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An Evening on the Runway: Annual fundraiser brings fashion, comedy, community to DeSoto Theatre Feb. 24

With a “Fashion Takes Flight” theme and increased community-wide participation, the Historic DeSoto Theatre brings back “An Evening on the Runway” on Feb. 24.

This year’s event will feature not only fashion, but some light-hearted fun as well.

Lifelong friends Mary Hardin Thornton and Julia Pollard will be the emcees for the show, blending their humor and fashion to entertain the audience.

“We couldn’t ask for a funnier or more talented combination to narrate the show,” said HDTF President Chris Jackson. “We’ll try to make sure they behave. But celebrity folks such as Severo Avila or Sam Moss, who the emcees are sure to know well, may have to watch out for their ‘high jinks.’’’

The duo promise to make the audience laugh as they introduce models representing over a dozen boutiques, hair salons and jewelry stores participating in this year’s show.

“One treasures clean streets, the other one clean sheets,” said the duo’s friend, Jennifer Moore. “When one of these two girls saw Top Gun at Riverbend Mall in 1986, she cried her mascara off. The other one ranks a childhood stay at a Gatlinburg Chalet as a top 10 vacation destination. One of them dyed her hair with facial bleach back in the day. Last month, the other one accidentally cut off her eyelashes. And both can karaoke.”

“We’re lucky to have such amazing talent in Rome, to be able to pull together a show of this kind,” says Jackson. “We can’t wait to see what our other talented duo, directors Leslie McFall and Amie Sabourin, have in store for us this year. They have been busy coordinating looks, script, music and choreography. They are professionals and will deliver a great show!”

Models representing local boutiques, jewelry stores and salons will walk the runway to fast-paced lights and music. A live feed of the show will be projected on large on-stage screens. Audiences will recognize many familiar faces including newly-elected County Commissioner Allison Watters and Darlington School’s Dean of College Guidance Sam Moss. Returning to the runway are Darlington School junior Maddie Sabourin, Cherokee Rose Outstanding Teen, who is competing in Miss Georgia in June, and Rome News-Tribune columnist Severo Avila.

“The community’s response to our event has been phenomenal,” said event coordinator Michelle Picon.

In its second year, the DeSoto catwalk provides a platform for Rome boutiques to showcase their spring lines in a dynamic and entertaining environment. It also gives Redmond a stage during “Heart Month” to raise awareness for heart health for women, the leading cause of death in women in the United States.

“Just as we want folks to stay in Rome to catch a play or a concert at the DeSoto, we want folks to stay and shop in Rome,” Jackson said. “We know they can find a wide variety of name-brands and of new and popular styles, without having to travel to Atlanta.”

To promote heart-health awareness, Redmond Regional Medical Center will present a segment dedicated to women’s heart health, using actual patients and the providers who saved their lives.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women in the United States, killing one in every four women,” said Marsha Colwell, Vice President of Cardiovascular Services at Redmond. “Women experience ‘silent’ or unrecognizable attacks more often than men, so it is critical that they know their personal risk of heart disease and focus on prevention.”

Boutiques featuring their spring fashions are Whistle Britches, Snazzy Rags, Mel & Mimi, Blue Sky Outfitters, The Lodge Menswear, Bella Luna, EmBands, River Dog Paddle, Top Hat Formal Wear plus jewelry stores Ford, Gittings, & Kane and Greene’s. “Glam squads” from Stella Blu Cosmetic Boutique, Salon Stella & Blu Dry Bar, and Seven Hills Salon will do hair and makeup for all models.

Just as they did last year, organizers have made sure the community is constantly reminded of the event with a barrage of promotional images.

Kelly Moore of Kelly Moore Photography is one of the event’s sponsors and set up an elaborate photo shoot at Richard B. Russell Airport featuring private planes and beautiful cars.

Models were photographed individually and in groups. Those images have been ciruclating on social media for weeks, creating a buzz about the event.

Other sponsors supporting the community-wide Runway benefit are: Parker FiberNet, Heritage Auto Group, Greater Community Bank, Hardy Realty, Rome Floyd Chamber, Hawthorn Suites, KB Aerial Imagery, Vargo Orthodontics, Fast Printing and Signs, and Hometown Headlines.

An Evening on the Runway will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24. The VIP Patron Party at Seven Hills Fellowship is from 6-7:30 p.m. Tickets are $17 (General Admission), $37 (Reserved Seating), and an additional $40 for the VIP Patron Party.

All tickets may be purchased online at For more information, call Becky Owens at 706-676-8673.

All proceeds benefit the Historic DeSoto Theatre for the continued restoration and preservation of Broad Street’s iconic DeSoto Theatre.