Gamboling in the End Zone

Football isn’t for everyone, but puppies are, as exhibited by Brooke Fornea of Brother Wolf Animal Rescue.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

Sanctuary Brewing Company’s fourth annual Puppy Bowl is low strategy but high stakes. The battle between Team Gruff and Team Tuff takes place on Super Bowl Sunday, and it’s hard not to root for all the fumbling, stumbling pups. 

However, the event — a live, hometown version of the original Puppy Bowl started 14 years ago on the Animal Planet cable channel — has a definite purpose. Proceeds this year will benefit local nonprofits Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and Sweet Bear Rescue Farm, and Atlanta rapper Grey, a committed vegan, will perform the halftime show.

“There’s a pretty big puppy football field, and two teams designated by different color bandanas. Every time a puppy runs into either end zone with a toy, it’s a touchdown,” explains Sanctuary Brewing co-owner Lisa McDonald. “Mostly it’s just pups being silly and adorable, but there really is some fun action, as well.”

All the pups who play on Puppy Bowl Sunday are up for adoption.
Photo by Rachel Pressley

And behind the action, there’s a mission. Thirty adoptable puppies will be involved in the game, making it a great way to showcase many animals at once. Vendors including No Evil Foods, Garlik Vegan, and Sharewell Coffee will complete the platform, complementing Sanctuary Brewing’s house beers. A Pop-Up Puppy photo booth will also be on site, courtesy of Indulge Images. 

The brewery began the event three years ago, after a friend’s suggestion, and it only gets bigger. So big, in fact, that this year’s event has been moved from the brewery’s downtown location to the Kanuga Conference & Retreat Center.

“The location is absolutely gorgeous, and it was very important for us to keep it in the Hendersonville area,” McDonald says. “When we realized we had outgrown our current location, Kanuga was at the top of the list for us.”

Grey, who’s most known for his “Vegan Thanksgiving” rap, will host the show as well as perform. McDonald was introduced to him at last summer’s Asheville Vegan Fest and says, “he’s super charming and talented, and we thought he would have the perfect energy for Puppy Bowl. He’s our dream host — we are so excited to work with him.”

Photo by Rachel Pressley

Sanctuary Brewing Company’s 4th Annual Puppy Bowl will be played at 1pm on Sunday, February 3, in the gymnasium at the Kanuga Conference & Retreat Center, 130 Kanuga Chapel Drive, Hendersonville. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and $75 for VIP (which includes field-level seats and a T-shirt). For more information, see www.PuppyBowl2019 or Puppy Bowl 2019! on Facebook. (Also: Official Grey Music on Facebook.)

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