By: Sarah A. Neikam, Operations Manager

September comes to a close this week, believe it or not, and October is just four days away. October means falling leaves, cooler temperatures (eventually), pumpkin spice everything, Halloween decor and treats in all the stores and for the SPCA Albrecht Center, it means Barkaritaville!

In case you haven’t heard yet, Barkaritaville is the fall fundraising event for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. The SPCA’s large parking lot will be transformed into a block party featuring 20-30 fun, themed booths, each offering a variety of tasty food & drink samples.

In addition to the booths, there will be carnival games with prizes, a costume contest, and live music by Third Time Charmers. Leashed dogs are welcome and there will be treats for them, too.

Each of the participating booths will be competing for votes in the categories of best food, best drink, best theme, and best overall booth. Event attendees get to sample all of the yummy offerings and vote for their favorites.

Over twenty booths have signed up already and there are a few spaces left if you’d like to get in on the fun and compete for prizes, including a mountain vacation and $500 spending money! It’s FREE to host a booth, plus admission for two booth operators is included along with two Barkaritaville t-shirts.

Host a booth with your best friend, with your spouse, with your coworker, or with your business partner. It’s a fantastic, fun and easy way to show off your skills or promote your business, whether your business is food oriented or not.

The SPCA will provide a 20 x 20 ft space for each booth, paper trays to serve food, small, plastic cups for drink samples, napkins, sporks, hand sanitizer and a voting bank to collect votes. You provide your tent, a table or two, a couple of chairs if you need them, your chosen theme decor, bite-sized food & drink samples . You’ll have from 10am until 5pm on event day to set everything up and get ready for the party.

A few of the booths already signed up to participate include a pirate themed booth serving Caribbean punch, a Southern Comfort booth serving what else but fried chicken and bourbon, a Silver Screen booth serving pâte à choux with champagne, and adjoining Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts booths serving caterpillar cocktails, white rabbit pudding and other wonderland delights.

Some memorable booths from the past include Day of the Dead, Wizard of Oz (they brought their own rainbow!), Starbarks pup-cake and catfé coffee house, Phideaux’s Phiesta (which won best food with their howl-worthy chili), Breakfast at Tiffany’s with their own Audrey Hepburn look-a-like, and a Disco themed booth with award winning Funky Love Punch.

Go ahead and let your imagination run wild with what other booths will sign up this year. You could come up with a crowd favorite and walk away with the top prize! At the very least, all booth participants win the warm, fuzzy feeling of knowing their efforts have helped promote a great cause and introduced more people to the SPCA Albrecht Center.

Ready to sign up? Visit, email [email protected] or call 803-648-6863.Hurry, spots are limited and they’re going fast!

Not interested in hosting a booth but looking forward to sampling all the goodies? Go ahead and get your tickets to Barkaritaville in advance and save $5. Purchase online at, over the phone at 803-648-6863 or in person at 199 Willow Run Road in Aiken.

Your admission ticket grants you access to all of these goodies and more, plus voting tokens to declare your favorites, carnival games with prizes, entrance to the costume contest if you like, and live music all night by Third Time Charmers.

Then, on October 22nd, bring your appetite, your thirst and your dancing feet to the SPCA for some fantastic food, delicious drinks, live music and a tail-waggin’ good time!

Sarah Neikam is the Communications & Marketing Director for the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare. She is an Aiken native and has been with the SPCA since 2012. Sarah lives in Graniteville with her husband, Tom, mother, Cheryl and three adopted cats: Bastian, Luna and Grady.

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.