Have you ever had an idea and thought “I can actually make this happen?” That was how the BISSELL Blocktail Party happened for me. I was invited to a BISSELL-sponsored event in New York called ‘Yappy Hour’ and I brought two of my dog-loving friends with me. The entire time we were there, we couldn’t stop thinking, “we could do this to raise money in Michigan.” Yappy Hour was such a fun event to bring your dogs and meet and mingle over drinks with other Manhattanites; it was a simple idea that people loved. All we needed to do was throw a fun party in Grand Rapids and we could raise money for the humane society. It would surely be a hit – and it was. Today, all the funds go to the BISSELL Pet Foundation, which nationally supports shelters and rescues. However, the majority of funds stay in West Michigan to support animal efforts as well as spay and neuter organizations.
I often get asked, “how did you implement this idea?” In 2005, the three of us who attended Yappy Hour gathered a group of passionate dog lover friends and philanthropists and we brainstormed our first party. It was a Block Party; jeans, drinks, and, best of all, dogs. I believe the success of the event is attributed to the fact that people could have a beer with their pets while listening to music and being outside. It was much different from the black-tie fundraising events that most people were accustomed to. As the party grew, we started to raise substantial funds and realized other organizations locally needed help too. We expanded our reach with the hopes that these different organizations would start to partner together, get to know each other, and work as one to support pets in the community.
When our 10-year anniversary crept up on us, we wanted to do something extra special for our sponsors. We added a Sponsor Party the night before the event as a thank you for being so generous over the years. It has added that little extra something that we needed to keep the event interesting and alive.
This year, 2017, you can expect another great and successful event. We are super excited about Broadway musician Michael Cavanaugh, who will be performing at the Sponsor Party. We also have a slew of incredible auction items that you won’t want to miss. The BISSELL Blocktail Party is known to have great art pieces, curated by the best gallery in town, fun dog items, awesome vacation packages, and much more. Come and get a caricature with your dog, eat some amazing food from our favorite local spots, mingle, and, most importantly, support the rescue and adoption of pets. We are hoping for another great record-breaking year.