Preparations begin for Mardi Gras Beer and Wine Tasting event

The Mardi Gras Beer and Wine Tasting event to support the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter saw a packed house last year. There are hopes for an even bigger turnout 6 p.m. Friday, March 1, at The Civic.
Donna Summerall
Staff Writer

For those who love great craft beer and fine wines, the ninth annual Mardi Gras Beer and Wine Tasting Event to support the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter, Friday, March 1, is the place to be.

The doors of The Civic will open at 6 p.m. for ticket holders to try some of the best craft beers and wine in the area. There will be a silent auction at 9 p.m. together with dancing and a cash bar until midnight. No one under 21 will be admitted. Tickets are $25 and cover food, beer and wine.

Melanie Elmore, of the WPCCAS, said they are in need of food donations of hors d'oeuvres, desserts and items for the silent auction.

"We will be accepting donations of food and items for the silent auction at the shelter," Elmore said."We are already loading a trailer with silent auction donations. Food donations can be taken to The Civic from noon to before the doors open Friday, March 1."

Elmore extended the invitation to everyone in the Golden Triangle area who loves cats and dogs and having a good time.

"If you've never come before, you have been missing out. Tt's great food, good friends and Mardi Gras," Elmore said. "There will be beads and masks on the tables and everything will be draped in green, gold and purple. This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the animal shelter and we want everyone to be a part of it."

Elmore asked that no outside food or beverages be brought in, there will be plenty available during the evening. She said this isn't a BYOB event, as it defeats the purpose of a fundraiser for the shelter.

"Our main course will be barbecue with all the fixins, smoked by none other than Burt Nix," Elmore said. "Annie Frye will be in charge of the kitchen. We have a lot of businesses who have been generous with donating food, but we can always use more hors d'oeuvres and desserts. We always have a huge crowd and we want to make sure everyone has enough to eat."

According to Elmore a crowd of at least 300, participated in last year's event. She hopes this year will be even bigger.

"if you purchase tickets prior to the event, we will be happy to deliver them," Elmore said. "There will be tickets available at the door, as well.

Jessica Bagwell of the WPCCAS, said they would welcome volunteers who want to help with the set up and decorating at The Civic.

"We are hoping to be able to start decorating The Civic Monday," Bagwell said. "We'll be working on moving tables, chairs and putting up the decorations all week. We would appreciate any and all help."

Bagwell said they need a lot of hands to help make The Civic festive for the event.

LeeAnn Simpson with the WPCCAS said donations to the silent auction are always greatly appreciated.

"Donations can come from businesses and individuals," Simpson said. "The more auction items we have the more it helps the shelter."

There are always those who question why the shelter needs to raise funds every year.

"The proceeds go for the day - to - day operating costs of the shelter," Elmore said. "We don't receive and federal or state funding, we exist solely on donations. The largest expenses we have are food for the animals and vaccinations."

Elmore explained the shelter is continuing to make improvements. The isolation section is always in need of expansion.

"When animals come in that have been picked up by our Animal Control officer, we don't know where they come from," Elmore said. "They are put into isolation for seven to twelve days so they can be tested by a vet for contagious diseases. That way they can be treated if there is a problem without the illness spreading."

Tickets can be purchased at the door, at Franks Package Store, The SmokeStack and the West Point Clay County Animal Shelter.

For more information on donating or to purchase tickets, call 524-4430 or 295-8318.