EAST MONTPELIER — Animal lovers are being encouraged to sign up and support the annual Fur Fest next month, the second-largest fundraiser for the Central Vermont Humane Society.
Fur Fest will be held at Vermont Granite Museum on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will include food by Delicate Decadence and dessert from Birchgrove Baking in Montpelier, a cash bar and an auction. The celebrity guest and master of ceremonies will be Assistant Attorney General Ryan Kriger, who is also a noted stand-up comedian.
CVHS hopes to raise $30,000 from the fundraiser at the start of its fiscal year and needs to sell 150 tickets at $35 each to meet its target, together with other fundraising and donations, said Laurie Garrison, executive director of CVHS.
“This is our second-biggest fundraiser of the year — we call it a fun-raiser,” said Garrison. “It’s very short, 5 to 8 p.m. and it’s at the Granite Museum, which is a very cool venue, and we have delicious food from Delicate Decadence in Barre and dessert from Birchgrove Baking, which everybody loves, and we have a fabulous auction with some really cool things to auction off, including an electric ukulele that’s been handmade from wood by an artisan.
“We’re hoping to make $30,000 and all proceeds go to the animals, of course, and we need more people to come,” she added.
Garrison said a big attraction at the event this year would be Ryan Kriger.
According to Kriger’s website, he has performed stand-up comedy around New York and New England and generally avoids competitions, but did make the semi-finals for Funniest Comic in New England. He also owned Vermont’s first comedy club, Levity in Burlington, that operated for a year and a half.
“By day, he’s an assistant attorney general doing a very serious, important job, and he a comedian by night,” Garrison said. “He’s not doing that anymore, but he he’s going to be our emcee and we’re soliciting stories from people who have adopted pets from CVHS.
“They’re tell us their funny stories and he’s going to turn them into a routine, telling funny stories about people’s pets and how they’ve enriched their lives, and how it’s important to support CVHS, so the next family can adopt their own funny pet or their own heartwarming pet,” Garrison continued. “I think that’s something that sets us apart — we have these amazing and heartwarming stories about our pets that we deal with every day, which is kind of special. I was just telling someone that your pets are your unconditional love.
“Pets don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, if you’re male or female; they love everyone. It’s a great equalizer. Animal lovers love animals, and it’s a wonderful thing,” she added.
Garrison said that CVHS was “doing well” so far this year, although it is only two months into its fiscal year and was running a deficit, hence the need to meet the target goal of the Fur Fest fundraiser.
“It helps us launch into our end-of-year fundraising and into our fiscal year success,” Garrison said.
Last year, CVHS raised $805,000 to care for more than 1,000 animals through the year. The biggest fundraiser of the year, the Walk for Animals in Montpelier in May, raised $74,000 of its “stretch goal” of $80,000.
This year, CVHS has budgeted it needs to raise a total of $740,000, a slightly lower goal because Garrison said the shelter had not “back-filled” some employee positions, but the caseload of animals remained the same.
Adoption fees only cover about $135,000 of costs — to cover medical and dental care, shots, and spay and neutering — requiring CVHS to hold fundraisers like Fur Fest, Garrison added.
CVHS will hold another fundraiser, Holiday with the Animals, at CVHS’s annual open house Dec. 14.
Fur Fest will be held at Vermont Granite Museum on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 5 to 8 p.m.