SPCA lights up the night to honor pets

Liz Evans Scolforo

A warm glow will surround the York County SPCA's Emigsville shelter on Saturday when hundreds of luminaries are placed around the property to honor their four-legged family members.

The York County SPCA's Luminary Festival is set for Saturday evening, Dec. 19, 2015.

The organization's fifth-annual Luminary Festival will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19, according to Executive Director Melissa Smith. It is one of several fundraisers done by the SPCA during the holiday season.

The occasion is both somber and joyful, Smith said, because it gives people a chance to celebrate their current pets and pay tribute to those they have lost.

Starting in November, people can order a luminary for $20. Staffers then place them along a brick pathway that winds around the front of the shelter, Smith said. Each luminary is identified with a handmade marker that indicates the name of the animal and the name of the person dedicating the luminary.

The shelter, located at 3159 Susquehanna Trail North, will be decorated in lights and garland, making it a beautiful scene, Smith said.

Pets are welcome to walk the pathway with their humans, she said.

Those attending the festival can visit the Memory Candle Table, where people can write notes to their lost pets and place them against a candlelit jar. One staff member called it "a simple yet powerful and moving ritual," according to Smith.

Caricaturist Neil McMillin will be selling portraits of humans and animals, drawn in person or from photos and pictures on mobile devices.

The shelter's lobby gift shop will be open for last-minute shopping, and the shelter will provide hot dogs, veggie dog, hot drinks and snacks for free.

A lantern from Christmas Tree Hill will be raffled off as well.

It's too late this year to buy luminaries for this year's ceremony, but not too late to attend. For more information visit the York County SPCA's website.