Consuelo Hernandez extends her wings to wow the audience in her Marvelous Magical Fabulous Mee dress, designed by herself, Mayte Lopez and Elsbeth Wetherill. The outfit consists of curtains, syringes, medical bands and old dresses. (Photos by Sean Roney)

SALINAS VALLEY — Alliance on Aging hosted the fifth annual South County Trashion Show at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds in King City last Thursday, which coincided with the organization’s 50th anniversary year.

The theme for the Feb. 20 fundraiser was Mardi Gras, and dress designers were directed to make fun and colorful creations with the theme of reusing trash.

“Everything we do is at no cost to our clients, so that’s why we have to have fundraisers like this,” said Teresa Sullivan, executive director for Alliance on Aging. “This fundraiser is an opportunity to have a lot of fun.”

Guests were able to buy table centerpieces, enter a raffle for one of seven prizes or make a one-time or ongoing donation to help fund the Alliance on Aging, which provides programs for the elderly, such as Medicare counseling, nursing home advocacy, tax counseling, benefits checkups and caregiver education.

“Are we going to have enough resources to maintain living the way we want to live as we get older?” asked Sullivan as a guiding question that many ponder as they reach older ages. “What do we do to help prepare you for those, so you can make those changes and adjustments and make it as good as it possibly can be? It’s so much easier to deal with things proactively prepared. Even if you can’t avoid it, you have options.”

The show featured models — some local and some from outside of the county — who hit the runway to present the work of area designers. Audra Vaccarezza returned as Mistress of Ceremony to introduce them.

The halftime show included a musical performance by Monterey County Sheriff Steve Bernal, who was emcee for the Trashion Show three years ago before he decided to instead sing for the annual event.

“I write music and go to Nashville often,” said Bernal of his love for musical performance. “I belong to the Nashville Songwriters Association. I look forward to writing music full time when I retire.”

Kay Handley and Janet Rianda were two of many local designers at the show, who were entering a dress for their third year in a row.

“We used packing material because we live up in Arroyo Seco and there’s a lot of online shopping up there,” said Rianda as she described the components of her dress, which also included bird netting and Burger King crowns. “Everything is stapled or glued in place. There’s no sewing involved.”

One model, Consuelo Hernandez, dominated the stage with her huge wing-like sleeves while on the runway and was also one of the designers. She worked with a team from Mee Memorial Healthcare System to put together a dress using medical waste. She worked with Mayte Lopez and Elsbeth Wetherill.

“We try to represent Mee Memorial and use whatever we can, but the theme was Mardi Gras, so we also had to stay with the colors,” Hernandez said. She noted the patient wristbands and syringes that formed the top of her skirt. “They’re always expecting our dresses because they know we’re going to bring it.”

Other designers included a dress by Sheryl Correa of 1st Capital Bank, the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds crew of Lynn Plew, Grace Hearne and Addison Escobar, a steampunk tin man entry by Holly Casey, Becky Giudici and Penny Barbree, and a bayou bovine designed by the Monterey County Cattlewomen Marianne Madson, Shannon Mallory and Shilah Mullins.

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Sean Roney is a freelance reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for the Salinas Valley communities in South Monterey County.


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