Monday, May 21, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 11

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on April 2nd, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 4 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 15, Issue 4

Hobnobbing With Helen


Wendy Thies Sell (the Sun’s food and wine writer), Julie Posada, and Mike Sell (pictured left to right) got together for some last-minute pre-show strategy at the VTC “Fashion in Aktion” show held on March 23 at the Vets Memorial Center in Santa Maria.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay! My, oh my, what a wonderful day!”

These lyrics (from Disney’s Song of the South) perfectly describe the ninth annual “Fashion in Aktion” fashion show fundraiser held on Sunday afternoon, March 23, at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Santa Maria.

This popular event was a roaring success, with sponsors galore, all tables full, unusually attractive silent auction items, some zany models, and more than 400 tickets sold.

My, oh my, it was indeed a wonderful day.

The icing on the cake was that mothers of models with developmental disabilities told me how much being in the show meant to their children.

“This is great for their self-esteem,” one mother told me.

Another mother, Nancy Shaw, said of her daughter Andrea, “After a show, she talks about it for months. She loves it.”

Andrea modeled two evening dresses, which she chose from a collection of new gowns donated to the VTC thrift store in Lompoc. She won the award for choosing the most elegant outfit.

The models’ hair styling and make-up were courtesy of Inge Garvin of Salon Studio 23 and her colleagues, some from Mary Kay. The models affiliated with VTC got to keep one of the outfits they wore.

Most of the models were from VTC’s program for individuals of a variety of ages with developmental disabilities. Several were in wheelchairs. Some used walkers. Some of the models (like the four professional belly dancers) were from the community at large. Some were noontime Kiwanis members with a sense of fun and a flair for show biz.

Models “Fred Flintstone” (aka Randy Beal), with Paige and Wyatt Beal, waited their turn in line at the outdoor photo booth at the “Fashion in Aktion” event.

With assistance from a number of other organizations, like the city’s recreation and parks department and VTC Enterprises, the noontime Kiwanis have sponsored “Fashion in Aktion” over the years. Kiwanis members I spied were Dr. Glen Prezkop, Dr. Roland Miller, Jill Parry, Randy Beal, and Marjorie Gjerdrum.

Tidbits: VTC’s Julie Posada (president-elect of noontime Kiwanis) was the driving force behind getting it all together for the luncheon and show. Tickets cost $25. The Volunteer of the Year Award went to Rebecca Masuda. The Kiwanis’ Mike Sell and Sun contributor Wendy Thies Sell emceed.

Lunch was prepared, of course, by VTC Custom Catering: fried chicken, salad, rolls, and cake. Red and white wines graced each table and enhanced the viewing experience.

The silent auction featured a gorgeous lime green Kitchen Aid mixer that attracted a long list of bids. There must have been a lot of serious cooks in the crowd, because the Pampered Chef items donated by JoAnne Willis also attracted lots of attention.

Jill Parry (left) and Inge Garvin admired the models at the Aktion Club fashion Show.

Another sought-after auction item was Anna Rubcic’s and Mary Tawzer’s large basket brimming with Dr. Seuss books and stuffed animals. Too cute!

City Councilperson Terri Zuniga was among the guests. Mary Louise Hoffman invited me to be at her table, which included her daughter Laura King, son Paul, and Joanne Cargill.

For a grand finale, Dr. Ray Arnsdorf, the last person down the runway, scampered about in a frizzy wig and gym clothes, making a cameo appearance as a taller, thinner Richard Simmons. Such howls of laughter!

Alas, this is the last year for “Fashion in Aktion.”

But not to worry, the fun VTC fundraisers are not going away! Next year’s event—a “tour of Italy” with a five-course Italian dinner and games of chance—is already in the advanced planning stages.


If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at

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