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Fifteen-year-old Tenaya Ahrens struts her stuff Saturday at the 'Frugal Friends' fashion show.

‘Frugal Friends’ Walk the Catwalk for a Cause at Bandit Town

NORTH FORK — The 4th Annual “Frugal Friends” Fashion Show took over Bandit Town Saturday as young models in snazzy thrift shop attire strutted their stuff to benefit the North Fork Community Library.

Nearly 100 people came out for the fundraiser luncheon and fashion show, which was sponsored by the Friends of the North Fork Library and the North Fork Mono Rancheria.

The afternoon program featured nearly a dozen pre-teen and teenage area youth modeling thrift store ensembles of their own creation.

Honoring the theme of the event, in most cases, the models’ entire outfits cost less than $10 or $20.

Young models (l to r) Evelyn Comstock, Laura DeSilva, Kacee Bunch and Henry Casares

The fashion show helped raise funds to support the library’s operations via ticket sales and an event-day raffle and sale of “lightly used” jewelry and fashion accessories donated by library supporters.

More than a dozen volunteers helped organize and run the popular annual event, including Sue Novell, who helped make and dish out chicken salad and Friends of the Library board member Linda Jones, who helped organize the jewelry sale.

“This show is about getting people together in town and recognizing that without having a group like Friends of the Library, there wouldn’t be nearly as much money to buy new books for our library or sponsor things like the summer reading program,” Jones said.

The group’s president, Jean Russell, was not able to attend this year’s fashion show. “Unfortunately, she’s at home recovering from injuries she suffered in a recent cycling accident,” Jones explained.

Speaking before the fashion show began, North Fork Librarian Sarah McIntyre told the audience this year’s event was dedicated to Russell.

“We all wish Jean a speedy recovery,” McIntyre said. “I never realized before her accident just how much she does for the library.”

The first model on the catwalk Saturday, Dan, dressed as a “Hollywood music mogul”

Jones credited Jennifer McMillan, owner of Bandit Town, for allowing Friends of the Library to use the facility free of charge for the event.

“Without Jen giving us this venue, we’d never be able to pull something like this off,” she said. “This is such an amazing place to have an event.”

Cassandra Callis helped recruit and organize the models for this year’s event and local event photographer Michael Olwyler donated his photographic services. Once again, Christina DeGracia set up and managed the sound system for the show — and served as the DJ.

Additional sponsors of the event included DiCicco’s Italian Restaurant and Trader Joe’s.

Last year’s fashion show generated nearly $2,300 for the North Fork Library, which has been in existence since the 1940s and operating at its current location next to the North Fork Studio since 1978.

Fashion show attendees browse selection of “lightly used” jewelry donated by supports of Friends of the North Fork Library

“We do membership drives throughout the year but the fashion show is our biggest fundraiser,” said McIntyre, a North Fork native whose been the town librarian for eight years.

The library currently has about 1,000 library card holders, according to McIntyre. “Somewhere between 600 and 900 people come in every month,” she added.

Jones said the fundraiser’s “frugal fashion” theme was chosen to help spark awareness.

“Seeing these models dressed in outfits purchased for just a few dollars at area thrift stores, people learn that they don’t have to shop at Macy’s to get a cute outfit.”

Ten-year-old Roland Comstock, one of the show’s models, spent less than $15 on his punk rocker ensemble.

Fifteen-year-old model Tenaya Ahrens said she paid about $6 for her outfit, which, she explained, was meant to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock era.

After striking a provocative pose and then flashing a peace sign while gliding down the catwalk, Tenaya hurried backstage to change into her second outfit for the show — which the she described as “modern ’80s glam.”

Roland’s older sister, Evelyn, 12, was also a model in Saturday’s fashion show. Her outfits’ themes were “sassy summer” and “spunky gala.”

“Being in this show is a lot of fun,” Evelyn said. “And it’s really cool it helps support the library.”

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