Butte Humane Society (BHS) supporters are still buzzing about the success of the Bidwell Bark Fun Run & Festival, held on September 29 at One Mile Recreation Area. In its first year, Bidwell Bark has become the biggest community fundraiser of the year for BHS, with 1,047 people registered and raising funds, plus another 500+ donors contributing, and hundreds more attending the festival.
“We are thrilled and so grateful that more than $76,000 was raised for BHS through Bidwell Bark. It’s a testament to what can be accomplished when a community aligns to support our cause. However, this does not mean our fundraising needs are met - the amount raised by Bidwell Bark is less than 1/10 of our organization’s total annual operating budget, which is funded 100% by donations. Continued support is crucial to maintaining our adoption, low-cost spay/neuter, volunteer and outreach programs,” said John Mich, Butte Humane Society’s Interim Executive Director.
Bidwell Bark began with a dog-friendly 5K run and 2K walk through Lower Bidwell Park. Afterward, an awards ceremony honored the top individual fundraiser, Toube Benedetto, and the top fundraising team, Tri Counties Bank. Awards were also given to the top finishers in the 5K race, with first place going to Heladio Punzo (human division) and “Zach” Naiman (canine division.) Look Ahead Veterinary Services was honored as the top veterinary fundraising team, and Team Puppy Lover was awarded the Spirit Stick. Participants who fundraised for BHS prior to the event picked up their incentive prizes, goodie bags, and free breakfast.
An action-packed festival provided hours of entertainment for participants and spectators alike - from high-flying Frisbee demonstrations by Disc Dogs of the Golden Gate, to the dog costume and tail-wagging contests, to the variety of vendor booths and free activities for kids and dogs. The dunk tank saw many people such as former City Councilman Tom Nickell, Miss Teen California Danielle Hart, and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. owner Ken Grossman all taking the plunge in order to raise more money for the animals.
Though this was the first Bidwell Bark event, a smaller team-based community fundraiser event was held by BHS last year. With a 500% increase in the number of participants from 2011, growing pains were inevitable - but staff and attendees agree that the event went wonderfully, and it was overall a great experience for the people as well as the hundreds of dogs in attendance.
“Bidwell Bark is a terrific event and it will grow bigger in the years to come, likely to become another valued Chico tradition,” one attendee commented on the BHS Facebook page. To see photos, visit the BHS Facebook page at www.facebook.com/buttehumanesociety. For more event information and fundraising totals, visit BidwellBark.com.