Mary Mack’s Holiday Meat Raffle Show: Now with dogs in sweaters

By Sheila Regan
Originally published on CityPages

Photo by Emily Gall
Photo by Emily Gall

Mary Mack’s infamous holiday meat raffle show is back once again, and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever. Instead of hosting it in the basement Clown Lounge at the Turf Club, Mack is taking her variety show to the much larger Cedar Cultural Center, where there will be a doggie sweater competition to make things interesting, as well as a meat candelabra.


Mack says she’s been doing some sort of holiday show in the Twin Cities for the last seven or eight years, but this year will be the fourth time she’s done the meat raffle. In addition to the doggie sweater competition, Mack is bringing fire into the equation. “Small fires,” she says. “Just candles. I probably put too many dangerous things in the show. It should be called the ‘liability show.'”

For the dogs in sweaters contest, people were able to enter their pups through a contact form on her website. “We limited it to eight dogs. However, I lost the email for one of the dogs.” The powers that be, she explains, are pretty strict. They want the names of the dogs, and to make sure they have had their rabies shots. “I can’t find the dog owner and tell them they are not allowed to have rabies.”

Of course the meat raffle festivities wouldn’t be the same without the prizes, though Mack’s caveat is that the dog prizes from Chuck and Don’s will be better than the human prizes, which will mostly be different forms of meat and meat products. She notes that there’s a new rule this year. “You cannot give back your meat. People started giving it back. Once it is in your hands, you’ve got to take it. I can’t take this stuff back in the car. If it’s gelatinous meat, it’s a huge mess.”

On the docket for the evening are comedians, writers, poets, and bands. Some will be returning guests, such as comedian Rana May and poet Paul Dickinson, and there will also be new folks like Amber Preston, who will be reading an excerpt from a New Kids on the Block novel. Annette Schiebout will also be performing, as well as novelist John Jodzio and actor Joseph Scrimshaw.

The event will also boast an assortment of music, including the Sex Rays and the Mary Everest Band. The Prairie Fire Lady’s Choir will be singing up a storm throughout the night as well, along with some auxiliary instruments including Karen Townsend on the accordion and Mary Mack on the mandolin. Mack notes some of the songs will be singalongs. “There will be traditional carols in a way you might not have heard them. We’re not changing any of the words. It might include Rudolph bashing that might get us in trouble with more people.”

Mack says they’ll also have a projector rigged up in order to show a film about Christmas tree safety by Tim Harmston.


Mary Mack’s Holiday Meat Raffle Show (w/Doggie Sweater Competition)
7:30 p.m. Thursday, December 19
Cedar Cultural Center
416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis