Top Hats & Tails: An Okaloosa Island Charity Event
After the event Adventures in Wonderland, it was all semi-formal attire and gears for this steampunk-themed Okaloosa Island Charity Event in support of Save Our Cats & Kittens‘ 2nd Annual Top Hats & Tails: A Cause for Claws. The location was again at The Island, by Hotel RL.
The event included yours truly keeping the overall vibe upbeat and fun, a silent auction, a delicious three-course meal prepared by The Island culinary staff, a surprise live-auction of the cat-themed prints that decorated the walls in the ballroom, and updates from the Executive Director of Pensacola’s Humane Society and the Director of Save Our Cats and Kittens on the current political landscape and goals for both organizations. The Master of Ceremonies was none other than Aimee Shaffer, “The Voice of SOCKS”. She is the owner-operator of Aimee’s Animal Magnetism, a professional in-home pet sitting service in the Fort Walton, Mary Esther, and Shalimar areas. When she isn’t volunteering as the MC for SOCKS-related events or pet sitting, she’s taking care of her rescued Bengal cat, Paul Newman.
Special Guest Speaker: Jennifer Bitner
The special guest speaker was Jennifer Bitner, the Executive Director of the Pensacola Humane Society. She talked about community cats and how we can humanely reduce their numbers. First, she pointed to the current legislation that makes it illegal to feed community cats thus creating challenges in supporting people who come in contact with community cats. Because of that link, cat shelters are unable to facilitate the spaying and neutering of the community cats, so that they don’t further overpopulate with dangerously growing numbers on the Emerald Coast. Humane animal lobbying in Tallahassee is currently focusing on that effort right now.
A Message From the Director: Nancy Schimmer
After Jennifer’s speech, Aimee introduced Nancy Schimmer who gave an update on what needs to be done in Okaloosa County. She talked about how the only kill shelter in the area really needed the support of SOCKS. Both shelters are in desperate need of an accessible spay and neuter clinic that is closer than two counties away. Additionally, another main goal for SOCKS this year is to work with the community to implement Trap/Neuter/Return to help reduce the numbers of feral and stray cats in the area.
Time For Some Tunes!
As far as the music goes, there were numerous cat-themed songs such as “What’s New Pussycat?” by Tom Jones, “Honky Cat” by Elton John, and “Roar” by Katy Perry. But it wasn’t just all cat tunes. The vibe was mostly upbeat, the perfect soundtrack for a fund-raising event. Check it out here!
This Okaloosa Island charity event raised over $6,400! The funds will help SOCKS with the two initiatives Nancy discussed. Thank you to all the generous donors who bid on any of the items! If you missed out on Top Hats & Tails, the next annual SOCKS event is Whiskers & Wine on April 18. It will take place at The Twisted Grape in Shalimar, FL from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Tickets will be $35. Follow SOCKS on their Facebook page for more info. However, monetary support is not the only way you can support SOCKS. Want to support SOCKS but not in a position to do so financially? Here are some other ways you can help!
- Volunteer: SOCKS is always in need of volunteers to help out in the shelter, thrift store, and with putting on community events (such as Top Hats & Tails).
- Donate: SOCKS’ shelter is always in need of items such as litter, food, and miscellaneous vet supplies. You can support their thrift store with personal items as well.
- Raise Awareness: A simple statement, comment, or sharing a post on social media could help spread the word about how others could support SOCKS.
This Okaloosa Island Charity Event would not have been possible without the volunteer staff that helped transport the ballroom to fit the theme for the evening. Also, special thanks to Shelby Desoto for photographing the event and Quinton Williams providing videography. You both were so easy to work with!