Press Release

Alaqua Commemorates Grand Opening of New Facility with Month-Long “Celebrate! Alaqua” Events

FEBRUARY 17, 2023

Freeport, FL (February 17, 2023)Alaqua Animal Refuge is pleased to announce the formal opening of their new, one-of-a-kind facility, located at 155 Dugas Way, and invites the community to celebrate the momentous occasion with a month-long celebration of events titled “Celebrate! Alaqua” beginning March 4.

As the Southeast’s premier 501(c)3 refuge and sanctuary, Alaqua believes that every abused, neglected, and homeless animal deserves a second chance. Originally located on 10 acres in Freeport, the new 100-acre facility will allow Alaqua to continue to do the important work of animal rescue and rehabilitation, as well as be an educational and training center for animal welfare advocates as a place that will inspire, empower, and educate others to make change in society and recreate the model worldwide.

“We are so happy to finally be in our permanent home,” said Alaqua Founder Laurie Hood. “We have welcomed the animals to their new sanctuary and now we want to welcome our community to come see what their love, fundraising, and support throughout the years has built. After eight years of creating this space, we invite everyone to come ‘Celebrate Alaqua’ and honor this momentous move for our organization.”

During the month of March, Alaqua will host a featured event every Saturday, kicking off with the highly anticipated Seventh Annual 100 Point and Cult Wine Dinner on Saturday, March 4. The sold-out, exclusive evening will offer guests a one-of-a-kind experience as they will be the first to dine in Alaqua’s permanent home. The elegant affair begins with a sunset cocktail reception followed by dinner and entertainment in the New Orleans-inspired Courtyard of the Jumonville Family Welcome Center. Guests will be seated for a curated 5-course dinner inspired by coastal roots, courtesy of Chef Nikhil Abuvala of Roux 30a. Each dish will be expertly paired with unique 100 Point and Cult Wines, along with craft cocktails and spirits. Guests will also enjoy a private concert with musical guest performances as well as a silent and live auction.

On Saturday, March 11, the community is invited to the Inaugural Alaqua Wellness Festival from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The event will celebrate animals, humans, the earth, and how each coexist with one another and bring healing to the mind, body, and soul. The festival open to guests of all ages. Wellness classes and workshops including yoga, Pure Barre, Chi-Gong, sound baths, nature trail tours, educational seminars and more will be offered throughout the day. In conjunction, there will be a showcase of local vendors, live music, and an array of food and beverage options. The day will conclude with a ceremonial bonfire.

 Alaqua will officially open its doors to the public once again on Tuesday, March 14 for visits, tours, and adoptions, and will be open daily Tuesday through Sunday of each week from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The following weekend, Alaqua will host their first Adoption Event, Volunteer Drive and Fun Run/Walk at the new facility on Saturday, March 18 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. The community is invited to meet, interact, and learn more about adopting one of Alaqua’s available animals, including cats, dogs, rabbits, birds, and farm animals. Their volunteer team will also be available to answer questions and sign up those interested in becoming volunteers themselves. There will be food trucks, education booths, dog training tips, and tours of the grounds and nature trails throughout the afternoon.

The month of celebrations will conclude with a Wild and Free Festival on Saturday, March 25 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. This event will highlight Alaqua’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, a state and federally permitted facility, providing a much-needed resource for rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sick, injured, and orphaned native Florida wildlife across an 11-county area. The festival will kick off with a “baby shower” to raise awareness and gather supplies for the upcoming “baby” season where the Refuge takes in hundreds of orphaned wildlife patients. Following the shower, guests will have access to food trucks, craft beer stations, and live music throughout the day. Alaqua’s new wildlife rescue ambulance will be onsite for tours and will be filled with animal ambassadors. There will also be kid’s activities including a wildlife scavenger hunt, face painting, and birdhouse decorating.

Each of these events will highlight a different area of Alaqua’s new home while simultaneously honoring Alaqua’s overall mission and vision for animals within the community and across the state of Florida and beyond. The organization invites the community to ‘Celebrate! Alaqua’ every Saturday in the month of March by coming out to support and learn about everything they are doing to treat, rescue, rehabilitate, and save the animals who need it most. There are multiple sponsorship opportunities available for “Celebrate! Alaqua” and those interested should email to learn more. Alaqua would like to thank their current sponsors at the Furlanthropist level, Silver Sands Premium Outlets and Gigi’s Fabulous Kids’ Fashions & Toys.

“Everything that was once around me used to be a dream, and now it’s a reality,” Hood said. “We couldn’t have done this without all the support within our community and across the state. Our volunteers, builders, donors, and supporters are the ones who made this happen and are the ones who are going to be making a difference in animals’ lives for years to come.”

With the exception of the 100 Point and Cult Wine Dinner, all of the weekend events are open to the public and free to attend. However, donations are appreciated at the entrance to support Alaqua’s mission. For more information, call (850) 880-6399 or visit