Since it first hit the nautical runway in 2014 during the third annual Harbor Fest, Fishin’ For Fashion has continued to attract more designers and more, make that many more fans! Dana Paolillo, event creator and director said this popular event was built on an existing fashion show in the Harbor.
Here’s a bit of history: the fashion show that preceded Fishin For Fashion was held during Boothbay In Bloom, the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce’s annual fundraising event that also included a silent auction and cocktail party. This event dates back to the mid to late 2000s. In 2008, Boothbay In Bloom happened the same day as the Washburn & Doughty fire. Anyway, models wore outfits from the various clothing and jewelry shops in the region including Logan’s, Slick’s Boutique, A Silver Lining, Janson’s, The Loft, The Cannery and others.
Fast forward to 2013-14. Dana takes in a fashion show down Portland way called Project Blue Wrap (the wrap is recycled plastic material used to cover surgical equipment being transported to an operating room) at which all designer creations were made with this blue wrap. And this got Dana thinking ...
“I asked myself what we have here (in Boothbay) that we could use instead of blue wrap? Why not incorporate the region’s heritage into a fashion show by using materials used in fishing, lobstering and boat building?"
She said explaining her idea to people just didn’t seem to be working, so ... “I went home and made my daughter Olivia a jacket to show people the idea. I made a jacket out of sail cloth (donated by Nat Wilson), a fuel hose, cut on the bias, and put it together with hog rings. I called Bob Mitchell to take some pictures.”
The first year Dana estimates there were about 125 people to check out what the eight designers (and nine designs, one designer did two) and it’s just kept growing from there.
“Every year I am blown away by what people come up with,” Paolillo said. They are so creative – and some outfits, you can’t even tell what they’re made from. One year, I think it was last year, one of the dresses was made of the shrink wrap boatyards use … it looked like a sock hop dress. It was beautiful!”
This year’s event promises to be even better. Many would ask, is that possible? Dana, and Boothbay Harbor Fest creator/organizer Lori Reynolds say yes it is!
There are 16 original designers for 2018 and a merchant’s showcase, between the original designs, with models wearing ensembles available at local stores. Dana says 37 models will be walking the 40-foot lobster trap runway (yes there will be plywood fitted on top of the traps) at the new venue: the boat shed at Ocean Point Marina in East Boothbay.
Because the proceeds from the fashion show benefit Project Graduation, Dana said they like to include as many seniors as possible.
This year in the student category, models will be Reagan Cola wearing Reagan Cola, Hannah Cola wearing the BRHS Senior Class design; Della Hahn, and Lauren Tudor, a New York design student and Faith Blethen is her model.
Returning to the judge’s panel are Mary St. Pierre of Townsquare Media in Augusta (WCLZ, 92 Moose) and Channel 8 news anchor Cristina Frank; and new this year to the panel is Jan Haedrich, CEO and head designer of Queensly Group and her new HOUSE OF MINK (“embracing all things preppy, posh and pretty”). This former designer for Ralph Lauren has a summer place in Wiscasset.
The show begins at 2 p.m. and takes about an hour. The models wearing the original designs stay on stage another hour to give the audience time to take photos, talk to the models and check out the creations up close.
Back to the new boat shed venue ...
“You have to overcome some things when you’re in a boat shed,” said Dana. “First, there isn’t a stage area … Dan and Eileen Miller (owners of Ocean Point Marina) are letting us use a section of a dock for the stage – they are fabulous those two, just amazing. And there’s no backstage so we are creating the area using sailboats loaned by Boothbay Sea & Science Center!”
Before the show, the middle sail of three will be used as a projection screen for photos of ensembles past and sponsor logos. During the show, sails will have the names of the designer or merchant and models’ names.
Audience fashionistas will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite design and the winning designer will win the People’s Choice Award. Just look for the bait boxes to drop that vote in.
For a second year, Emcee Michael Maxim will auction off tote bags designed by the original designers so attendees can have something to take home with them. It's not like they can order a size of their favorite outfit! Speaking of fave outfits … the auction will be happening as the votes are being counted.
“This is the first time we have a traditional type of layout,” Dana said. “Chairs will be set up – VIP and general seating, but everyone will have a great view. We’ve decorated it like a marina … flags … and some other fun surprises!”
A shuttle will run continuously during the East Side Vibe, the newest addition to Boothbay Harbor Fest! On Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
A non-shuttle parking area within walking distance is the lot at Washburn & Doughty –so, if you park here don’t expect the shuttle.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for the Fishin For Fashion Show and the all new East Side Vibe, or for both, at www.boothbayharborfest.com. Children 12 and under are admitted to the East Side Vibe free! Don’t miss the live music, food, and children’s and family activities! For details, check out the Harbor Fest website!