This Wednesday, a Penticton fashion show like no other will give models with diverse abilities their moment to shine.
The Uniquely Fashionable Fashion Show, presented by Dragonfly Pond Family Society, is an evening of inclusion, community and fun featuring kids and young adults with disabilities or complex care needs as the models.
"We put the event on every few years just to allow members of the inclusive community to come out and shine and to show them that the community supports them and loves them," explained Tricia Hernes, Dragonfly program coordinator.
"With COVID we were stopped for a few years. So this is the third year since the last one [in 2019]. And we're so excited to be doing it!"
This year, they have a record number of models. Forty-eight models take the stage, some of whom are members of the inclusive community and some of whom are siblings of kids who use Dragonfly Pond's services.
"We opened up the fashion show also to young adults, so, people that have graduated out of Dragonfly Pond because we're zero to 18 but want to be part of it. So we reach out to groups such as Inclusive Okanagan, OneSky and PDSCL, and they also have adults that participate in this fashion show," Hernes explained.
Every model gets to pick their own outfit, thanks to a partnership with Hudson's Bay, which opens the store one evening for the models to shop a two-piece look.
"Dragonfly Pond has all the funding to purchase these clothes at a discount from the bay. And we provide it so these participants get to keep the clothing that they're modelling," Hernes said.
"So it's something they're interested in, something that they want, something special for them, that they then get to go rock on the stage with."
Tickets to the event cost $30 to cover the food available for everyone who comes to the show. It's not a fundraiser for Dragonfly Pond, just a way to celebrate diverse abilities in the community.
"It's giving them a platform to shine to feel confident to feel loved and supported by their community," Hernes said.
There will also be a raffle with tickets available for sale at the show and in advance now through contacting [email protected]
Grand prize is WestJet tickets, second is a Vitamin King gift basket, third is an OKGN Living Florals and Boutique package and fourth is a Rancho Vignola basket. The draw will be at the end of the evening.
It all takes place Wednesday night, Nov. 30, at the Penticton Lakeside Resort, which donates the space for the purpose, from 6-9 p.m. First is a cocktail reception with cash bar, then the models hit the stage at 7 p.m.
"Celebrate the uniqueness of each child as they walk the catwalk to their individually picked song," Hernes said.
"Learn a little about each shining star and cheer them on as they enjoy the spotlight!"