LEWISTON — Facial hair advocates, rap music and Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston don’t typically go together.

But for one night this month, they will.

On April 25, the Maine Facial Hair Club, a Portland-based group dedicated to “promoting positive facial hair awareness through community involvement,” will host Rap for Pets, a one-night event in Portland to raise money for the Lewiston animal shelter.

The Humane Society is no stranger to fundraisers. It’s been the grateful recipient of pet food drives and craft fairs, golf tournaments and dog walks. But Rap for Pets — featuring performances by local rap artists and an open “rap battle” for a homemade Maine Facial Hair Club trophy — will be a first.

“We were honored. We thought it was great,” Development Director Donna Kincer said. “It sounds like a really fun event and it’s different.”

It will be a first for the Maine Facial Hair Club, too. Although the group organizes a fundraiser once a month, it has never given to an animal charity before.

Vice President Bob Violette decided it was time animals were included in the club’s charitable mission. He’s proud parent to one highly energetic, highly vocal Bengal cat named Ruckus — so proud that he sports “cattoos,” tattoos of Ruckus and his old cat, Brutus. 

Violette found the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society and its plea for donations while looking online for a potential recipient.

“Everyone comes into trials and tribulations. We have as a club and we’ve had people that have helped us. So we’re just trying to give back in any way that we can,” he said. “I feel like, going forward, we’re going to be doing a lot more of these pet-type events because I feel like a lot of people are really into it.”

How into it? Well, for example, one artist is making special T-shirts for the event — emblazoned with the logo of hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan. Redesigned. Using cat faces.

“It’s really cool,” Violette said.

The fundraiser will be hosted by Maine comedian Ian Stuart and will include a raffle and performances by four Maine rap artists. The evening will end with an open rap battle and a “Best Beard in Show” contest. Both rap battle and best-beard winners will receive a trophy handmade by the club’s president.

Rap battlers can sign up for the contest that day at the pub.

The event, open to people age 21 and older, begins at 8:30 p.m. and will be held at Matthew’s Pub on Free Street in Portland. Tickets are $5 at the door. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society, as will a portion of the proceeds from the raffle and T-shirt sales. The club will also accept cash and donated items for the animal shelter.  

It’s a fun event, but with a serious mission.

“I’m just hoping we can get people more aware of both the club and the need for support for the humane societies. I know they need a lot of help,” Violette said. “I can just imagine what the food costs, what the shots cost. Everything they need. In general, I care about animals more than I care about most humans.”

Have an idea for Animal Tales? Contact Lindsay Tice at 689-2854 or [email protected].


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