Woman’s Club Fashion Show offers fashion, fun, friendship and fundraising

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At over 90 years old, Laverne Cann is the oldest model to walk the runway in the Fashion Show. Her friends in the Woman’s Club gave her a standing ovation. Laverne served as president of the club from 1977 to 1978. Photo by Bert Barbay.

Formed 45 years ago, the Canyon Lake Woman’s Club is one of the oldest groups in the community. It’s also one of the largest and most active groups. The club’s biggest fundraiser is its annual fashion show, which dates back to the late 70s. It’s a major event that raises a hefty chunk of the club’s annual goal of raising $30,000 to $40,000 for philanthropic endeavors.

Originally, the shows were held at monthly meetings, with the chairperson doing spoofs on fashion shows. In recent years, it’s evolved into a first-rate affair held in the Holiday Bay Room at the lodge on the last Friday in April. There is always a theme and elaborate decorations.

The theme of this year’s show is “Once Upon a Time.” Approximately 200 people are expected to attend. Fashion Show Chair Lyne Hall and her committees have spent months preparing for today’s Fashion Show and the five pre-parties leading up to it.

More than modeling clothes, the Fashion Show models friendships and fundraising. Friendships are formed and strengthened through the countless hours the women spend working together to prepare for this grand event. The elements of the show that help the club raise money are the pre-parties, ticket sales, silent auction, raffles, door prizes and grand prizes.

This year’s door prizes are valued at a minimum of $50 each. Door prizes are drawn every 15 minutes between the opening of the doors at 9:30 a.m. to the serving of lunch at noon. There are 12 theme baskets with an approximate value of $200 each. Five lucky winners will receive $500 each in the grand prize drawing.

The set decorations are always elaborate but Lyne said they outdid themselves when it came to building this year’s set. “The set will include a castle complete with a working door for the models to come through and a Rapunzel turret,” said Lyne. “Other famous characters making an appearance will be Humpty Dumpty and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men and Jiminy Cricket to name a few.”

Due to the popularity of allowing people who bought an entire table of eight seats to dress it up in keeping with the theme, the club has decided to allow it again this year.

Me Boutique, Bombshells, Amani, Golf Pro Shop and Gyspsy Sunset will be providing the clothes for the show. Entertainment will be provided by local DJ and entertainer Aprile DeAnne. Lunch will be catered by the Lighthouse Restaurant.

Last year, the Fashion Show raised $19,000 to go towards the more than $35,000 the club gave to local charities and in the form of scholarships to girls who live in Canyon Lake.

The next major community event put on by the Woman’s Club will be the 3rd annual Mermaid Festival in August at Indian Beach. The event includes a Cardboard Boat Race and Pirate Battle, along with food and vendor booths, children’s crafts, contests and the crowning of the Mermaid Court.

Woman’s Club History

The Woman’s Club has hosted a variety of community events in its long history. According to canyonlakewomansclub.com, the club was founded in 1972 when a group of Canyon Lake women wanted to meet their neighbors. They organized an early morning “Kidnap Breakfast,” allowing those kidnapped to put on two things: a robe and false teeth.

This same group, plus the kidnap victims, met and decided to form a Woman’s Club. Bylaws were written and, on November 14, 1972, the first election of officers was held. There were 91 charter members. Their main purpose at that time was to purchase safety equipment and support activities for teens.

A suggestion was also made to contact the Riverside County Libraries to request a bookmobile stop in Canyon Lake. A book exchange table was set up at the CLWC monthly meeting. This led to establishing a financial sponsorship program to manage the development and growth of the local library.

Space was rented and the Woman’s Club paid the utility bills. Woman’s Club volunteers staffed the library, which eventually became part of the Riverside County Library System.

One of the first money-making events was a rummage sale held at the Village Center. This evolved into a swap meet, first held at Blue Bird Hall and then moved to the Towne Center.  In 2004, the membership voted to no longer hold a swap meet.

The club’s first Home Tour was held on November 24, 1973. This event continues to be held annually before Christmas and is a successful fundraiser. It now includes a drawing for decorated Christmas trees and a vendor boutique.

In 2007,  a “Taste of Paradise” cookbook was created from recipes donated by members. It proved to be a successful fundraiser.

In 2011, the board adopted a logo and sold T-shirts and sweatshirts with the glitzy logo. In 2014, vendors were added to the general membership meetings and the meetings were given themes.

All these events continue to be major fundraisers. Members continue to put in countless hours, display their many talents and make new friendships as they raise money to be donated to philanthropic recipients and scholarships.

A footnote at the bottom of the club’s website says, “Life’s Greatest Treasure – Friendship.”

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Donna Ritchie