As galas go, this one is for the dogs. Which is actually a compliment, not to mention a selling point for those who love animals.
On Aug. 18, the Georgia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will hold its third annual "You Ain't Nothing But A Pound Dog" event, the organization's top fund raiser for its shelter and pet adoption center.
This isn't a haughty ball, but a fun Vegas-themed party that includes an Elvis impersonator (thus the gala's title), casino games, dancing and enough good food to make you forget any Sin City buffet. And the best part is instead of giving your money to a casino (there's a reason the Bellagio has such nice art), the cost of your ticket goes to help the animals.
"It's one of our biggest fundraisers of the year," said Jane Stewart, executive director of the Georgia SPCA and a Suwanee resident. "It is a wonderful way for people to help Georgia's homeless animals while having lots of fun at the same time. It is a very light-hearted night in what can be a very heavy-hearted business."
The cost is $77 per person, which includes a buffet and a chance to win a three-day stay at The Flamingo or Harrah's along with airfare for two to Las Vegas. Those who purchase a ticket by the end of July -- click here to purchase -- will get a second raffle ticket for the Vegas trip.
Funds will also be raised through a silent auction, with items including trips, a suite to watch the Atlanta Braves, Park Hopper passes to Disney World and golf packages among other things. Holly Firfer of CNN is the guest host and there will also be an appearance by Pam Johnson-Bennett, the star of Discovery Channel's "Psycho Kitty" and a world-renowned cat behavior expert.
The first year of the event started small, but last year more than 300 people attended at the Gwinnett Center ballroom in Duluth, according to Jane Lumbatis. An event co-chair, Lumbatis said she's hoping for attendance of 350 or more as the group tries to match or better last year's gala, which raised almost $30,000.
"That sounds like a lot, but our operating expenses are very high," said Lumbatis, a Sugar Hill resident who is a Georgia SPCA board member and also managers Sadie's Place, which sells used home decorative items and uses the proceeds to help fund the shelter. "We have a lot of animals coming in that need medical attention or special training, so (the costs) add up fast.
"(This event) is an awesome time, but the most important thing is the money goes to the animals."
The Georgia SPCA is built around volunteers of both time and supplies, so it makes sense that the organization is offering a $15 discount on tickets for those who donate five gallons of bleach or 20 pounds of scoopable cat litter to the shelter.
But no matter how you get the ticket, it's a nice way to have a good time and help your animal friends at the same time.
Email Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.