BISSELL Blocktail sets records for fundraising, attendance

BISSELL’s Blocktail Party crushed its previous attendance record … for people and dogs. (Mary Ullmer photo)

Talk about going to the dogs! This year’s BISSELL Blocktail Party, held Wednesday night at Mangiamo! in Grand Rapids, easily was the biggest in its 7-year history.

Daisy, the Blockstar for 2011’s party, strikes a pose at this year’s event. (Yvonne Reames photo)

Cathy Bissell posted on Facebook this morning that 800 guests (of the human kind) attended the event, and Thrive Consulting‘s Laurel Pruski, co-chair with Bissell of this year’s Blocktail, said that’s pretty accurate. The number blows away last year’s crowd of 450, then a record.

In addition, what surely is a record number of dogs were present. Pruski estimated several hundred, and indeed, it seemed nearly everyone there was attached to a leash.

Most importantly, the amount of money raised for the Bissell Pet Foundation will set a record as well. The event’s proceeds will be allocated via grants to area groups who support pet rescue, adoption and reducing overpopulation. Ten party partner organizations already have received $1,000 from BPF.

“I am totally amazed at the crowd,” Bissell said Thursday. “I’m thrilled. We had to cut off online tickets at 655 so we could manage the crowd. But all these people kept walking up, and we couldn’t turn them away. We did manage the crowd just fine, and it was great to see so many people excited about it. It’s such a great cause.”

Chief, an appropriate name for this beautiful Alaskan Malamute. (Yvonne Reames photo)

Even before a bid was made in the silent auction, or a cocktail was purchased, or a stylish black t-shirt was sold, the Blocktail committee had raised $134,000 in sponsorships and online ticket sales. Pruski said an additional 100 tickets at $60 each were sold at the door (they were expecting about 20) after online ticket sales sold out at 650.

Total funds raised won’t be known until everything is tallied in a couple of weeks, but Pruski estimated it will approach $200,000. Last year’s event, which set a record, raised $150,000.

Congratulations to the Blocktail committee and to all the organizations, especially the 10 party partners, who will benefit from such a great event.




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