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Tickets on sale for 11th annual Love That Dress! event

By Staff | Aug 1, 2019

Tickets for Lee County’s favorite shopping fundraiser – the “ultimate shopping spree” – are now on sale.

The 11th annual Pace Center for Girls Love That Dress! event will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, at Embassy Suites by Hilton, 10450 Corkscrew Commons Drive, Estero.

Tickets are $30 in advance, or $40 at the event. They can be purchased at www.LoveThatDressLeeCounty.com. There is also a limited number of VIP passes for $150, which provides attendees with early access starting at 5 p.m., and exclusive access to the VIP Suite Level, complete with private dressing areas, express check-out, complimentary beverages, hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

Event Chair Jennifer Pfenninger said the VIP tickets provide a more special atmosphere as shoppers do not have to wait in line, they can take their time and relax a little bit.

“It’s a great atmosphere up there with all the companies that have the VIP suites,” she said, adding that they also get priority shopping with doors opening at 5 p.m.

The general admission tickets provide attendees with the opportunity to shop the main ballroom while enjoying complimentary appetizers, a cash bar and music and dancing. The ballroom is set up with racks and separated into sections of clothing, such as formal attire, dresses and separates, as well as brand new shoes and purses.

Pfenninger said they have received a large number of donations this year for the annual event. In addition to dress drop-off locations at multiple locations, there have been five dress collection events as of the end of July.

“We had 25 people come to the storage unit to hang, price, size, sort and organize. We are racking and rolling in there,” she said of the more than 3,000 new and gently loved dresses, shoes, handbags and accessories for the sale this year.

The annual Love That Dress! event began when two women put their heads together and said “We have all these nice dresses and they are going to waste.” Pfenninger said the thought turned into why not seeing if those dresses could be sold during the shopping spree event of the year.

“We keep adding partners and perfecting it,” she said.

White House Black Market remains a sponsor, providing a good number of merchandise every year for the fundraiser. This year, instead of dresses, White House Black Market provided a lot of separates and pants.

“We are excited about the price point. It is lower than the dresses,” Pfenninger said, adding that they also have high-end black tie dresses, as well as cocktail dresses that are “just amazing.”

The Love That Dress! event offers fabulous deals for attendees, such as a brand new pair of jeans for $10.

“There are so many people that have donated high-end stuff and we price it so reasonable. There are so many deals. I have touched pretty much every dress, pricing it and sizing it. There is some really good stuff this year,” Pfenninger said.

There is also a limited number of tickets, 150, that will be sold before the drawing for a 24-month lease on a new 2019 Infiniti QX50 SUV.

The event’s silent auction is also very successful, generating close to $10,000 every year.

All of the money raised will benefit Pace Center for Girls, Lee County.

“We donate the space; the hotel does,” said Pfenninger, who is the director of sales at Embassy Suites by Hilton. “I am thankful that Hilton supports my mission in giving back and allows me to host this every year and be charitable with that organization. It’s almost a week that my ballroom is down. It’s (Love That Dress!) the entire main level of my hotel. The VIP floor overlooks the main event downstairs. It’s quite an event and very taxing on my staff, but we make it work.”

Pace, which is dedicated to “providing girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training and advocacy,” is a non-residential delinquency prevention and intervention program for girls 12 to 18 years old facing many different challenges. According to Pfenninger, 94 percent of girls increased their academic performance and have no involvement with the criminal justice system a year after transitioning out of the program.

“It’s a wonderful board. Everybody is so nice and so focused on the girls and how we can help. I love Pace. I love their mission,” she said of being a member of the board. “These girls thrive at Pace. They are actually in the school with other people that have similar situations. It’s very relatable to these girls that say, ‘Hey, I am not the only one that needs help.'”

The 2018, 10th annual, Love That Dress! fundraiser attracted 450 fashionistas and community supporters raising more than $157,000 for the Pace Center for Girls, Lee County.