Crossfield-based animal rescue shelter, Tails to Tell, is rearing to host its largest fundraiser since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 – a tribute to 50 years of Elton John’s music – in support of cats and kittens, at the Airdrie Town and Country Centre on Oct. 1.
Rob Skeet and the four-piece Husky Tower band will be belting out classics such as "Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting," "Rocket Man," "Bennie and the Jets," "Tiny Dancer," and more of John’s beloved hits.
According to Colleen Holden, Tails to Tell board member and financial secretary, the evening will be full of fun, music, and laughter.
She said the evening will begin with conversation and cocktails beginning at 6 p.m., alongside a chance to bid on a silent auction item in support of the non-profit organization.
“We have lots of items in the silent auction, about 50 items or more and it’s going to be good,” Holden said.
A pub-style dinner will begin at 7 p.m., consisting of wings, ribs, and veggies followed by an array of “delicious desserts.” Thereafter, Skeet and his band will begin the Elton John tribute at 8:30 p.m.
“I’ve heard the guy play – he is absolutely amazing,” Holden said of Skeet and his band. “You can close your eyes and think you’re listening to Elton John, so it’ll be a good party. He dresses like Elton John. He sings like Elton John. He puts on a real performance.
“[The band is] really good and [Skeet] does lots of costume changes,” she added with a laugh.
Holden said the board is hoping the upcoming event will be the charity’s biggest fundraiser to date. She is encouraging guests to purchase tickets while they’re still available, until Sept. 28 on eventbrite.ca for $75 each.
She said money raised from the tickets will go toward some much-needed veterinarian and operating expenses, amid an ongoing spike in demand for the Crossfield shelter’s services.
“The shelter really needs that. We’ve had so many kittens and intakes this year,” she said. “All shelters are hurting right now because of the volume of kittens and intakes we’ve had to do, the surrenders we’ve had to do this year.”
She added a second fundraising event is scheduled on Oct. 16, a Kitty Palooza adoption drive, which will be held at the Best Western hotel on Edmonton Trail in Airdrie.
The shelter’s previous July 31 event, also held at the Best Western, was hugely successful thanks to the help of the host facility and volunteers, and according to Tails to Tell representatives, the event saw 20 kittens receive a fur-ever home.
“Last time it was kittens, and this time it’ll be both kittens and cats,” Holden said of the Oct. 16 event.
According to Holden, cats and kittens that come into Tails to Tail have a forever home at the shelter, even if they're not adopted, unless they are required to be euthanized for medical reasons.
“We have quite a few cats that have a home forever, but we’re a non-profit and we [operate] strictly by donation,” she said. “We don’t have a corporate sponsor.”
Though the shelter is currently in Crossfield, she said the charity is hoping to move its home base to Airdrie or to a larger facility to better accommodate its growing number of kittens and cats.
According to Tails to Tell reps, 80 to 85 per cent of surrenders and adopters are from Airdrie. Holden said the short move south may also present further opportunities for sponsorships.
“The facility we have is old and it’s much too small for us, and there’s some issues with it, so we would like to move,” she said. “But [currently] we exist by donations and the fundraising committee has worked very hard this year to raise money – it's probably the best year we’ve ever done.”
She added though Tails to Tell has seen record adoptions and donations, they’ve also seen a large number of intakes (more than 200 kittens) that require care.
“From now until February we are looking at a $20,000 vet bill and that’s just for spays and neuters,” Holden remarked.
“That’s for nothing else, and that’s just including the cats we have to date. That’s not including any more we’re going to take in between now and then.”
Holden said the shelter’s veterinary bills average $10,000 each month.
“That’s another reason we need to have this big fundraiser,” she concluded.