'A phenomenal weekend'

Alex Doty • Jan 31, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Save the Catwalk organizers are still counting the money from this past weekend and say that while it’s too early to put a dollar figure on how much was raised, they’re pleased with what they experienced.

“What a phenomenal weekend — I cannot believe how huge it was,” Save the Catwalk Chairwoman Erin Turrell said. “I am conservatively guessing that it was a big weekend for us — not only from the educational part, but for the monetary part.”

Turrell said Saturday was “basically like an all-community day for the catwalk” due to the number of catwalk-related fundraising events in Grand Haven.

The committee partnered with the Grand Haven Eagles to host a fundraiser for the catwalk in the afternoon. The event featured wine and beer tasting, food and entertainment, a silent and live auction, and a variety of kids’ activities.

“People had fun,” Turrell said. “The live auction was probably one of the best parts of the whole event. ... The silent auction, too, went really well.”

Turrell estimates that more than 800 people walked through the Eagles club at some point in the day.

“It’s that important because everyone misses it,” she said of the catwalk on the south pier.

The Save the Catwalk group also partnered with Winterfest on Saturday, using several events as catwalk fundraisers. Money raised from the Dumpster Dive and Sleepwalker Run will go to the Save the Catwalk fund, as well.

“It was wonderful to partner with Winterfest and have their support and involvement with these activities,” Turrell said.

Turrell noted that it was great to see the enthusiasm for the catwalk in the Winterfest events, from catwalk-themed sleds in the cardboard sled race to people dressed as cats for the Dumpster Dive.

Turrell also said she appreciated the work both Loutit District Library Director John Martin and Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Andy Ingall did in helping raise funds for the catwalk. Each raised more than $1,000 in pledges for their commitment to jump in the water-filled dumpster.

“The community support and outside support of having the catwalk restored and put back is phenomenal,” Turrell said. “I’m not sure I’ve seen, in all of the years I’ve been here, this kind of enthusiasm.”

Turrell noted that the Save the Catwalk Committee will reconvene soon and plans to come up with additional fundraising opportunities and ways to partner with community events.

Last month, Grand Haven City Council approved a $310,000 project that will order steel and begin work on fabricating some of the new bents for the catwalk. Officials note that they still need to come up with the nearly $600,000 to complete the project and get the structure back on the south pier.

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