BANGOR, Maine — Lydia Marshall, 11, of Dover-Foxcroft is the spark behind the organization of a benefit fashion show set for 7 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at the Bangor Motor Inn, Stillwater Avenue.
The event will benefit The Autism Society of Maine and the Charlotte White Center based in Dover-Foxcroft. Lydia’s goal is to raise $5,000.
“Lydia loves television fashion shows and began designing dresses three or four years ago. Her friend, who has autism, sang a song in a school talent show and Lydia noticed afterward that her friend felt more confident and that other students were more accepting,” Tony Marshall, Lydia’s father, said of what sparked his daughter’s interest in the fundraising event. When Lydia presented her idea to her father, it was in the form of a business plan, he said.
The fashion designs in the show will be created by Lydia, Rosie Buzzelli, Hannah Sprecher and Gem Babin, who range in age from 11 to 15. Each of the girls will design two outfits. Seamstresses in Fort Fairfield, Presque Isle, Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft and Bangor are working with the young designers to stitch their creations. Owners of Pancsofar’s, a bridal shop in Presque Isle, heard about the event and called to offer sewing support, Marshall said. Outfits put together by thrift and secondhand shops also will be modeled in the show.
Those who will model the outfits in the show all have special challenges in their daily lives, including autism. Several former or current Miss Maine contestants will walk the runway with the young models and serve as coaches, Marshall said.
Lydia, a student at Sedomocha Elementary School in Dover-Foxcroft, has worked on the project for months, Marshall said. She told her father she wants to do the show every year and when she is 15 years old she wants to plan and organize it herself.
The event will include a silent auction and gourmet bake sale. Items up for bid include Adirondack chairs made by inmates of the Mountain View Youth Development Center in Charleston, a picnic table, handmade wooden burl bowls, a basket of gift certificates from downtown Bangor merchants and more.
Three duct tape designers, cupcake artists and musical entertainment and humor will round out the event.
For information or to donate items for the auction, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tony Marshall at 717-7002.