It was an excuse to get all dressed up – in costume.

It was an excuse to get all dressed up – in costume.

Over the weekend, the Centennial Building played host to the eighth annual Bow Wow Bash. The Saturday event welcomed friends of the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society for their annual Halloween-themed fundraiser.

 “The event was very successful and we raised much-needed funds,” said Sandi Christy, president of the board of directors for the SJBHS.

Last year, the event brought in close to $39,000 from 265 attendees, but Christy reported that this year’s 298 attendees raised over $40,000.

The final numbers will be in once the SJBHS volunteers have taken a much-deserved break.

All proceeds will go directly toward keeping the lights on at the humane society. The facility’s daily operations are largely fueled by a volunteer staff that feed, walk and socialize with animals, clean cages, coordinate vet visits and provide animal transportation.

In addition to ticket sales, funds were raised through the sale of over 200 donated items and sold to attendees through live and silent auctions.

In addition to auction items that included arts and crafts, gift baskets with food and drink, and pet supplies, Mary Anne Conroy, the chef behind Gourmet Now, offered to serve dinner for 10 with wine and liquor provided by Les and Andrea Heard.

The bidding closed at $1,600.

More than $5,000 alone was raised through the sales of three- and four-night vacations to high-end resorts in Aruba, Curacao and San Juan, Puerto Rico. The trips were organized through Brett Mizner, an executive with the travel website,

“I’d say that they were the best auctions we ever had,” said Christy. “We’re extremely pleased with the support.”

Each year, Wylie Petty and the staff of the El Governor Motel volunteer their time to decorate the Centennial Building for the Bash. Haunting orange lights shone on the exterior, while inside, skulls, giant spiders and eerie candles decorated tables as far as the eye could see.

Between bids, awards were given for best male, female and couple’s costume and the room provided was packed with an array colorful characters that included Elvis Presley, a pair of Oompa Loompas, pirates, witches, ghosts, ghouls and the ever-elusive Waldo.

Amidst the crowd, an eagle-eyed attendee could spot Christy celebrating the festivities dressed as a golden retriever.

Christy extended a thank you to everyone who attended the event from Port St. Joe, Mexico Beach and those who traveled into town to show support.

“We couldn’t do it without our volunteers and the community,” said Christy. “We’re going to save a lot of lives.”