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Whirlidogs Training Center, Inc., a Wilson non-profit creating a work-based training cafe in downtown Wilson for adults with disabilities, has partnered with Casita Brewing Company on a series of fundraising activities throughout the month of November at the brewery.
“It’s amazing to have an opportunity to get our message out and to do some fundraising,” said Martha Wrenn, board chairman for Whirlidogs. “We were fearful of COVID hurting our efforts, but we continue to be humbled by the support from our community.”
Whirlidogs, which obtained its 501(c)(3) status in June, is working to raise awareness of the center’s mission while also raising funds.
“Disabilities touch everybody,” said Wesley Trump, volunteer project manager with Whirlidogs Training Center and Cafe. “The folks who have disabilities, substance abuse, whatever … it is across the board. Doesn’t matter what your status is in the community, your age, your race.”
November events at Casita Brewing for Whirlidogs begin on Saturday, Nov. 1, and continue every Saturday and Sunday during the month.
• Celebrity bartenders kick off the events with teams taking two-hour shift between noon and 6 p.m. at Casita Brewing, 217 South St. on Saturday, Nov. 1. That day’s teams are Barton College/Kiwanis All America with Susan and David Browing and Perry Morrison from noon to 2 p.m.; Wilson Musicians with Dale Bryce, David Daniels and Will Robl from 2 to 4 p.m.; and Inspiring Women Jayme Daniels, Candace Windham and Michelle Driver from 4 to 6 p.m.
• Saturday, Nov. 7, features “Big Buddy/Little Buddy Jewelry Classes” with Kim Joy of Art Happens on Tarboro Street. A class from 2 to 3:30 p.m. will make inked beaded bracelets and a class from 3:30 to 5 p.m. will make recycled paper beaded necklaces. Cost is $20 per participant. Pre-registration is required; visit Whirlidogs.com.
• Sunday, Nov. 8, offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have your black and white photo portrait taken by world renowned photographer Jerome De Perlinghi. A donation of $50 will secure a sitting time between 2 and 4 p.m. that day. Spaces are limited, so visit the Whirlidogs website to register.
• On Saturday, Nov. 14, there’s a silent auction. A variety of items will be available to bid on, and bidding will take place both on-site and virtually, with bidding being updated in real time on the Whirlidog’s website. Helping with the auction is Jackson Stone, who was born and raised in Wilson and is now a Morehead-Cain scholar at UNC-Chapel Hill.
“Jackson reached out to me and wanted to do a fundraiser for Whirlidogs, and the silent auction is his project,” Trump said. “He reached out to a company that had developed an online payment app, and they donated the use of it for our auction.”
• On Sunday, Nov. 15, there will be more celebrity bartender: From noon to 2 p.m., Greenfield School will be represented by Melodie Powell, Sarah Bradley and Mike Land; 2 to 4 p.m., Treat Yo Self bakery with Alex Smolen, Greg Mason and Dante Pittman; 4 to 6 p.m. Whirlidog chefs, Carol Bowen, Nancy Harris and Nathan Harris of Dallas, Texas.
From 2 to 4 p.m. that same day, a trivia tournament will be held, hosted by trivia expert Pam Skinner. Whirlidogs is looking for teams of three to four people to play four rounds, including a special pandemic round. The cost is $10 per person, and the winners will receive a prize package.
• On Saturday, Nov. 21, from noon to 6 p.m., the Whirlidogs food truck will be at Casita Brewing, serving its “almost famous” hot dogs and unveiling its new offering, the Coney Island Dog. From 2 to 4 p.m., artist Kim Valentine will lead a paint-n-pour class featuring artwork from “The Grinch.” Sixteen slots at $40 each are available and include your finished portrait and a first “pour” from Casita. Register on the Whirligigs website.
• Whirlidogs hot dogs continue to be served on Sunday, Nov. 22, from noon to 6 p.m., with an added helping of cuteness. The Maggie Society dog rescue non-profit will be at Casita with puppies and dogs available for adoption.
• On Saturday, Nov. 28, a Holiday Sip and Shop/Artisan Market is planned with the all-inclusive artisan market coinciding with Small Business Saturday. Booths are available for artisans with and without disabilities. Check the Whirligig website for rates and availabilities.
One feature of the future Whirlidog Training Center and Cafe will be art available for sale from disabled N.C. artists. The Sip and Shop event will begin that recruitment process.
“One of my big pushes is to increase expectations of disabled individuals,” Trump said.
“That’s where the consignment art part of the cafe comes in. I want to raise expectations for schools, parents and individuals themselves.”
“In November, we not only want to do fundraising but “friendraising as well,” Trump said. “We want people to know about Whirlidogs and bring people down to Casista Brewing.”