Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love and home to the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence, and of course those delicious Philly cheesesteaks! As we approach next week’s upcoming July 4th festivities and celebrations, there’s something new to celebrate in this important city.
After 241 years since the signing of Thomas Jefferson’s landmark document back in 1776, we’re excited to share yet another historic milestone to Philadelphia’s remarkable pedigree…introducing KITTYDELPHIA!
The inaugural “Kittydelphia” is a three day cat-themed pop-up shop event in the heart of Philadelphia which runs from July 7-9, 2017 at Gravy Studios located in the walking friendly district of Northern Liberties. Full of catitude and meowvelousness, this feline fanciers feast will include a host of cat-themed vendors, assorted raffles, and even some special appearances by adorable, internet-famous cats.
Piqued your interest now…haven’t we? >^..^<Introducing 'Kittydelphia” - a 3 day cat-themed pop-up shop event in the heart of PhiladelphiaClick To Tweet
Long time readers may recall a post we did last year called “Rescue Duo Now Instagram Darlings” featuring two of our favorite social media darlings – Olive (a calico) and Rye (a tortoiseshell). Their owner, Philadelphia-based cat lady extraordinaire Laura Kicey (photo below) is the organizer and meowstermind behind this clawsome event.
Laura is a highly talented and sought after graphic artist and freelance photographer with her own store called Olive & Rye Cat Art, where she sells custom cat portraits and cat-themed art, apparel, and home goods. Check out these two quirky and delightful cat art tote bags from her collection.
Kicey also sells leggings, mugs, and other items emblazoned with her own designs, as well as custom-made portraits of customers’ pets. We are purrticularly loving these.
When asked about the inspurration to create Kittydelphia, Kicey told us that in 2015, she attended the first-ever CatCon expo which allowed her and other vendors to sell cat-related goods. She subsequently attended several other pet-related conventions but found that most were heavy dog-centric (“My booth got peed on three times!” said Kicey of one expo), so she decided to bring a smaller-scale, cat-centric concept to Philly.
The event even promises to have cats available for adoption from Philly PAWS, a donor-funded, no-kill shelter in the city, along with tons of merchandise from different vendors, and of course “celebrity cats.”
On the topic of celebrity cats…in attendance will be the handsome tuxie named Turbo, a special-needs cat paralyzed in his two back legs, bringing attention to adopting disabled or special-needs pets. Check out Turbo’s IG at => @turbotwolegs
Also attending for part of the weekend will be Sophie the Model (photo:lower left), a black cat with 195,000 Instagram followers, will be in attendance for part of the weekend. Kicey describes Sophie as an “outspoken ambassador for black cats,” which tend to have trouble getting adopted. Check out Sophie’s IG at => @sophie_the_model
Joining Sophie will be Miss Raspberry (photo:lower right) a gorgeous 4-year old Persian cat with an adorable underbite. Check out Miss Raspberry’s IG at => @miss_raspberry_kittay
Among the vendors selling their wares at the event will be Xenotees, who specialize in screen-printing and offer hand-printed shirts, totes, and other apparel by Noelle Burke. Check out their ‘cat nap’ pillowcases and ‘cats are my jam’ ultra gray tee (below).
If you’re needing a cuppa java then pop over to Kawaii Kitty Cafe – Philadelphia’s first cat cafe and if your sweet tooth beckons sample some of the delicacies from the creative cookie artist known as The Dark Side Cookies (photo:lower right).
If you’re feline fashionable then you’ll certainly want to check out Cherished Paws Gems – maker of kitty bowties and jewelry.
It’s been 241 years since Independence Day…Kittydelphia’s time has finally come! We’ve asked Laura to see if Sir Elton John might be willing to do a rendition of Kittydelphia Freedom … fingers crossed!
Visitor etiquette – please note that this is an event for people and no extraneous cats will be allowed.
Gravy Studio & Gallery is located at 910 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia with joint events going on at Kawaii Kitty Cafe in Queen Village.
We asked Laura a few additional questions for her insights and behind the scenes purrspective…she squeezed out time in her busy schedule to kindly share the following with us:
Q: If you could achieve 3 things that make Kittydelphia a huge success … what would they be?
1. First and foremost I want to have a really nice donation for PAWS at the end of it.
2. Striking the right balance, so that visitors enjoy it enough that they would like to see another one next year.
3. Finding unity amongst cat enthusiasts locally and in person rather than all online as I am used to!
Q: What’s the funniest or most interesting story that you can share during the run up to the big event?
This is a tough question. Having never organized anything like this, I didn’t fully know quite what to expect. I rather wish there were more comedic or intriguing moments really, because once I finished conceptualizing the creative parts – the designs I made specifically for the event, putting together the website… the rest of the process is pretty dry – emails, emails, phone calls, social media posting/interacting, begging, making a nuisance of myself… and some more emails. I just decided one night in March to do it and as soon as I sealed the deal on the space, I stayed up til like 3 am drawing out the logo and getting the domain and scooping up the social media handles with my brain on fire with ideas! That is really the best feeling.
Q: What will you do differently for next year’s event? ( duh – of course they’ll be a Kittydelphia 2018)
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves! I can dream a little dream about doing it again, but until I close the door next Sunday I can’t really commit to anything. I do wish I had a slightly bigger venue, but I never could have imagined the amount of enthusiasm and attention it would get as just a local pop-up shop with some kitty frills. That is a really great feeling!
Q: It’s early days but can you see expanding the concept to more cities across the US and maybe internationally?
I think Kittydelphia, measured by its name, needs to stay pretty local. Right now, making this first one work is the foremost thought, though I would like to expand upon it locally to maybe more regionally-focused. I would still like it to retain the independent, local, crafty small-business and artist-centric vibe as much as possible. As a small business owner and artist, having something that keeps us at the forefront feels very important to me, even as my own brand expands.
Q: What’s the best thing that’s happened during this whole preparation?
At the core, I’m a creative person and that is probably always going to be what lights me up the most. The new Kittydelphia designs I made I think will really connect with people locally which I am excited about. I’m also excited for my own cat art-making to reach a local audience.