BONNERS FERRY — With white string lights criss crossing the ceiling of the new venue for the Fall Festival and Fashion Show, the models wound their way through the tables, stopping occasionally to talk about the clothing or let someone feel the fabric.
The Fall Festival and Fashion Show was held at the Boundary County Fairgrounds on Nov. 2 and around 160 people attended. The event benefits the non-profit organization, Boundary County Victim Services, and this year it raised over $14,000.
“Boundary County Victim Services also received a private donation of $3,000 from the Estate of a local gentleman,” said Boundary County Victim Services volunteer, Melissa Krejci. “It was not formally a part of the Fall Festival and Fashion Show, but it speaks to the generosity of this community and the growing awareness of this program and its importance.”
The event, which has been taking place for more than 10 years, outgrew the previous venue of The Pearl Theater, and filled the Valley Event Center at the fairgrounds.
“I think there are always opportunities to learn to fine tune and improve any event and this years Fall Festival and Fashion Show was no exception,” said Krejci. “This was the first time the event was held in the Valley Event Center at the Boundary County Fairgrounds and it did not come without initial hiccups.”
The audience was patient as they rearranged the sound system, allowing everyone to hear and interact during the event.
For the fashion show, volunteers model outfits supplied by The Dressing Room, made multiple rounds throughout the evening, weaving through the tables of attendees.
“This year the rounds had themes; two of my favorites were ‘Date Night’ and ‘Lady Boss.’ The Fashion show allows us to see the beauty and quality of the items from The Dressing Room and it permits us to observe the exuberance and joy presented by the models as they have fun throughout the night supporting a wonderful cause,” said Krejci. “One of the most attractive aspects of this fashion show is that it presents itself in a way which does not objectify women — it empowers them.”
The evening flowed from a mingling meet and greet to the planned activities. The attendees had the option of free appetizers, as well as wine and beer available to purchase, supplied by Under The Sun, who has been helping with the event for over five years. They then rotated through three main events during the evening — raffling prizes, fashion, more raffling prizes, live auction, and live entertainment.
“This year we were fortunate enough to have Emmaline Pinkerton sing for us,” said Krejci.
Boundary County Sheriff Dave Kramer, also a board member for Boundary County Victim Services, served again this year as the emcee for the event.
“For the past three years we have been fortunate to have Sheriff Dave Kramer serve as our emcee using skill and humor throughout the evening,” said Krejci.
Through the fun of the evening, there was also the added benefit of the money being spent going to a worthy cause.
“Fundraisers hosted by the program allow us to use dollars raised to our discretion to fill any gaps which may not be covered by grant monies,” said Krejci. “For example, Boundary County Victim Services may use the funds to cover the cost of telephones, emergency items for the children of survivors such as diapers, formula or clothing.”
The funding may also go toward emergency utility assistance and assistance with fuel so that victims/survivors can get to places such as court hearings and doctors’ appointments.
“One of the most successful services the program has been allowed to offer through fundraising is access to mental health counseling,” said Krejci. “For those who wish to participate in mental health counseling, the effectiveness has been demonstrated to the program over and over.”
The new venue proved to be a great place for the event, and they are looking to possibly expand further next year, believing that more people would have attended had they not sold out. From volunteers to audience, and the people and businesses that donated items and time, the event helped raise money for the Boundary County Victim Services, which in turn benefits people in need in Boundary County.