavarian Inn Restaurant – Fischer Platz                                           •  La Crepe du Jour
       • Dock Dogs Food Tent                                                                            •  Pasty Haus                                                                                               • Bratwurst Patio – next to Fest Platz                                                   •  Cheese Trap Food Truck
       • Paw Platz

  For more information, check out our dining and lodging page!


Q: Will there be a pet parade this year?

 A:  Yes! The pet parade will line up in the south parking lot of the River Place Shops complex at 12:45 pm and begin at 1:00 pm.         The Dog Bowl King & Queen will be the Grand Marshals.  The parade will head north on Main Street, across the Covered               Wooden Bridge and end at the Doggie Play Park in the East parking lot of the River Place Shops!


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

 A: 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.


Q: Is there a place for my dog to play or rest?

 A:  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           of charge to use, however you cannot leave your dog unattended and you must clean up after your pet.


Q: What time are the different events?

 A:  All information regarding Event Times, Registration, and Applicable Participation Fees is available on our events page               

Q: When and where are the Wiener Dog Races and how do I sign up?

 A:  Wiener Dog Races are held at 5:00 pm Saturday & Sunday at the Festival Platz Stage in the center of the River Place Shops.         Registration is on-site only and starts at 4:00 pm, each day, at the Information Booth located on the East end of the                       complex near N’Orlins Beignets & Coffee. Click here for the events page and for more information.


Q: When are the boat tours and how do I get tickets?

 A:  Tour times vary for The Bavarian Belle. Please visit their website for specific times or contact them toll free at                                866-808-2628 or by email at Tickets may be purchased at the ticket kiosk near the waterfall          at the north end of the Frankenmuth River Place Shops.


Q: When and where are the Fireworks visible?

 A:   Fireworks are Sunday Night at 9:45pm after the Balloon Glow. They are typically visible in the northwest Sky over the                  Frankenmuth 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. Regardless of                      launch location, the fireworks are visible from the Balloon Glow field.


Q: Are Balloon rides offered to the general public?

 A:  No. Balloon rides are reserved for our generous sponsors. If you or your company would like to be a Sponsor, please visit           our sponsor page.  If you talk to a pilot during the Balloon Glow, some of them will give you the option to contact them for         a private, paid ride later in the summer.


Q: What time are the flights and glows?

A:  We fly at sunrise and sunset. Morning flights are anywhere between 6:00 am and 8:00 am. Evening flights are anywhere            between 7:00 pm and 8:30 pm. The times differ on the weather, the winds, and the approved launch time given to the                  pilots. Glows are scheduled Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night from 9:00 pm until 10:00 pm at the Balloon Field behind the        River Place Shops. These may change due to weather conditions.


Q: Where do the hot air balloons launch from? Where can I watch from?

A:  During morning flights, pilots will find their own location to launch from, but will be flying to the field behind the River              Place Shops. In that field will be the target they are trying to hit with their bean bags, so watching at the field in the                      morning is perfect place! During evening flights pilots will launch from the field behind the River Place Shops, and they              will return there after the flight to glow, so watching from the field is the perfect place to go!


Q: Where do the balloons land?

A:  Wherever they can. Pilots must find their own landing place while in the air looking down at the earth, they avoid areas              with power lines, trees, and buildings that they could hit with their balloon. Pilots usually pick large yards, unplanted                  fields, and sometimes even pavement! Before setting the balloon down, their crew will get permission from landowners.


Q: What if it rains?

 A:  All fights are weather pending. If it’s raining, balloon events will be canceled. Keep up to date on the status of flights and        glows by watching our Facebook page or by calling the Bavarian Inn Lodge Operator at 989-652-7200


Q: It’s sunny, why did you cancel?

A:  Even though it’s sunny and nice weather, it may be too wind to fly. Winds 500 feet off the ground can be going much                  faster than the wind on the surface of the earth. The pilots have a briefing before each flight and study the weather to                decide if it is safe enough for the balloons to go up. If the wind is too fast, the balloons cannot fly safe.


Q: How do they compete?

 A:  Ballooning is a sport, and this weekend’s event is a competition for the pilots. There are target made of cloth X’s that are           laid out on the ground. The pilots are given bean bags with long tails attached to the end to throw from their balloon’s                 basket. Depending on where their bag land on the X, the pilots receive specific points. The points are then tallied up at the         end of the event to determine the winners.