By Samantha Joseph
JENSEN BEACH - A favorite fundraiser returns this month as the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center presents its "Owl's howl Halloween ghoula."
For the fifth year, the nonprofit is hosting the gala that helps it raise thousands to care for sick or injured animals from across the region.
On Oct. 26 "at the stroke of seven, spirits will unite for a hauntingly good time," according to advertising material, and ghosts and goblins will haunt the Mansion at Tuckahoe in the Indian Riverside Park in Jensen Beach.
The gala event will feature a buffet of delectable treats, beer, wine and howling good music from String Theory. A cash bar will also be available for additional spirits. Organizers encourage costumes and will award a prize for creativity.
About 150 to 175 guests attended last year's party, which helped raise about $5,000 for the nonprofit.
The money raised goes toward running the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center's animal hospital and funding its wildlife rehabilitation work.
"We care for everything from song birds to bald eagles, bunny rabbits to bobcats," said Dan Martinelli, Treasure Coast Wildlife Center's executive director. "If it lives in Florida it comes to this organization."
The center rehabilitates about 1,500 to 2,000 animals each year, nursing them to health and returning them to their natural habitats.
It relies on donations and proceeds from its events such as the "ghoula" to fund its operations.
And officials said caring for thousands of animals is an expensive undertaking that requires them to provide medical care, shelter and rehabilitation services, plus maintain and operate the physical plant that serves as the organization's base.
The $5,000 it netted last year is "not much in the overall scheme," Mr. Martinelli said.
"We spend five or six times that amount on feed alone every year," he said.
The good news for the group, though, is that sponsorship and attendance at its Halloween bash is on the rise.
Admission to the event is $75 for the first ticket and $50 for each additional one purchased at the same time. Included with admission are food, beer and wine. A group rate of $375 is also available for tables of eight, who organizers said will receive additional drinks and door prizes.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.tcwild.org or call (772) 286-6200.