Opening Act Hosts Fashion Show at City Hall

From left, Karly Ketsdever, Trisha King, Madi Coleman and Audrie Frangente talk to each other while waiting to walk the runway in dresses fit for a wedding. Photos by Sarah Brown

The lobby at City Hall was filled with wedding dresses and formal cruise wear as a nonprofit offered the gowns for sale in an elegant fashion show and “boutique” on May 4.

Opening Act Foundation held its first fashion show as a fundraiser to help support the work they do. The nonprofit gives away formal wear for proms, lends tuxedos to boys, and provides formal wear and costumes for school and city events, the VFW Marine Ball, Senior Center events and Chips ‘n’ Splinters acts.

Shirley Austin places a price tag on a dress.

Karen Craig explained that when she moved to town, she became friends with Shirley Austin and, together, they began collecting outfits and dressing people up.

“Both of us like theater a lot, and dressing people up,” Craig said.

For three years, the gals have been using their own money to buy all the new and used formal wear and costumes. Craig explained that City Manager Kelcey Young came up with the idea to hold a fashion show and sale as a way to help sell overstocked wedding dresses and formal wear. The event not only supported OAF but also provided affordable gowns for brides.

A couple of ladies attended the show in their hunt for a dress for their own upcoming wedding. Madison Saunders said she was happy with the prices that started at $100 because so far, elsewhere, she’s found them starting at $800.

During the fashion show, Luke Rice walked his fiance, Karma Holder, down the “runway” in the City Council chambers and gave her a kiss.

“I love seeing her in all the different dresses,” he said, adding that he’s not allowed to see her in her own wedding dress until their wedding day.

Holder said it was “awesome” getting to participate in the show with her husband-to-be.

“It was nice seeing him all dapper,” she said. “He was real handsome.”

Another model, Trisha King, said it was her first time modeling in a fashion show.

Trisha King walks the “runway” in the City Council chambers wearing a nude and white wedding dress.

“It was a little nerve-racking, but it was fun,” she said, adding that she’d “absolutely” do it again but would want her daughter to be involved.

Austin said they raised just over $400 from the fashion show. The proceeds will help continue the work they do. They are looking to the future to begin providing Victorian-style costumes for a city Christmas event, as well as providing appropriate attire for young people seeking employment.

Mayor Susan Coleman also fashioned some dresses for the show. She said there’s “no way” she’d quit her mayorship to become a fashion model, but she’s happy to help OAF.

“I enjoy helping Shirley and Karen out,” she said. “I appreciate what they do for our community and giving away free prom dresses.”