Calling all cooks, mixologists and creative minds: the SPCA Albrecht Center is looking for people like you!

Preparation for the fourth annual Barkaritaville is underway, and we are seeking individuals to host themed booths to make this party for the animals spectacular. Barkaritaville is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year, and the booth hosts are a huge part of why the event has been so successful over the past three years.

So what do I mean by “booths?” Participants set up tables and tents in our shelter’s parking lot that they decorate to match any theme they come up with. They serve samples of their best dish and beverage (alcoholic or non) to attendees, who then vote for what they consider to be the best food, drink, theme and booth of the evening.

Best booth gets the top prize: A cozy cabin trip in the North Carolina Mountains and $500 in spending money!

We encourage anyone participating to be as creative and festive as they want. For example, Kevin Staniszewski and his crew with Get to it Transport brought Oz to the SPCA. Members of Staniszewski’s team were dressed up as Dorothy, Toto, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion, the Wicked Witch, Glinda the Good Witch and the Wizard. They had the yellow brick road and even the witch’s feet still donning the famous ruby slippers sticking out from under a table.

They won best theme and best overall booth for their Wizard of Oz-themed booth in 2015.

That’s just one of many examples of imaginative, fun-loving personalities of every person who has set up a booth at Barkaritaville.

Speaking of fun-loving, we want anyone who is setting up a booth to have a blast, and to enjoy the party. Even our own staff members have set up booths in the past.

In 2014, our clinic staff set up an informative yet whimsical booth with the theme, “Happy About Spay and Neuter.” They served up deep-fried happy face French fries accompanied with ketchup-loaded syringes. They even had a small photo booth set up with crazy accessories attendees could use while saying “cheese!”

Setting up a booth is free, and we supply the sporks, sample cups and food trays, napkins and hand sanitizer. Tents, tables, food and drinks and any cooking utensils or equipment must be provided by the booth host.

Booth hosts also receive free entry into Barkaritaville for two people.

Other festivities include live music provided by Third Time Charmers, a Halloween costume contest for both people and pets, and carnival games.

Grilled burgers will be available for purchase along with a cash bar.

Barkaritaville begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 at the SPCA Albrecht Center located at 199 Willow Run Road. A tentative rain date has been set for Nov. 12.

Tickets are on sale now for $25, and will be $30 at the gate. Kids ages 12 and under will be admitted for $10. Each attendee will receive an admission wristband and voting tokens. A valid ID is required at the gate to receive a 21 or older wristband.

For more information about Barkaritaville, visit

Amy Banton is the Community Outreach Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare.

The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a private, nonprofit, no kill animal shelter in Aiken, SC.  The SPCA also operates a local Thrift Store (“Where Shopping Saves Lives”),  a public, affordable Veterinary Care Center & a Dog Park.  It is our mission to improve the lives of companion animals by rehoming abused, abandoned, and neglected pets while fighting for their well-being through vigorous legislative efforts, humane education, and by offering affordable veterinary care for all.