With live music, trivia, a silent auction with more than 50 gift baskets ranging from Bristol race tickets and Dollywood tickets to spa packages, and much more, the Willow Tree Coffeehouse promises to have an electric atmosphere during the event on July 20. And none of it would be possible without the support from the region.
“It’s just been this whole conglomeration of this entire area saying ‘yeah, I’ll support you,’” said Pit Crew leader Erin Ferris. “And it doesn’t just go to the pit bulls, but it does all go to the shelter.”
The support from the community hasn’t necessarily surprised Ferris, but she wasn’t expecting businesses, organizations and people to come to her about helping.
“I was a little shocked, not shocked in that everybody donated, just how much people donated, and I had people that contacted me — that was the shocker,” Ferris said. “It just means we’re out there and people are seeing what we’re doing and that’s always a good thing.”
The help and support from the community hasn’t been lost on the shelter.
“It is so beneficial to us, and we rely a lot on donations — monetary and physical — from the community,” said shelter director Tammy Davis. “Having an event like this is great for multiple reasons; it brings animal-loving people together, it also brings awareness — we want to bring awareness to the breed — and also about how many animals the shelter takes in every year and the need we have.”
While the money doesn’t just support pit bulls and other bully breeds, it, essentially, goes mostly to those breeds as Ferris and Davis estimate about 60% of the shelter’s dogs are pit bulls and similar breeds. They also say there are always about 50 to 70 of them in the shelter at all times.
“Unfortunately, that’s the No. 1 breed to end up in a shelter and that’s a bully breed dog,” Davis said.
Pits, Brews and Tunes won’t have many actual pit bulls on scene, as the Willow Tree is a restaurant and they want the dogs to be safe, but their sponsor dog, SweetPea, will be present, and attendees are encouraged to go back to the shelter and check out the many dogs they have if they’re interested in adopting.
“We’re there to raise awareness and talk about the animals and, by any means, if you’re interested in a pit bull, I can talk to you about all of them and a lot of the volunteers will be there and they can answer any of those questions as well,” Ferris said.
On Saturday, things will get started with a crafts sale at 4 p.m., followed by a magician at about 4:30 p.m. and a pit bull trivia game at about 5:30 p.m. with 10 goodie bags with more than $100 worth of prizes donated by Discount Tire. Music gets started around 6 p.m., and will feature performances from Big Like the Ocean, JP Parsons and The Steele Cookin’ Band.
Tickets are $15 pre-sale or $20 at the door. Additionally, if you bring a large bag of cat or dog food, tickets are just $10.