By: Sarah A. Neikam, Operations Manager

Do you have plans Saturday night? Do you like food? Drinks? Games and live music? Love animals? If this is you, we have your Saturday night in the doggie bag. Come out to the SPCA to Party for the Pets at Barkaritaville!

Tickets are on sale now at, at 199 Willow Run Road, or at either of our two Thrift Shop locations. Admission is $25 in advance or $30 at the door. $10 for kids 12 and under and free for leashed dogs. That may seem like a high price to pay, but let me tell you what that money includes for you, what it provides for the SPCA, and how you can even get in for free.

The event is this Saturday, October 22nd from 6-10pm. Your ticket purchase includes admission to Barkaritaville: our very own parking lot party for the pets, full of fun, themed booths serving all the tasty, bite-sized savories, sweets and drinks you can consume; a cool wristband to prove you were there, carnival games complete with prizes, costume contest entry, voting tokens for your favorite booths, and live music all night. You can even bring your dog (leashed, please).

I don’t have a menu to show you, but to give you an idea, each food & drink complements the themed booth serving it, and these are just a few of the planned themes: Mad Hatter, Queen of Hearts, Boss Hogg, Jurassic World, Southern Comfort, Medieval Times, Dr. Seuss and Campaign Headquarters for the Dog Party, plus many more!

I don’t think you’ll have a hard time finding something to satisfy your cravings with so many options, but if you’d rather stick to the basics, we’ll also have burgers & hot dogs on the grill available to purchase and a cash bar offering full-size beer, wine and other cocktails.

Live music will be provided by local favorite Third Time Charmers, a trio that began with now Aiken Mayor, Rick Osbon, singer Brooke Lundy and singer-guitarist Ken Gabriel. After Mayor Osbon’s successful election win last November, singer-bassist Mark Jones stepped in. The band has performed their genre of rock/soul/blues/country at venues and events in and around Aiken including The Red Pepper, Mellow Mushroom, WingPlace, Playoffs Sports Bar & Grill, Backyard Tavern, First Tee of Aiken, Fire Over Aiken, and a benefit for the Saratoga Warhorse Foundation in August.

As for what your ticket price provides for the SPCA, here’s some information to chew on: The SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare is a private, non-profit organization. We operate a limited-admission animal shelter, full-service Veterinary Care Center and two Thrift Shops.

Revenue for the services and programs we provide comes from individual donations, business sponsorships, fees for our services, fundraisers and events, retail sales, and occasional grants. We receive no state or federal funding nor any regular funding from the ASPCA or the Humane Society of the United States, both which are completely separate organizations.

This revenue enables us to provide shelter, food, enrichment, medicine, veterinary care and eventually a home for over 800 companion animals each year, in addition to providing affordable veterinary care to pets owned by people in our community.

If you’d still rather get in free, there are a few spaces left for booth vendors. You provide a themed booth with sample size food & drink for the crowd, we’ll provide the space and audience to showcase your talents or business. Plus you could win a prize for best food, best drink, best theme or overall best booth. Grand prize is a mountain vacation and $500 Visa gift card! Pre-registration is required, so call Sarah at 803-648-6863 or email [email protected] for information no later than Friday, October 21st.

Barkaritaville is the SPCA’s biggest fundraising event of the year, and the most fun in my opinion, so I hope you will see the true value in the price of a ticket and join us Saturday night for a tail-waggin’ fun night!

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.