Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dead of Winter event to raise money for Humane Society - Florida

 — If you visit the Humane Society animal shelter in January, you might encounter the evil nutcracker, the zombie choir or the sugar plumb fairies that have gone bad. And they may be among the least frightening characters.
“We do not recommend this for small children,” said Karedi McGovern, a theater teacher at Sebring High School. “We’ve had adults turn around and get out of there. You’ve got to put your big girl and your big boy pants on.”
The ghoulish characters are part of the Dead of Winter event that will be held at the Highlands County Humane Society on the last four Saturdays of January from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets will cost $10.
Judy Spiegel, president of the Humane Society, said this will be the second year for the event that raises money for the organization. Last year, it was held the first time as a sort of a replacement for the Society’s traditional fundraising event named Terror Trail. That year, Terror Trail was scrapped because of the wet ground from all the rain.
Although Terror Trail was held this year, the Humane Society decided to continue with Dead of Winter.
Terror Trail raised $32,000 this year and Dead of Winter raised several thousand dollars last year.
But Spiegel emphasized that people shouldn’t think that because of that, the Humane Society has all the money it needs.
“Some people don’t realize we need more than just dog and cat food,” Spiegel said. There’s also the cost of maintenance, medicine, utilities and other expenses, she added.
Proceeds from Dead of Night will go into the operating budget for the Humane Society, which provides for various expenses, she said.
The Humane Society recently finished its Tree of Wishes program where people buy stuff for individual cats and dogs. Spiegel said the event was successful, adding that it’s one of her favorites.
“This is the only event that is just about the animals,” she said. The dogs and cats receive toys, treats and food that they don’t normally get because of a limited budget.
The Dead of Winter will have 60 students who portray different types of creepy characters, McGovern said. All of the students are members of the Twisted Path Players at the high school and must audition for parts, she said.
She said the student must have taken or be taking her class. McGovern said she participates, resulting in the Dead of Winter performers ranging in age from 14 to 59.
She describes Dead of Winter as being “scary, but twisted. “It’s not just a gore fest.”
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