Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite Fundraiser Story – It’s hard to remember Christmas in Edgartown without the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite. Now in its eighth year, the Teddy Bear Suite Fundraiser has become a big part of the Island’s holiday traditions. It’s one that people of all ages look forward to, and one that has continued to delight and warm the hearts of so many each year.
For many years, Wendy Harman, Point B Realty Owner, and Teddy Bear Suite Co-Founder, celebrated Christmas with her family in Seattle. As with us, there are many Christmas traditions, and for her, that included the Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.
Teddy Bear Suite Traditions
The Seattle Teddy Bear Suite is full of holiday splendor as well, but it’s more formal, more look-and-see but do not touch, whereas the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite is more of a hands-on experience — one that encourages cuddling! Like the Teddy Bear Suite on Martha’s Vineyard, which raises money for an important cause, the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club’s Healthy Happy Kids after-school food program, the Teddy Bear Suite at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel raises money for the Seattle Children’s Hospital.
For many years, Wendy and her family (and thousands of others) enjoyed the Teddy Bear Suite as part of their Christmas tradition in Seattle. In 2011, Wendy decided it was time to bring the magic of the bears to Martha’s Vineyard, and create a fun community event that also would support the community.
The first year of the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite was a lot different from the grandeur you see today. We joined forces with the Harbor View Hotel, our hosting partner for the first seven years, now temporarily closed for renovations.
We had a small room, on the second floor, in the back of the hotel. We decorated the space festively, had a good number of bears, and one large one, Edgar, and we had no idea what to expect.
We were scheduled to open at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, after the Christmas in Edgartown parade. We opened the doors, and we had a line down the hall, down the stairs to the lobby. It was overwhelming and exciting. The bears were an immediate hit! It was unlike anything else ever seen on the Island.
For the next two years, the Teddy Bear Suite moved into a two-room suite with a water view in the front of the hotel. The bear family grew and grew and grew. Each year a new big, larger than life bear joined us, and each year more and more people came to visit.
Teddy Bear Suite Grows
The Teddy Bear Suite then moved to the Harbor View Hotel’s Captain’s Cottages. This was a game changer. We had our very own cottage, and boy did we up our game. It was an incredible space for our bears and for people to visit, full of the magic of the season, a place where holiday memories were made.
Teddy Bear Suite Bear Gift
In 2016, we received an incredible donation of bears from Island resident, Rose Walsh. Her mother was an avid collector of bears for her entire life. When she passed, Rose inherited the bears, and wanted them to have a home where they would be loved, her mother’s love of bears shared with others. The Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite was the perfect solution, and boy did our fuzzy family grow!
Here is the full heartwarming story about Rose’s mom, A Woman’s Legacy Lives On With The Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite. This addition of hundreds of bears brought the Teddy Bear Suite to a whole new level! The Teddy Bear Suite has now become an anchor event in Christmas in Edgartown!
Healthy Happy Kids Food Program
As the event grew, so did our fundraising. By last year, our seventh year, the Teddy Bear Suite had raised over $126,000 for the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club After School Program. For the last two years, all money raised has gone to the vital Healthy Happy Kids food program, which now feeds 40% of the Island’s K-8 public school population.
Last year we were able to completely underwrite this very important program that’s helping end childhood hunger on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a program that works and is having incredible success. We need to raise $45,000 this year to make this possible.
We hope you will visit the eighth Annual Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite in its new home, 17 Winter Street, Nevin Square in downtown Edgartown, and support this worthy cause. If you can’t make it, we ask that you consider making an online donation to the Club’s Healthy Happy Kids. Help these kids be kids, and not worry about their next meal. You can donate anytime online.
We’ve already raised more than $17,000 online! Click here to securely donate to the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite Fundraiser, and be a part of the solution to ending childhood hunger on Martha’s Vineyard.
If you do plan to visit the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite in person, we’re open for four full days during Christmas in Edgartown festivities. People of all ages are welcome to come. Check our Teddy Bear Suite hours here.