Fashioneestas Flock To Kids’ Aid

Fashion show raises money for homeless, displaced kids

The Fall Fashioneestas enlisted a bevy of amateur models to show off a creative mix of fashion styles this weekend for a fashion show that raised money to help homeless and displaced students.

Photo by Andy Towle. |

The Fall Fashioneestas enlisted a bevy of amateur models to show off a creative mix of fashion styles this weekend for a fashion show that raised money to help homeless and displaced students.


Savannah Grassel was not sure she could overcome her shyness to model at the Fashioneesta show on Saturday, Oct. 13, but she willingly faced her fears to help the kids in the community who do not have an easy life.

“I met Joan (Young, of the Rim Country Optimists Club) at our garage sale and she asked me to model for this,” said Grassel. “I’m a pretty shy person.”

Even though Grassel currently serves as the junior class president at Payson High School (PHS), she gets nervous in front of crowds — until she warms up.

She presented a Pretty Angel duster that swayed Senior Center Director Joanne Conlin, whose organization hosted the event at its location, to seriously consider purchasing the pewter-colored fur and ruffled draped jacket/duster.

“I have a wedding in Santa Barbara and I can dress up,” said Conlin as she eyed the jacket while Grassel walked by — especially since the piece had a modest price of $51.

Once again Rim Country rallied to help the displaced and disadvantaged children of the area at the second annual Falling Leaves Fashioneesta Lunch and fashion show hosted by the Rim Country Optimist Club and the Payson Senior Center.

“We sold out tickets and had to turn away people,” said Conlin of the success of the event. She also said all ticket, raffle, and silent auction proceeds were pure profit as numerous individuals and businesses in town donated enough to underwrite the whole event.

Five models walked through the crowd to step up on a riser, while Teri Jimerson, a staff member at the Boutique shop described the clothes each model wore.

Having the spotlight on her made Grassel nervous, but she quickly warmed to the oooos an ahhhhhs of the audience.

Guests sat at tables in the Senior Center oogling fashions from dressy casual to glittery formal after eating a delicious lunch of lemon chicken, raspberry spinach salad and herbed rolls prepared by the PHS culinary students.

Devon Wells, PHS culinary arts teacher, said the students who gave up their fall break to help cook did a great job, despite being a tad short on help due to the school recess.


Councilor Su Connell helped organize and took a star turn in this weekend’s Fashioneesta Fashion Show to raise money for children’s services.

Thomas Walling from the high school drama department brought portable lights and the riser to add a professional flair to the event. He helped last year and appreciated the fact that more students volunteered to help this year than last.

“It’s good for the community to see the responsible kids,” said Walling of the dedicated Girl Scouts who served lunch and managed the prizes for the raffle and silent auction.

As guests nibbled on tiny bite-sized desserts that ranged from caramel brownies to pumpkin mousse, pecan tassi and cherry cheesecake, the models wandered around tables to answer questions.

Grassel said guests mostly asked what the clothes were made of and how much they cost.

“We carried little cards with the information,” she said.

Conlin said because of the underwriting support, all proceeds from the event went to help the Payson Unified School District’s displaced and disadvantaged student program.


Brenda Barton, Bradley Beauchamp, Bill & Miriam Dow, Gila County Republican Committee, Richard & Shirley Grady, Ross Hage, Stan & Lolly Hathhorn, Richard & Marliese Holt, Russell & Sharon Judd, Neumann Paints, Payson Schools Homeless Services Team, Payson Regional Medical Center, Peak Medical Care, Rim Country Republican Club.


Anytime Fitness, Ayothaya Thai Café, Black & Tan Tales, Boutique, Buffalo Bar & Grill, Carol Flowers, Chaparral Pines Golf Club, Curves, Bill & Miriam Dow, Fargo’s Steakhouse, Lolly Hathhorn, Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas, Patty Ihle, Marilyn Iverson, Jennifer’s Skin Care, Loot, Mattress Experts, Merlinda’s Hair Salon, Overman Designs, Paper & Metal Scrappers, Paradise Nails, Payson Galleria, Sandy Phillips, Rim Country Optimist Club, Carol Shevlin, Southern Lady Designs, Pam Way, Payson High School Culinary Arts students.


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