We've all heard of the dog days of summer, but Friday local businesses and artists are offering a night for the dogs.
The 5th annual Hair of the Dog Wine & Beer Tasting, a benefit for the Methuen MSPCA's Nevins Farm, will take place tomorrow, Friday, May 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. Hosted by the Essex Art Center at 56 Island St. in Lawrence, the event comes at a time when three MSPCA animal care and adoption centers in other parts of the state are being closed.
The closures will be coupled with downsizing at the organization, which in 2008 lost over $11 million, more than 25 percent of its endowment. "That loss makes it more important than ever for people to come out and support us this year," said Sheri Helman, who with her husband, Michael, owns Andover's Shawsheen Village Liquors. The Helmans founded the event and donate all the beer and wine for the tasting.
Last year, Hair of the Dog raised more than $8,000 for Nevins Farm. Once again, 100 percent of all ticket proceeds will go directly to it; so will 10 percent of all liquor and art sales. In addition, one of the dog-friendly wineries whose wines are being featured will donate $1 for every bottle of its wine sold at the event.
In all, there will be 50 wines from four continents, and crafts beers from around the country. There will also be appetizers, donated, prepared, and served by Whole Foods Market Andover.
Last year, Whole Foods Market became a sponsor of this popular event, attended by nearly 300 people. This year, in keeping with the MSPCA's statement of belief, it will be featuring an animal-friendly menu. That means any meat served will be from sources independently confirmed to follow minimum standards pertaining to the humane treatment of animals—i.e., "Certified Humane."
Nevins Farm cares for a variey of animals including dogs and cats. Nevins community outreach coordinator Heather Robertson said, "We also care for horses, goats, sheep, chickens, steer, pigs, and just about any other kind of farm animal."
The wine and beer tasting kicks off an art show that will feature more than 20 local artists all from the Merrimack Valley, including jewelry makers, potters, painters, sculptors who work in clay, and artists who work in fabric. In keeping with the animal theme, some are bringing animal-themed art.
Music will be offered by the White Street Band, a Chicago-style blues band with a rock and roll edge that played at last year's event. Whole Foods Market Andover will be providing an array of appetizers to sample.
The cost to attend the event will be $20 in advance or $25 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at Shawsheen Village Liquors, 4 Poor St, Andover 978-475-3636; or the MSPCA, Nevins Farm, 400 Broadway (Route 28), Methuen, 978-687-7453.
Those who do not want to drink out of "those tiny little cups," can purchase a wine glass with the "Hair of the Dog" logo for $5, according to Michael Helman. An autographed set of Hugh Hamiton Wines (JimJim Shiraz, Unoaked Chardnnay, Barkers White and Knick Knack) along with a book "Vineyards and Wineries of New England" will be raffled off.¬ The raffle tickets are $5 each or 3 for $10 and all of the proceeds go to Nevins Farm. Glasses and raffle tickets can be purchased at the liquor store.