Asian culture will be on display at inaugural fashion show

nwilliams@bradenton.comNovember 8, 2012 

BRADENTON -- When the Asian Women's Club of Lakewood Ranch was reborn last October, the core mission of its new members was to educate the community about Asian culture, hold annual events to support local charities and provide funding for college scholarships for children.

Members are confident the club's inaugural Fashion Show and Luncheon this weekend will fulfill all three goals.

"It goes with the mission of our club to make a difference in the community," said Maria Cora Gaffar, club president.

The event is set for 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Michael's on East at 1212 East Ave., Sarasota. The fashion show will showcase 20 authentic garments and music from nine Asian countries that include China, Thailand, Philippines and Japan. The types of outfits range from wedding and festive, to traditional, folkloric and costume dresses, such as the Balintawak, a native Filipino dress used in folk dances and other festivals or the Qi-Pae, a Chinese garment that dates back to the Qing dynasty of the 1600s.

The lunch, provided by the restaurant, will feature Asian inspired dishes and flavors. There will also be a raffle and silent auction. Proceeds will benefit Manatee Food Bank and aid the club in providing scholarships for needy college students.

Pre-sale tickets are available at $40 for club members and $45 for the public. Reservations are preferred. The cost is $55 at the door and parking is free.

Items available in the silent auction are all valued at $200 or more and include jewelry, original paintings, photographed pieces, traditional Pakistani clothes other accessories. The raffle includes gift cards to local restaurants, the Sarasota Film Society, fitness centers and a $500 coupon for cosmetic surgery.

"I think it's going to be a fantastic event," said Cora Sanders, the club's event chairwoman.

Over the last six months, members have been searching and gathering garments to represent the various cultures. Through persistent networking and in some instances, luck, the club has created an authentic atmosphere of Asian culture, which also represents the club's diversity.

"This was a challenging undertaking," Gaffar said.

With so many cultural and artistic events in happening yearly in the Manatee area, members are confident the annual event will become a favorite.

"We have the potential," said Josie Melcher, club ways and means chairwoman.

To make a reservation, email Cora Sanders at or call 941-320-4886.

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