Toasted Mud was one of the local shops to par­tic­ipate in “Girls’ Night Out” a fudraiser for the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation. COLLEGIAN | Alexis Daniels

Fourteen shops in Hillsdale par­tic­i­pated in a two-day “Girls’ Night Out” event to raise money for the Black Bear Project on Baw Beese Trail.

To raise money to “bring the Bears home,” the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation put on two events on Sept. 12 and 13, according to Event Coor­di­nator Connie Sexton.

The first event was “Canvas Painting Night” at Toasted Mud. Throughout the eve- ning, attendees painted a canvas of jeans and high heels while being served cock­tails and hors d’oeuvres. Rebecca Reinbolt, an employee at Toasted Mud, said that Toasted Mud does many fundraisers to help out.

“We helped out by being able to have the event here,” Reinbolt said. “Kind of trying to give back to the com­munity any way we can.”

The second event was “Shop ‘til You Drop.” Rough Draft and Modern Revival set up live music and 14 business- es served cock­tails and hors d’oeuvres.

Both events were part of the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation fundraiser to erect statues of a mama bear and two cubs on the Baw Beese Trail, a path that stretches from Lake Bob- by’s to Jonesville.

“This fundraiser was the launch of their ‘Help us bring the Bears Home’ Cam­paign,” Sexton said in an email. “The asso­ci­ation does not have the funds yet to bronze or bring them home.”

According to Sexton, the bears will be “a visual and inter­active means of increasing edu­cation of indigenous species for the people of Hillsdale.”

Not only is it meant to raise awareness for wildlife, but its inter­active quality will be a point of tourism and recre­ation.

“The Black Bears will be climbable for children and some­thing with which they can interact,” Sexton explained. “The fin­ished project will be located along the Baw Beese walking trail for the enjoyment of all walkers, runners, bikers, etc.”

Owner of Rough Draft Carly Hubbard ’16 said the Baw Beese Trail is a good place to put the bears.

“So many people use it,” she said. “I use it every day as I run with my dog. It’s kind of a cool place to put art.”

The statues were sculpted by co-founder of the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation, Heather Tritchka, and are cur­rently being cast

at the Cleveland Foundry.

The Her­itage Asso­ci­ation now only needs enough to “bronze [and] bring them homes,” according to Sexton. The statues are scheduled to be unveiled the fol­lowing spring.

Rough Draft was the final stop for the second event to help with the fundraising. Hubbard said local coffee shop works a lot with the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation and Studio 42.

“We’re just always happy to encourage all the fundraising efforts,” Hubbard said.

Throughout the night,they offered the ladies 50 cent cock­tails and com­pli­mentary rosemary popcorn. If the ladies went to all the stops in the event, they were entered into a drawing at the end of the night for $200 worth of items.

“We did the drawing here at Rough Draft because the Her­itage Asso­ci­ation is right next door,” Hubbard said. “They could go see all the art there and also in here.”

She also said the event brought in a diverse age group from dif­ferent parts of Hillsdale.

“I see them all indi­vid­ually, but it was kind of fun to see them all hanging out together as a girls’ night,” Hubbard said. “I just loved that every- one ended here and everyone was having a really fun time.”

Sexton agreed, saying that she enjoyed watching everyone else enjoy them­selves.

“Weather was great, ambience was great,” she said. “Just won­derful to see and be part of His­toric Downtown Hillsdale at its best.”