In 1979, a small group of friends got together and decided to have a party — or so the story goes — and Do Dah Day was born. The following years saw the party grow into an event raising money for local charities such as the Birmingham Zoo, Avondale Library and the Alabama Theatre. With so many Do Dah Day volunteers being pet owners and animal lovers, it was a natural progression for the fundraising focus to turn to local animal charities. Soon Do Dah Day was no longer a party — it had become an all-out festival.
Today, Do Dah Day is Birmingham’s oldest event. A music festival that in its infancy was enjoyed by 200 fun-loving Birmingham citizens, now sees people from all over the United States converge on Birmingham’s Historic Highland Parks for a day of fun, food and music with their pets. Raising more than $1.3 million since 1992 for Jefferson County animal shelters, Do Dah Day is one of the city’s most cherished springtime events.
Do Dah Day has always been — and still is today — a 100% volunteer organization, managed by a board of directors that consists of a diverse and eclectic group of local professionals. The event could not be successful though, without the countless volunteers contributing their time both on the day of the event and, for some, even months before. The event has proven addictive for many of its volunteers, some of whom can tout more than 10 years of volunteering in T-shirt booths and the like. People that once lived in the area and volunteered at the festival now fly in from Chicago or drive from Atlanta – their new homes – to man their posts in beer tents and on the music stages. It’s obvious that without the volunteers and their passion for Do Dah Day and its causes, the event wouldn’t be what it is today.
What began, in the simplest of terms, as an idea, has become a true tradition.
Here’s to 35 years of Do Dah-ing!