MASH Gala benefits local no-kill animal rescue


The stars aligned this weekend in Ponte Vedra — all for the benefit of local animals in need. St. Augustine Florida-based Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue presented “The M*A*S*H Gala” on Sat., Jan. 23 at The TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse in Ponte Vedra, and local supporters were offered the chance to rub elbows with some of the most well-loved stars of TV.

The event was emceed by actor Ed Asner, best-known as television’s iconic Lou Grant, and featured a reunion of cast members from the award-winning television series M*A*S*H. Attending cast members include Mike Farrell (Captain “B.J.” Hunnicut), Jamie Farr (Corporal Maxwell Klinger), Loretta Swit (Major Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan), and a special appearance by an Gary Burghoff (Corporal Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly).

The M*A*S*H Gala also featured a live auction where attendees bid for encounters with cast members, such as a round of golf, brunch or dinner. A silent auction was also presented. The Gala included a gourmet dinner and music by Gainesville’s Gosia and Ali featuring Harold Fethe. All proceeds from the M*A*S*H Gala will go to help build Peter’s Friends Animal Resource Center’s community low and no-cost spay, neuter, and vaccination clinic in St. Johns County.

According to Ayla’s Acres No-Kill Animal Rescue’s Executive Director, Fran Charlson, the M*A*S*H Gala is a once-in-a-lifetime event put together thanks to the efforts of a one-of-a-kind woman: Loretta Swit.

“Loretta has been a tireless advocate for Ayla’s Acres and our mission for several years now and for her to put in so much time to coordinate and bring her friends together to support this cause is simply monumental,” Charlson said.

Ayla’s Acres is a St. Augustine-based non-profit supporting adoption, spay and neuter, and responsible care of animals. Along with education, outreach, adoption and fostering programs, Ayla’s Acres maintains a 45-acre sanctuary where “unadoptable” animals may live out their lives with peace, love, and dignity. The organization recently launched a $2.6 million dollar capital campaign to raise funds to build Peter’s Friends Animal Resource Center in St. Johns County. Ayla’s Acres receives no government funding, relying instead on private donations of money, supplies, and items that are sold through their thrift shop, Ayla’s Attic (142 King St., St. Augustine). Learn more at

Hilton Garden Inn in Ponte Vedra Beach was proud to be a sponsor for the fundraiser. Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr, Mike Farell, Gary Burghoff and Ed Asner stayed at the local hotel, and enjoyed the TLC attentions of the hotel’s staff and Mulligans’ chefs.