This Halloween season, four Summit County nonprofits are asking people to pull on their masks and open up their wallets to support their furry, four-legged animal friends. LAPS (League for Animals and People of the Summit), Swan Center Outreach, Far View Horse Rescue and Animal Rescue of the Rockies will host the inaugural HOWLaween Ball at the Silverthorne Pavilion on Friday from 7 to 11 p.m.
At the end of last year, LAPS applied for and received a grant from the town of Silverthorne for use of the Silverthorne Pavilion. LAPS president Sally Beerup then contacted the other three animal-related nonprofits to suggest a joint fundraiser.
“I love Halloween,” Beerup said, which drove the idea of creating a fun costume party.
Since last December, members from the four groups have worked together to organize the event and gather support from local businesses. The decorations, for example, have been donated by the Elk’s Club, which had used them during the former Coroner’s Ball fundraisers.
The HOWLaween ball is a 21-and-up adult costume party, with a cash bar, free appetizers and live music and dancing. Although the money raised will go to local animal charities, animals are not allowed at the event. However, dressing up with an animal theme is encouraged.
Prizes will be given for costumes of both the animal and traditional Halloween variety, including for Best, Funniest, Scariest and Most Unique costumes, as well as best group theme. A professional photographer will be on hand to capture the results.
The ball will also include a silent auction, with locally donated items. The auction will have a buy-it-now area, for those who wish to purchase instantly. Auction items include lodging deals around Summit, restaurant certificates, a brand-new cruiser bicycle, jewelry and pet gift baskets.
“It’s a little bit of everything,” Beerup said.
Nearly 100 percent of the proceeds will be split evenly among the four charities. Beerup and her collaborators did their best to make it a no-cost event, and came very close, she said. All those working on the event are volunteers.
“We are trying very, very hard to not have very much expense, and that’s due to some wonderful sponsors who are making that happen,” she said. “All (four) of the groups are going to be equally benefitting for this. … It’s equal across the board.”
Beerup hopes to gather a few more volunteers for the event. Volunteers will work in shifts so they will be able to enjoy themselves at the ball, she said. Those interested can sign up on the HOWLaween website at www.howlaween.com.
Beerup said they’re expecting around 200 people to attend this first ball, though the pavilion will hold around 450, so more are certainly welcome. They also plan to make it an annual event.
Organizing the event has been a great experience for the four nonprofits, Beerup said. “They’re all wonderful people and wonderful causes.”
Beerup hopes the HOWLaween Ball will give animal lovers a chance to come and support all of the charities at once — and have a good time in the process.
“Who could not want to support groups that do things like that? There’s a definite need for it,” she said. “If you love animals and think they should be treated much better than they are in a whole lot of instances, we’re the groups that are trying to make that happen.”
the four groups
LAPS, founded in 1990, provides funded programs to keep the pet population in check by making it affordable to spay and neuter pets. The organization also assists lower-income families with high veterinary bills for pets that have undergone a long illness or had an accident. Annual LAPS fundraisers include DogTerra, K94K and Pet Photos with Santa and the Grinch. Learn more at www.summitlaps.com.
The Swan Center Outreach provides home and rehabilitation to farm animals such as horses, donkeys, llamas, alpaca, sheep and goats. The center’s programs include leadership and self-awareness seminars for adults and children, as well as programs designed specifically for those with physical handicaps or mental disabilities. All of the animals rescued by the center are kept until the end of their life. Learn more at www.SwanCenter.org.
Far View Horse Rescue works in Breckenridge and Fairplay to rescue and rehabilitate abused and abandoned horses. Once an animal is rehabilitated, it is put up for adoption. Children and adults are welcome to volunteer at the center, which teaches how to care for horses. Learn more at www.FarViewHorseRescue.com.
Animal Rescue of the Rockies provides foster and adoptive homes for homeless dogs and cats as an alternative to animal shelter housing. All pets in this program are spayed or neutered, micro-chipped and vaccinated before adoption. The organization has also recently signed a long-term lease on 160 acres of mountain property west of Fort Collins to establish a “halfway house” for pets pulled from shelters before they’re placed in foster homes. The Cat Casita adoption center in Fairplay, also run by the group, houses up to 15 adoptable cats in a cage-free playroom. Learn more at www.AnimalRescueoftheRockies.com.