4th annual FIRC fashion show features Best of Broadway | SummitDaily.com

4th annual FIRC fashion show features Best of Broadway

Jessica Smith
jsmith@summitdaily.com

From the racks and bins of the thrift store to the glitz and glamor of the catwalk, a piece of donated clothing in Summit County may never know where it's going to end up. This year, 120 separate outfits, made from items pulled from thrift stores in Breckenridge and Dillon, will make their way down the runway as part of the fourth annual FIRC Fashion Show this Friday, June 26, at the Riverwalk Center.

The event is a major fundraiser for the Families and Intercultural Resource Center, a local nonprofit that provides a variety of programs to local residents, from emergency assistance with housing and utility bills to nutrition and finance-management classes.

Organizers hope to match last year's sum of $80,000 raised, said Anita Overmyer, FIRC development director.

"We've done a lot to expand our nutrition and cooking classes, the healthy lifestyle, healthy-families program, so we use the money to fill in funding gaps that we have with those programs, our emergency assistance programs and also our parenting education programs," she said.

“The crowd has a great time

— the audience dresses up in the themes of the (show) as well. It’s just a really fun locals event, and the great thing is it supports the families (locally).”Anita Overmyer FIRC development director

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The fashion show, which sells out every year, is more than just a fundraiser — it's a creative, artistic endeavor that entertains 300 guests, utilizes many local volunteers and acts as a legacy to the woman who first dreamed it into being.

MARY'S VISION

Back in 2011, longtime Summit local Mary Zink Caamano had recently joined FIRC's board of directors.

"When she joined FIRC, we were so excited to have her on there, and she immediately threw herself into working to do big improvements to the thrift store in Dillon and pulled together this incredible team of people with retail knowledge to help catapult the store to incredible heights," said Felice Huntley, vice-president of the FIRC board of directors and one of Zink Caamano's close friends.

Zink Caamano then combined her work with the thrift stores and her knowledge of clothing — she owned Caamano Sweaters, a local retail shop — with an idea for a fashion show fundraiser.

"She was in the fashion business, so that was what inspired her," said Rae Anderson, fashion show committee member and another friend.

Despite the daunting scale of undertaking such a project, Zink Caamano reached out to the community and pulled in help from all sides.

"It seemed a little overwhelming," Huntley recalled, with a laugh. "But, we all trusted 100 percent if anyone could pull it off, it would be Mary."

In January of 2012, just a few months before the first fashion show was scheduled, Zink Caamano suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.

However, Zink Caamano's friends weren't about to let her vision for the fundraiser fade away.

"It was really cool how all of her friends, they just rallied together and said 'We're going to make it happen, we're going to figure it out,'" said Overmyer.

The fashion show took place that June and, in its first showing, raised $52,000.

"She generated so much enthusiasm, and so many people loved her to come to support it even in the first year," Huntley said. "It was an incredible hit, which is something for a brand-new fundraiser up here."

Talking to those who knew Zink Caamano, an image quickly comes together of a woman who not only cared deeply for her family, but also for her community as well.

"She was just very, very giving of herself as a friend, as a mother, as a community member; she was always very active and just gave of herself unselfishly," Huntley said.

Over the past three years, the fashion show has continued to flourish and has pulled in some $200,000 for FIRC and its programs.

"She would be proud," Anderson said. "She would be so proud."

THRIFT-STORE FASHION

Each year, the fashion-show committee chooses a theme that its outfits will center around. Starting in the fall, volunteers at the Summit Thrift and Treasure stores in Dillon and Breckenridge will start keeping an eye out for pieces that match the next year's theme. Then, around May, head stylist and volunteer Andrea Dickson and her fellow volunteers put together the final ensembles and start fittings for the models.

The first year featured Fashion Through the Decades, from the '50s to the '90s, which was followed by the theme Colors, where clothing and sets were paired with music (denim outfits for Neil Diamond's "Forever in Blue Jeans" and black clothing for AC/DC's "Back in Black," for example).

Last year ambitiously tackled A Night at the Movies, with models made up to look like actors from films such as "Titanic," "Indiana Jones" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's."

"The themes have gotten more elaborate," said Dickson, who spent the last few months putting together outfits for this year's theme of Best of Broadway. Guests can expect to be dazzled by sets for "Mama Mia!", "Phantom of the Opera" and "a few surprises," Dickson said.

All of the outfits worn during the show are available for sale.

LOCAL SOURCING

Each of the models is a local volunteer. Some, like Yanitza Rivera, have been doing it since the very beginning.

When a work colleague asked Rivera if she'd be interested in participating, she didn't hesitate to say yes. She loves dressing up and doesn't mind performing in front of a crowd. She likens putting on the outfits to taking on a role, like an actress, and said her favorite performance was last year, when she dressed up as Jennifer Grey's character Baby from the movie "Dirty Dancing."

"It was really fun; that was really exciting," she recalled.

While she enjoys performing on the runway, she said she also love the energetic atmosphere backstage, with constant costume changes and preparation.

"That almost does feel like being a true model because you're in, you're out, you're flustered, you're trying to get changed really quick," she said, "but then when you walk out, you cannot show that in your face; you have to walk out like nothing has happened, like it was really smooth. So, it can be chaotic, but then again, that's part of the fun."

She is looking forward to this year's show, in which she's scheduled to model five different outfits.

"Everybody knows that whoever's there watching us is part of the same community. We know we're not going to be judged; we know it's a thing where it's for fun and for a good cause," she said.

"I love the community spirit behind it," Overmyer said. "It's a really fun social event. The crowd has a great time — the audience dresses up in the themes of the (show) as well. It's just a really fun locals event, and the great thing is it supports the families (locally)."

FIRC Fashion Show

Though the fashion show is sold out, anyone interested in making a donation to FIRC can visit http://www.SummitFirc.org/donate/