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9th annual Fashion Show and Auction Saturday

By Staff | May 30, 2017

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

The 9th annual Fashion Show and Auction will be held Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the La Venezia Ballroom in Club Square. Organized by the Guardian Angels for Special Populations, the event will feature a couple different auctions, as well as a runway show with summer looks by local stores.

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

“We raised nearly $12,000 (in 2016),” Vince Marcucci, president of the Guardian Angels, said.

“I’d like to do that, or a little more would be great,” he said of this year’s goal.

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 Guardian Angels use the proceeds raised to buy needed items. Recently, they bought a 22-passenger bus and a 12-passenger van with a wheelchair lift to transport participants.

“We get things that the program needs,” he said.

Event tickets are $30 and include a buffet lunch; there will be a cash bar.

About 50 tickets were still available on Tuesday.

“We’re hoping for 250,” Marcucci said of the attendance goal this year.

“We were sold out two years in a row at the other place,” he added.

The deadline to purchase tickets is Thursday night.

For this year’s fashion show, the Cape Coral J.C. Penney will showcase some of its seasonal outfits, along with Scout & Molly’s Boutique and Trader Rick’s, both located in the Bell Tower Shops.

Marcucci explained that the program participants, who may have Down syndrome or autism, are the models for the show. They pick out their outfits and undergo makeovers before hitting the runway.

“We build it as a fashion show, but it is all about the self-confidence and the self-esteem that they will be feeling when they’re strutting their stuff,” he said. “We added four gentlemen this year.”

About a dozen participants will hit the runway.

“It’s a good warm-hearted event,” Marcucci said. “Nobody goes away with a dry eye.”

The event will feature live, silent and Chinese auctions. Big ticket items like hotel stays and Disney passes will be showcased in the live auction, which will be emceed by FOX 4’s Lisa Greenberg.

“We have over $15,000 in merchant-donated items,” he said.

“A really great supply of things for people to bid on and take home,” Marcucci added.

New this year, there will be a square board, where people can buy a square for $10. At the end of the event, the winner whose square is called will take home the grand prize – valued at about $1,500.

“It’s a bunch of items put together,” he said.

There will also be a 50/50 raffle.

“We’re really asking our guests to break open their piggy banks,” Marcucci said.

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.

“I think it’s an awesome way to spend a few hours on a Saturday,” he said.

“It’s really the most good you can do in three hours,” Marcucci added.

For more information, contact 239-574-0574.

The La Venezia Ballroom is at 4646 S.E. 10th Place in South Cape.

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