Paying homage to local heroes, 4-H members kicked off Saturday’s 2017 Champaign County Fashion Revue with a skit wearing colorful superhero masks, police caps and other props as part of this year’s theme: “4-H – Superheroes in Training.¨ Afterward, participants strode down the runway while announcers gave brief biographies that included their attire, hobbies and 4-H club.
“We had a full audience and they were very attentive,” said Marcia Hatcher, 4-H Youth Development program assistant and organizer of the fashion show.
¨They did a really nice job,” said Cheryl Domer, one of two judges, adding she faced tough decisions.
Participants are judged on both the quality and modeling of their sewn garments. Domer, who has been a 4-H leader in Clark County for 26 years, said the best participants are “natural, poised” and their garments are neatly pressed with no loose or hanging threads.
“It’s kind of like a celebration of their completed project … to celebrate and be proud of their (garments),” said Margie Williams, one of the judges. ¨So we want their enthusiasm to shine through.¨
Categories ranged from Sewing for Others, Sew Fun, Tops for Tweens, Accessories for Teens, Clothing for Middle School and Active Sportswear. Top models in each category were selected and split into Junior and Senior divisions.
The Top Models for the Senior Division were Naomi Williams, Paige Russell and Angelena Humphrey. In the Junior Division, Top Models included Kayla Booze, Lilly Marsh and Stephanie Selvaggio.
As the top overall Senior Division winner, Naomi Williams modeled her jacket, dress, top and bottom with a coordination of colors and multiple pieces. She accessorized the outfit with a red necklace.
Booze, the top overall Junior Division winner, modeled jeans, a shirt jacket, gold flats, earrings and a headband, all of which she purchased as part of the Shopping Savvy category of competition.
State fair representatives in the various categories included Sarah Bielawski, Kaitlynn Haynes, Asher Daniels, Laurel Kennedy, Anna Selvaggio, Allison Jenks, Lora Current, Addison Dillow, Lauren Woodruff, Madilyn Jenks, Ashton Arnett, Leo Compton, Naomi Williams and Humphrey.
Enrollment numbers for the fashion show mirror last year’s, which Hatcher said is a positive sign for a program that is universally declining in popularity.
“It’s a good skill for them to learn,” she said. ¨Not just for 4-H. In the future, they can make clothes for their own kids and grandkids.¨
Margie Williams, a seasoned 4-H advisor and judge, recalls participating in the fashion revue at the age of 9 and hopes to see greater numbers in the future.
“It’s an art,” she said. ¨We’d like to see more of the older girls … We’re passionate about 4-H. The family and consumer sciences are kind of a lost art.¨
Hatcher echoed that sentiment, stating the county is down to just two 4-H clubs that are exclusively for sewing. More than 30 other clubs, however, incorporate sewing into their programs countywide.
Preparation for the annual fashion revue starts in January with enrollment, at which time 4-H members pick their projects and begin planning.
During Saturday’s show, participants walked the runway to the playing of pianist Jane Martin, a music teacher with the Urbana City Schools.
Craig Shirk is a regular contributor to this newspaper.