MANATEE -- Local Future Farmers of America and 4-H students donning plaid, camouflage, denim and leather strutted down the runway Saturday night at the inaugural Under the Stars -- Keeping Students Wearing Blue fundraiser.
Proceeds from the event will benefit scholarship funds and club expenditures for the Palmetto High School FFA and Lincoln Middle School FFA Alumni organizations.
Ranging in age from 5 to 18, kids modeled clothing they picked from Tractor Supply Company, a sponsor of the event.
"Each will have their own style and cuteness shining through," said Julie Tillet, Palmetto High School FFA adviser.
The organizations sold $8 dinner plates while the Bradenton Junction bluegrass band played music. WCTQ broadcast live from TSC's parking lot, 4404 State Road 64 E.
"It was one of those things you wake up with at 3 o'clock in the morning," said Tom Lewis, president of the Lincoln Middle School FFA
Alumni, who thought of the idea for the fashion show.
Tillet helped bring the idea to life.
"It's all about the students. We took the idea and ran with it," Tillet said.
The organizations hold only one other fundraiser during the year -- Dinner at Carrabbas -- and are hoping Under the Stars will become a popular annual event, Lewis said.
Students helped set up tables and chairs and served food before going through wardrobe changes in the dressing room.
"It took a lot of work getting everything out -- a lot of planning and a lot of people," said Tyler Harper, a senior at Palmetto High School and FFA president. "It took a lot of teamwork."
Hadley Hattaway, aseventh-grader at Lincoln Middle School, and Kristi Vole, an eighth-graderat Palmetto Charter School, are both members ofthe Cream of the Crop4-H Club. They were the first models on the runway.
"I'm nervous, but excited too," Hattaway said.
The fashion show was good practice for Vole, who will be competing in the Manatee County Fair Pageant next week.
"I was excited. I had never done anything like this before," Vole said.
The girls practiced their walks, smiles and gestures prior to the show.
Some students became nervous when they realized they would be walking along the flatbed trailer turned red-carpet catwalk alone.
Tillet gave the boys and girls a pep talk, reminding them they are alone with their animals in the show ring.
"You guys are the cho-sen few," Tillet said. "Youall represent agriculture in Manatee County. You're beautiful inside andout."
Elizabeth Johnson, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.