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Tickets going fast for annual Fashion Show and Auction to benefit Special Populations

By Staff | May 31, 2016

Time is running out to get tickets to a fun-filled event that will benefit Special Populations.

The 8th annual Fashion Show and Auction will be held Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Palmetto-Pine Country Club. Organized by the Guardian Angels for Special Populations, the event will consist of three auctions, as well as a runway show featuring summer looks by the Bell Tower Shops.

All proceeds will benefit the participant programs at the city’s Special Populations.

“We raised just about $12,000 last year,” Vince Marcucci, president of the Guardian Angels, said.

“If we beat it by a dollar (this year), that’d be great,” he added.

Currently, there are about 80 individuals enrolled in the Special Populations day program. Another estimated 60 individuals take part in the after-school and evening social programs and special events. Special Populations focuses on individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, or both.

Marcucci explained that the participants, who may have Down syndrome or autism, get to serve as the models in the fashion show. They pick out their outfits and get makeovers before hitting the runway.

“They went and picked out their outfits and got their fittings, so they’re ready to go,” he said.

Ten individuals will be modeling off this year’s fashions.

“It’s not all about the fashion, it’s also about the people wearing them,” Marcucci said.

“We’re trying to give people a good experience,” he added.

The fundraiser will feature a live auction, silent auction and Chinese auction, along with a 50/50 raffle. Items like hotel stays, Disney Park Hopper passes and boat rentals will be showcased in the live auction.

“Those are the higher value items,” Marcucci said.

Gift certificates to restaurants and for services, along with tickets to the Florida Everblades, Florida Repertory Theater and more, will make up the silent auction. There will also be artwork and more.

“A lot of entertainment and service items,” he said.

The Chinese auction will feature art work, architectural items, jewelry and gift baskets.

“It has a lot of home deco pieces,” Marcucci said.

As of Tuesday, the donated prizes up for grabs totaled approximately $10,000.

“It’s really awesome,” he said.

Tickets to the fundraiser are $30 and include lunch, dessert and non-alcoholic drinks.

Out of 200 tickets total, about 30 were still available on Tuesday.

“It’s a guaranteed good time,” Marcucci said.

The deadline to buy tickets is Friday.

Tickets can be purchased over the phone with a credit card at 239-574-0574, by stopping by the Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center or going online at: www.myspecialpops.org and using PayPal.

The Freida B. Smith Special Populations Center is at 410 Santa Barbara Blvd.

The Palmetto-Pine Country Club is at 1940 S.W. Ninth Court.