Setting the Stage: Fashion show lays groundwork for future projects

Published 6:32 pm Friday, April 28, 2023

RICE – It took weeks of planning, plenty of organizing and a couple prayers, asking for the weather to cooperate. In the end, it was all worth it, as organizers said the first Rice fashion show was a great success. 

The event, which took place on Sunday, April 16 at the Sandy River Distillery, brought in more than three hundred people, helping to raise money for the Rice Fire Department. 

“It all came together beautifully, and we are so proud to have been a part of this collaborative community event,” said Distillery co-owner Candace Smith. “We have made many new friends, clients and colleagues! As Helen Keller once said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

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Her husband Mark Smith pointed out the more than 300 people in attendance was a record day for their operation. 

“It was a record day for sales and attendance to date,” Mark Smith said. “Never have I seen so many local women and men together at one place locally, with smiles beaming from ear to ear. It was truly awesome & felt great to have the community at our distillery.”

The downtown boutiques that took part in the show were Blake & Gray, Lex on Main, Caryn’s Bridals, Formals and Tuxedos, Sassy Sisters Boutique, Southern and Wild and Talley Jewelry. The show consisted of 18 models of various ethnicities, with six ladies from various local salons working on hair and makeup, starting at 10 a.m. 

Something new for the area

One thing models and organizers alike said was that it was important to have an event like this, bringing new things to the area. 

“It was exactly what we needed. It was a diverse, fun and an exciting way to introduce new fashions to our area,” said Kay Woodson. She wore multiple hats for the event, working as both a model and runway manager. 

Woodson praised the work done by everyone to make this happen, saying the group of women collaborated effortlessly. 

“So much talent has been exposed, and I’m personally grateful to share my passion and knowledge for runway & fashion with others,” Woodson said. “With over 15 years of experience behind me, it was a full circle moment to be a part of this epic production at home. This is truly my purpose. I’m looking forward to future projects in our area & helping others with a desire to learn more about fashion, modeling & show production.”

Kaylee Newcomb’s business, Blake & Gray Company, has only been open in Farmville for a few months, but she said the response they’ve received, both at the store and from people showing up to the fashion show, demonstrates what residents want. 

“When we opened our doors a few months ago, I would never have imagined how much support we would have from the community,” Newcomb said. “This event clearly showed how thrilled Farmville is to have fashion on Main Street. We are so incredibly grateful for this and thrilled to be a part of this wonderful town!”

Lisa Tharpe echoed Newcomb’s comments. The owner of 201 N. Main Street, who helped both emcee and organize the event, said she felt it was a huge home run. 

“The downtown boutiques really knocked it out of the park with their spunky models and gorgeous clothing and jewelry,” Tharpe said. “They showed off everything from cutting edge trendy outfits, to comfy casual, to sparkling sequins. We really do have an amazing inventory and variety to shop locally. This show proved there is no reason to go out of town to purchase your perfect outfit. These wonderful boutiques and our full-service jewelry store have exactly what you need right here at home.” 

To scroll through photos from the  event, click below.

Fashion show helps look toward the future

Tharpe added that it also felt good to raise money for the fire department through raffles and giveaways. 

With the success of this version, it’s no surprise organizers say they plan to hold at least one more show in the coming year. A date on that next show has not been set.