CANTON: “This is a fashion show within a fashion show,” Betsy Kling observed as smartly attired guests arrived Friday at Canton Memorial Civic Center for the Hall of Fame Fashion Show.
Kling, chief meteorologist for WKYC-TV (Channel 3), served as mistress of ceremonies for the event, which drew an estimated 3,200 people to view the latest fashions.
Sherri Mosnot, chairwoman of the event, thanked sponsors and volunteers who assisted in making the show run smoothly.
“The first fashion show was held in 1963, with 300 people in attendance. My, how we’ve grown!” she said, noting the Hall of Fame is celebrating its 50th anniversary, with many enshrines returning for the festivities.
Mosnot also recognized Joy Lavelli, widow of Hall of Famer Dante Lavelli, as one of the founders of the annual fashion show.
Outside the Civic Center, Darlene Schrader, Rose Ventura and Barb Barnett were busy selling Hall of Fame souvenirs, while AVI Food Systems of Warren prepared a luncheon of chicken saltimbocca. While guests enjoyed lunch, Greg Briggs and Brad Teis made final adjustments to the runway.
Claudette Hankins introduced artist Michael Clapper, who was been commissioned by the Hall of Fame and Arts in Stark to create the first in a series of sculptures depicting the birth of the NFL in Canton.
“I’ve enjoyed everything Robb has thrown at me,” Clapper said of his busy week, noting that Robb Hankins, executive director of Arts in Stark, has him visiting as many events as he can squeeze in.
At a nearby table, Virginia Olivieri was surrounded by family members — her daughters Grace Olivieri and Christine Hackett and granddaughters Paige Hackett and Sarah Johnson — and friends Joann Castllanta, Renee Connor and Miss Ohio, Kristen Smith.
Canton Mayor William Healy II welcomed the 46 men in the audience.
“I know [the number], because I’ve counted you,” Healy said.
One young man, 9-year-old Andrew Mosnot, said he came with his dad, Jim Mosnot, to see his older brother, Derek, model in the show his mother chaired.
Twenty-four stores participated in the show, which began with a performance by dancers from the Constellation Performing Arts Company. Acrobatic dancers formed a back drop for some of the fashion scenes.
Hall of Fame Queen Claire Kendig and court members Emily Scarpitti, Jill Grove, Heather Ramsey, Briana McAfee, Marisa Karapasha, Amy Rogers and Asia Boykin escorted male models showing furs in one sequence.
Stilt walkers Kaye Vander and Julia Pankhurst of Pick Up Stix Stilters introduced the children’s fashions and danced through the spectacular grand finale, which also featured the University of Akron Brazilian Percussion Ensemble.