While many places will hold New Year's Eve bashes tonight, Veronica's plans to throw a nonalcoholic party and help out the Kenai Peninsula's furry friends in the process.
Maryann Alfano, owner of the cozy coffee house that sits across from the Russian Orthodox Church in Old Town Kenai, said the evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a traditional southern meal of black-eyed peas and corn bread. Coffee, tea, cider and nonalcoholic champaign also will top the menu.
The party will carry on through the night and early morning with provided board games and a nonalcoholic toast at midnight. The evening will come to a close 6 a.m. Monday
"(The event is) for people who want to come for a nonalcoholic New Year's Eve," Alfano said.
She said she sees the evening as a community service. She is opening her doors for people to come and hang out or for those who have been drinking to sip a cup of coffee.
"It will be a neat thing to do," she said.
Customers also can take walks on the beach, which is easily accessible from the coffee house.
Another important part of the evening is the benefit to area animals.
Alfano said she plans to donate 15 percent of her sales this evening to the Peninsula Animal League for spaying and neutering dogs and cats. She also will accept donations at the door.
Peninsula Animal League's mission is to subsidize and promote spaying and neutering of pets through donations and endowments.
Brett Reid, members of PAL and an animal control officer, said the the group promotes sterilization of animals.
"Everybody can get behind that," he said, adding that the procedure is usually cheaper than raising a litter of puppies or kittens.
But there is more demand for sterilization in the area than money.
Alfano said she has been involved with the league and believes in what it does.
"There are too many unwanted animals, these programs are worthwhile," she said. "It is really important to get these animals spayed and neutered."
Reid said the average cost per animal that is in the shelter is $75. Those costs are covered by taxpayers.
Also, the Kenai Animal Shelter euthanized 868 animals in 1999.
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