Ocala, FL – Mermaid, a beautiful American Staffordshire Terrier, is ready to greet guests decked out in formal attire during the 7th Annual Furball, presented by Lugano Diamonds at the World Equestrian Center on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023. Mermaid is the official Furball Ambassador and is available for adoption through VOCAL. Furball guests are able to spend some time with the adorable 3-year-old pooch in the Cuddle Lounge by participating in the 50-50 raffle to help the organization reach its fundraising goal. 50-50 raffle tickets are available now and can be purchased online.
Be sure to smile for a selfie with Mermaid too, who is described as “an amazingly friendly tri-colored tri-pod looking for a couch to call her own and who steals the hearts of everyone she meets.”
There is more in store for the Furball than just dinner and dancing at the World Equestrian Center. When the doors open for guests, the evening will highlight additional ways to learn how to support the mission of VOCAL featuring a silent auction. Art collectors will certainly want to place a bid on a variety of items including a limited-edition bronze sculpture “She’s Retired and Free” by local artist Todd Lane.
The hope is to reach and exceed the goal of $125,000 this year. The focus of VOCAL — Voices of Change Animal League – is to solve the problem of homeless pets in Marion County through prevention, community outreach, adoption and collaboration. Since 2015, the gala has become the signature event to raise community awareness and seek support for homeless pets.
“Furball started in 2015, the year we were founded,” said VOCAL Vice President/Founder Lauren Carpenter. “Since then, we have grown the event and this will be our 7th Furball. We have several people who attend every year and we have gained a captive audience in the community. Businesses and guests alike are familiar with the event and look forward to attending and sponsoring each year.”
While the last four years the Furball was hosted at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, the event outgrew the stately clubhouse and a larger venue was needed to accommodate more guests.
Carpenter added, “This year moving the location to WEC is a transitional year for us with new guests and it’s allowing us to share our mission with more people. We can accommodate many more guests having the event at Expo 1 and we do not have to limit ticket sales this year.”
In addition to enjoying a delicious 3-course meal and moving to the beat on the dance floor, the larger venue will allow guests more space to mingle and learn how they can support VOCAL.
Proceeds from the 2023 Furball will be used to fund the overall work of VOCAL through the Community Clinic, Pet Food Bank, the adoption process and providing low cost procedures.
So, let the bidding begin on a luxurious package to stay at The Equestrian Hotel located in the heart of the World Equestrian Center. The package also includes attendance to the grand prix on the terrace during VIP viewing to have a full experience of the property.
VOCAL also recognizes the list of sponsors for the 7th Annual Furball which include: Presenting – Lugano Diamonds; Platinum – Ocala Horse Properties, Solar Trek, Penn Flooring, Pat Myers Electric; Gold – Florida Express Environmental, Gold’s Gym, Freedom Nissan, Ocala Fence; Silver – ClosetMaid, Furlong Financial Group, PLLC, Sullivan Cadillac, Ocala Periodontics & Dental Implants, Cone Distributing, SouthState Bank, First Federal Bank, Pediatric Associates of Ocala and Sabal Direct Primary Care; Bar & Cocktail Hour – Bill & Cheryl Findlay.
The 2023 Furball gala “Change in Full Bloom,” begins at 6 p.m. on Feb. 25th in Expo Center 1 at the World Equestrian Center. Tickets to the black-tie event are $150 and can be purchased online at https://vocalforpets.org.