Get ready to rock your bling, Muskegon.
The Friends of Hackley Public Library will soon turn the Century Club Ballroom in downtown Muskegon into a sea of jewelry, vintage clothing, and more that will be sold for the group’s eighth annual “Bling Thing” next Friday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 8.
One of the Friends of Hackley Public Library’s major yearly events, Bling Thing annually raises about $10,000 for the library that’s been a cultural mainstay in downtown Muskegon for a little more than 129 years. Established in 1973, Friends of Hackley Public Library is a nonprofit that annually donates about $20,000 to Hackley Public Library—which goes to support the hundreds of free programs and activities for adults and children at the library throughout the year.
“Once you go to this event, you’ll keep coming back; it’s wonderful,” said Friends of Hackley Public Library Board Member and Bling Thing Co-Chair Debbie Dahlquist. “Where else can you go, drink wine, eat chocolate, buy jewelry, and support our downtown library?”
Bling Thing will be held from 5pm to 8pm on Friday, Feb. 7 and from 10am to 2:30pm on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Century Club Ballroom, located at 356 W. Western Ave. in downtown Muskegon. The event is open to the public, and, on both days, attendees will be able to purchase jewelry—everything from costume jewelry to real gold and silver, purses, scarves, belts, clothing, and more, all of which have been donated by the community throughout the year. All proceeds from the sale will go to fund programs and activities at Hackley Public Library.
“When you go into the Century Club Ballroom, it’s filled with jewelry—we have people donate real pearls, gold and silver for the event,” Dahlquist said.
On Friday, a $10 donation at the door includes wine, chocolates and the opportunity to shop from 5-8pm. All attendees will be able to participate in raffles for a variety of gifts from local businesses, including from Muskegon restaurants, hair salons, floral shops, and more. Raffles also include hockey tickets, gift certificates for pedicures and manicures, a $350 French bistro dinner from Hearthstone, and more.
Then, on Saturday, the sale continues from 10am to 2:30pm. At noon, the floor will close until 12:15pm, after which everything will be discounted by 50 percent. Biggby Coffee will provide complimentary coffee and hot chocolate.
Dahlquist emphasized the importance of supporting the Friends of Hackley Library, which ensures the library’s extensive roster of cultural activities—everything from Black History Month programming to events focusing on history, literature, music, and more—remains free for the community. Too, the library is able to offer technology classes, author visits, and more thanks to the fundraising from the Friends group. Each year, the nonprofit also supports the Charles Hackley Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities. This past year, Dr. Jeffrey Kahn, a professor of law at Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, presented his talk, “Round Up the Usual Suspects: Terrorist Watchlists and Civil Liberties,” for the program.
Over the years, the Friends organization has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to enhance and refurbish areas throughout the 129-year-old historic building, including $190,000 for the acquisition and renovations of the Torrent House, where the library’s local history and genealogy department now resides; $120,000 to restore the library’s stained glass windows; and $104,000 for renovations in the youth services department.
“We make sure that when we offer programs at the library, they’re all paid for so people don’t have to come pay a fee,” Dahlquist said.