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Puss 'N Boots Ball at Historic Ashland Armory

Children aren't the only ones who can make fools of themselves on Halloween. Grown-ups also have the opportunity to dress up as superheroes, animals or villains and eat, drink and dance for a good cause at the 18th Annual Puss 'N Boots Ball.

"It's a great Halloween function that gives people a chance to party and do the whole Halloween thing for a good cause," said Julia Roupp, a Friends of the Animal Shelter board member and volunteer who has emceed the event for about 13 years.

The ball begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Historic Ashland Armory, 208 Oak St., Ashland.

The Puss 'N Boots Ball is hosted by FOTAS, the nonprofit organization that supports the adoption and animal welfare programs of the Jackson County Animal Shelter.

FOTAS first hosted a fundraiser similar to the ball in December 1990 for supporters of the Jackson County "pound" and the Southern Oregon Humane Society and raised about $2,000. The following year, when the group achieved nonprofit status as FOTAS, a volunteer suggested hosting a costume ball fundraiser. The ball was later dubbed Puss 'N Boots after a 17th century fairy tale about a cat with magic boots who brought good fortune to his master.

Last year more than 200 people attended the ball that raised about $24,000 for FOTAS programs such as a medical fund for shelter animals needing special treatment to make them healthy and adoptable.

FOTAS offers several programs including the foster program, medical program and Two-Fur-One, a program that allows people to adopt two kittens or cats and pays the second adoption fee. Each year the Shelter cares for almost 7,000 lost, abandoned and stray pets.

The majority of the shelter's revenue comes from licensing fees, Roupp said.

Peggy Moore, FOTAS president, said the funds from this year's ball are essential as the shelter tries to maintain all its programs without general fund money from the county. The general fund money was withdrawn three years ago and had comprised almost 8 percent of the Shelter's budget.

"We're trying to pick up some of the slack in the funding that (the shelter) can't get," Moore said.

This year the festivities will include a gourmet dinner buffet by Quality Catering (the catering arm of Cafe Dejeuner), a cash bar with a wide selection of fine wines, live music by the Rogue Suspects, dancing, a silent auction with hundreds of items such as gift certificates, jewelry and art donated by regional businesses and artisans and a live auction which will include vacation getaways to the Siskiyou Mountains, the Smith River and Honduras. Prizes will be awarded for the best group costumes, couple costumes and animal-themed costumes as well as for the most creative, scary and unusual costumes.

Roupp said she will be arriving dressed in a "really hip pink and flaming yellow '60s hippie-girl outfit." Her dog, Truman, who was a stray treated at the Shelter and cared for by its foster program will also be present at the ball to let out a howl and "remind us one of the reasons we're here," Roupp said.

Tickets to the ball are $35 per person or $315 for a table of 10. Tickets are available in advance at Paddington Station, Ashland; by e-mailing FOTAS@mind.net; or by calling 821-8291. A popular event, the Puss 'N Boots Ball sells out.

For more information about Friends of the Animal Shelter, see fotas.org.