The Second Annual Puppy Bowl at Sanctuary Brewing Company

This shot, from last year's Puppy Bowl at Sanctuary Brewing, augurs even more gamboling good times for this weekend's shenanigans.

This shot, from last year’s Puppy Bowl at Sanctuary Brewing, augurs even more gamboling good times for this weekend’s shenanigans.

The Super Bowl’s been going on for more than half a century, and Puppy Bowl, sponsored by the Animal Planet channel, is doing its best to catch up: this year, the popular show, always aired opposite the Bowl, is entering its second decade.

But what’s better than watching a beautiful tangle of slightly confused pups gamboling to energetic commentary? Enjoying such a spectacle in person, of course. At Sanctuary Brewing Company — downtown Henderonville’s pub that promotes animal-advocacy programs — owners Lisa McDonald and Joe Dinan are sponsoring their own Puppy Bowl on February 5, following the success of the inaugural event last Super Bowl Sunday. The players, drafted from the Blue Ridge Humane Society, will comprise Team Gruff and Team Tuff, showing off their winning moves on a model football field. Meanwhile, adoptable cats, on loan from Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, get a chance to “cheer” — or, let’s be honest, express a range of rather more dignified emotions — from the sidelines.

“Last year’s Puppy Bowl was so much fun and so successful, we knew we had to make this an annual event,” McDonald said in a press statement. “Eleven animals were adopted as a result of Puppy Bowl 2016, and nothing would make us happier than to exceed that number this year.”

Almost as an afterthought, the Brewery will also show the real game, beginning at 6pm, accompanied by signature brews and ciders, corn chowder, and French bread. Puppy Bowl happens from 1-3pm.

147 First Avenue East. For more information, call 828-595-9956 or visit

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