Event Details / Hotel / Schedule of Events

What is Bluegrass Pugfest?

Bluegrass Pugfest is a celebration of the Pug and social event for humans, Pugs, and non-Pug family members held on an annual basis to benefit Pug rescue organizations around the country. Attendees can browse over 50,000 square feet of vendors, silent auctions, rescue booths, and Pug competitions (costume, races, custard eating, talent, King/Queen, and more).

For those who came to love Milwaukee Pugfest, this event will be true to the traditions, while adding new and exciting components. The event was previously held in Milwaukee (Milwaukee Pugfest) for 15 consecutive years before moving to Kentucky. Over 3,200 people and 2,000 Pugs attended the event each year. Bluegrass Pugfest, Inc. is a Kentucky non-profit corporation with Federal tax exempt status under Sec. 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code.

The event will provide fun and entertainment for the attendees while protecting and advancing the interest of Pug dogs by encouraging responsible Pug ownership. The event shall also raise awareness of the plight of Pugs used solely as breeding stock without concern for their welfare and assist in efforts furthering the prevention of cruelty to animals and humane education.

When & Where

Event Details

The 3rd Annual Bluegrass PugFest



Saturday, June 1, 2024 from 9am to 4pm
Sunday, June 2, 2024 from 9am to 4pm


Kentucky Exposition Center – West Hall
937 Phillips Lane, Louisville, KY 40209
Get Directions

Kentucky Exposition Center sits adjacent to the Louisville International Airport and Interstate 65 and is surrounded by many hotels for accommodations to fit any budget. See official hotel information below.

Also on the grounds of the Exposition Center – just outside the doors of the Bluegrass Pugfest is Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park and Hurricane Bay Water Park . The riverfront city of Louisville offers much to do from world-class museums, parks and restaurants to exploring the Bourbon Trail. It is easy to turn your trip into a full-scale vacation! Learn more about What to do in Louisville.


January 9th, 2024 – WooHoo!  Hotels are ready to book.  We really encourage you to book your stay early as hotels in Louisville fill up almost every weekend.  We’ve worked hard this year to find hotels with great reviews, waived or low pet fees, and in a variety of locations.  Our Headquarter hotel this year (Home2Suites by Hilton Louisville Airport Expo Center) is very close to the event and is offering shuttles to and from PugFest!  The headquarter hotel is charging a reduced $75 pet fee and it’s per stay.

If you’re looking for a little more suburban location, we have two great hotels around 15 miles from the event (easy drive) – both are offering waived pet fees.  Aloft Louisville East and Residence Inn by Marriott Louisville Old Henry.  Residence Inn also offers free breakfast.

Parking is complimentary at all of our partner hotels.

Click here to make reservations – there is no group code needed, just skip that field.

Pugfest Rules

  • All Pets must be up-to-date on vaccinations.
  • No selling or advertising of dogs – violators will be banned from the event.
  • All dogs must be on a FIXED-LENGTH LEASH – NO “FLEXI-LEASHES” Allowed.
  • No Aggressive Dogs Allowed.
  • Attendees expressly release Kentucky Exposition Center and Bluegrass Pugfest, Inc. and its Board of Directors and Volunteers from any liability related to the event, incidents, or injuries.
  • Attendees agree to adhere to the rules of Bluegrass Pugfest, Inc. and those of Kentucky Exposition Center, and to adhere to the laws of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Friendly “Smoochie-Faced” breeds such as Boston Terriers, Shih-Tzu’s, French Bulldogs, etc. are invited. Non “Smoochie-Faced” canine family members can come as well – as long as they are friendly, socialized, and well-behaved.

Pugfest is your chance to be surrounded by Pugs! Historically, the original event (Milwaukee Pug Fest, held for 15 consecutive years in Milwaukee, WI) had attendance of over 3,000 people and 2,000 Pugs!

Doors open at 8:45am and the first families EACH DAY receive a “goodie bag” filled with various merchandise provided by various manufacturers.  Please limit one per family.  *While supplies last.

Services onsite include educational sessions, pet photography, nail trimming, and an animal communicator.
There will be nearly 40,000 square feet of activities, contests, silent auctions, merchandise, rescue organizations, vendors, the famous “Pugfest Store”, and FUN!

2024 Event Schedule

June 1, 2024 – Saturday

9:00 AM – Doors Open

9:30 AM – Opening Remarks

9:45 AM – Pug King/Queen, Prince/Princess, Duke/Duchess Crowning Ceremony and Parade of Contestants

10:30 AM – Educational Breakout Session

11:30 AM – Costume Contest (Best Pug In Costume, Best Dog in Costume, Best Group/Duo,  Best Dog/Owner Look-A-Like)

12:00 PM – Tunes with Trent Van Drisse (Roving Musical Entertainment)

12:30 PM – Pug Custard Eating Contest (3 Sessions, 25 per session)

1:00 PM – Blessing of the Pugs and Friends

1:30 PM – Silent Auction Table Closes

2:00 PM – Most Photogenic Pug Winner Announced

2:30 PM – Pug Races – We even have real “starting gates” for the Pugs!

4:00 PM – Event Closes for the Day

June 2, 2024 – Sunday

9:00 AM – Doors Open

9:30 AM – Opening Remarks

9:45 AM – Encore – Pug King/Queen, Prince/Princess, Duke/Duchess Crowning Ceremony and Parade of Contestants

10:30 AM – Pug Talent Contest (Best Trick, Best Kisser, Best Overall Talent).  Pug Costume Contest (Best Handmade, Best Movie-Related)

11:00 AM – Educational Breakout Session

11:30 AMPug Contests – Oldest, Youngest, Cutest, Plumpest, Curliest Tail, Fanciest Fella/Loveliest Lady (Pugs dressed up in accessories and modeling on the red carpet)

12:00 PM – Tunes with Trent Van Drisse (Roving Musical Entertainment)

12:15 PM – Educational Breakout Session – TBA

12:30 PM -Pug Custard Eating Contest (2 Sessions, 25 per session)

1:00 PM – Blessing of the Pugs and Friends

1:30 PM – Silent Auction Table Closes

2:00 PM – Most Photogenic Pug Winner Announced

2:30 PM – Pug Races – We even have real “starting gates” for the Pugs!

4:00 PM – Event Closes – Thank you for coming and your support.

Bluegrass Pugfest KING and QUEEN

The Bluegrass PugFest King and Queen Contest will officially begin on March 1, 2024!

Last year you helped us raise over $11,000 for rescued Pugs – let’s raise $15,000 this year!

Great News!  Due to the overwhelming participation in this event, we’ll also be “crowning” our second place winners as the Prince and Princess of the event and our third place winners as the Duke and Dutchess of the event!

How it works:

*Entry into the contest is free, when the contest begins on March 1st, entries may be submitted at https://www.gogophotocontest.com/bluegrasspugfest .  Contestant submissions will be accepted until March 31st at 11:59pm e.s.t..

*At 12:00 am e.s.t. on April 1st, voting will begin.  Votes are $1.00 each – the Male and Female Pug with the most votes win the title of Bluegrass PugFest King and Queen.  Voting will take place until 9:00pm e.s.t. on 4/30/24.  The competition is always fierce!

*2nd place male and female Pugs will win title of Prince and Princess and 3rd place male and female Pugs will win title of Duke and Duchess!

*Entries must be received by 3/31/2024 and voting takes place from 4/01/2024 to 4/30/24.  Winner will be announced in May!

*The King and Queen will be crowned at the event on Saturday June 1 at 9:45 AM and will walk down the red carpet for all to see.  All other “court” members and contestants will also walk the red carpet.  We’ll also walk the red carpet Sunday June 2 at 9:45 AM.

*The King and Queen contest is a fun way for you and your Pug to participate in the event while raising much-needed funds for the Pug Rescue groups that attend Bluegrass PugFest.

*While you’re at the event, other activities include Pug Custard Eating Contest, Pug Talent Contest, Pug Races, Pug Costume Contest, and many educational break-out sessions.

PugFest Events!

Pug King / Queen, Duke / Duchess, Prince / Princess Contest

Contestants enter this event in March and online voting takes place in April.  This is a key fundraiser of our event and those who raise the most money to help the participating Pug Rescues ($1 per vote) win the royal titles for each year’s PugFest.  Help us raise $15,000 for Pugs in need in 2024 – vote on your favorites at www.gogophotocontest.com/bluegrasspugfest.


Contests entry fees are $2.00 per Pug per contest.  Register early as many contests “sell out”.  Register at the Contest Registration Area at the event.  Unless otherwise noted, First, Second, and Third place prizes will be awarded for each contest.

Pug Custard Eating Contest:  Saturday and Sunday 12:30.  Does your Pug have what it takes to be the fast to eat their frozen custard treat?  Up to 75 Pugs can compete Saturday and 50 Sunday.  Pugs parents will be given a small frozen custard, when the judges yell “Go”, the clock begins, the first Pug to finish all of their Custard wins.  First, Second, and Third place prizes awarded.

Blessing of the Pugs and Friends:  Saturday/Sunday 1:00 PM.

The Bruce Truman Most Photogenic Pug Contest: Contest runs from event opening to 1:50 PM each day – winners will be announced at 2:00 pm each day.  If you wish to enter, please bring a printed 4X6 of your photo(s) to the contest booth (must be 4×6). The cost is $2.00 per photo entry, or you can enter all 3 divisions of the day for $5.00. You may enter as many pictures as you would like in each division, the cost is still $2.00 per photo (or 3 for 5 discount).

Photos will be judged and the winners will be announced at 2pm at the contest ring.  You can pick up your photos starting at 2:30pm at the contest booth.  This contest is in memory of Bruce Truman, our contest organizer Ashley’s precious Pug.

Cutest Dog– this should be the best pic you have of your dog. (no people in photo please)
Funniest Pic of my Dog- Anything goes for this, we are looking for that pic of your dog doing something that will make us laugh. (People, props, etc are allowed in these)
Best Black and White Photo of my Dog– Got a great pic of your dog, turn it to black and white in a photo editor app. (Props allowed, no people please)
Cutest Dog– this should be the best pic you have of your dog. (no people in photo please)
Me and my Dog- We want to see the best picture of you and your dog. (multiple people in photo is allowed)
Best Holiday- We want to see the best holiday-themed pic of your pet. Any holiday or special occasion. (people, props, and costumes are allowed)

Pug Races:  Saturday/Sunday 2:30 PM.  Pugs “race” to the finish of our 50′ long course from one of 6 starting gates.  Be sure to bring a friend or family member to stand at the end of the course to encourage your four-legged friend to “hurry it along”!  This event is a crowd-favorite and shouldn’t be missed!  First, Second, and Third place prizes awarded.

Pug Talent Contest:  Sunday 10:30 AM.  Does your dog have a special talent? We want to see it!  Participants can enter with their dog to showcase their talent.  Contest categories are Best Trick, Best Kisser, and Best Overall Talent).  Time limit is 2 minutes.  Please bring your own equipment/supplies- (music, table, drop cloth, etc.) We will have a Bluetooth speaker to play a music file from your phone if needed- music must be clean/kid-friendly.  Any talent that involves liquid must be performed on a drop cloth or tarp. (paints, bubbles, food, etc.).  First, Second, and Third place prizes awarded.

Pug Costume Contest:  Saturday 11:30 AM and Sunday 10:30 AM.  This contest will be sure to make you laugh uncontrollably!  We have four categories Saturday – Best Pug in Costume, Best Dog in Costume, Best Duo/Group, Best Pug/Owner Look-Alike and two categories Sunday – Best Hand-Made Costume and Best Movie Related.  Be sure to bring your supplies and best regalia!  Prizes for First, Second, and Third places in each category.

Educational Sessions

These free events are provided to give you a wealth of information about Pugs, nutrition, animal welfare, pet first aid, understanding and coping with pet loss, and Pug Myelopathy.  We will present these mini-workshops in a classroom environment.  Each workshop is designed to run about 30 minutes and allow time for questions and answers (around 45 minutes total).  We’ve done our best to avoid overlapping too many events.

Please plan to attend at least one or two of these incredible workshops, many professionals have worked hard to develop their workshops with you in mind.

Silent Auction

We have incredible items to bid on both Saturday and Sunday.  The silent auction runs from open until 1:30 PM each day.  Be sure to plan around the 1:30 PM end-time as you’ll want to watch your bids to ensure you don’t get outbid!  Payment via cash or card at the end of the auction – please don’t bid if you will not be at the event at 1:30 PM.

Blessing of the Pugs and Friends

You and your Pugs can attend a short blessing ceremony – a popular and free event.

Tunes By Trent

Join Trent Van Drisse as he roams the event to serenade you with a tune.  You may also catch him on our stage!  A huge thanks to Trent for three consecutive years of entertainment.


Contact us at bluegrasspugfest@gmail.com

NOTE: Bluegrass Pugfest, Inc. reserves the right to determine how the contest winners will be featured.