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Funky Fashion Offers a Fun Look at Nonprofits
Wood River High School Junior Eva Hatzenbuehler showed how funky trash-ion can keep broken CD discs out of the landfill.
Wednesday, May 8, 2024


The crowd picked up steam as Eva Hatzenbuehler walked down the runway showing off a stained-glass looking dress made of broken CDs, a shawl made out of discarded tape around her shoulders.

Women in the audience whipped out their cellphones for pictures as a man representing the Men’s Second Chance Living ripped off his yellow raincoat to reveal an action figure speedo underneath his yellow striped tie.

And high school student Diesel Ward sent the volume ceiling high as he bellyflopped his way down the runway, making a few somersaults before doing a little wiggle on behalf of Higher Ground.

Eight-year-old Christopher Crowder preens as he prepares to head out on the runway on behalf of Far+Wise, which provides academic support to students from first-grade through high school and even into college or trade school.

The roar of the crowd that had come out to see the second annual Funky Fashion Show and Fundraiser this past week easily exceeded that of the crowd watching the Stanley Cup playoffs in the lounge of the Limelight Hotel.

“It’s a wonderful event to highlight the giving season—Idaho Gives,” said Berenice Crowder, a board member of the Crisis Hotline.

“Last year’s show was awesome,” said Sonya Wilander, director of Men’s Second Chance Living, a sober house for those transitioning from rehab back into society. “It’s a great way to give people another way to see some of the nonprofits in our community and to raise a little money for them, as well. Of course, I’m a little nervous waiting to see what our models in this year’s will be wearing!”

Many of those in the show, such as Hatzenbuehler and her cohort from Wood River High School’s W.A.T.E.R. environmental club made their own fashion out of things like Christmas wrapping paper. Their showing was on behalf of the Climate Action Coalition and Building Materials Thrift Store to show how what some consider trash can be recycled.

Rob Cronin emceed the event, along with Herbert Romero.

Charmaine McPherson made a colorful bell bottoms outfit out of bright striped material and Tricia Dunne found the appropriate wardrobe at The Advocates’ Attic for her walk benefitting The Senior Connection.

Others created a wardrobe out of colorful retro clothing fashion show founder Tammy Davis had solicited from valley thrift stores. And high School students Ytznel Pedraza, Natalie Zaragoza and Vera Lucia Gonzales were on hand to apply makeup and curls and outfit the models with jewelry gathered at local second-hand stores.

Betty Grant, who was representing The Senior Connection, talked a mile a minute as she enthused over her makeup session. Then she walked out on the runway and began throwing her scarves and Captain Tennille-type hat to the audience in exaggerated gestures that elicited a chorus of laughs.

Rob Cronin, who volunteered as emcee on behalf of Rixon + Cronin Real Estate, was a fashion statement in his own right, wearing a silky gold shirt accented in leopard spots, Elton John-like glasses, a curly wig and snazzy shoes boasting an embroidery pattern between the brown leather toe and heel.

This model represented the Blaine County Community Fund, which has rescued more than 500 families from eviction by providing rent money and mediation, while injecting $1.5 million into the community.

In keeping with the theme, audience members were supplied with 78 rpm records, such as hits of the 1920s and Al Hirt’s Greatest Hits, to raise as paddles to bid on the fashion on behalf of the nonprofits.

Sally Gillespie, executive director of The Spur Foundation, told the audience that her organization was founded in 2016 to increase impactful giving in the community and help nonprofits maximize their success.

“We’re seeing a level of collaboration and impact we’ve never seen before. Tonight is a good example of that collaboration as we ask such questions as: How can we create well-being for all here?” she said.  “A community of our size, as remote as we are, should not have what we’ve been blessed to have—that’s because you care. And something that never goes out of fashion is giving.”

The fashion show had barely ended before Aubrey Cravens, who had walked the runway on behalf of Mountain Humane’s Barkin’ thrift store, began making plans for next year’s fashion show.

One of the models for Men’s Second Chance Living presented a colorful mix of clashing patterns.

“I had so much fun,” she said. “I’m already making notes. Bring dogs next year. Cats in backpacks…”

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