Last Wednesday night, the Maple Grove Community Center was the sparkling backdrop for the Back to School Teen Fashion Show—an annual event hosted by Maple Grove Parks and Recreation Department and The Shoppes of Arbor Lakes.
With a few hundred visitors, 56 volunteer teen models and outfits and 32 sponsors, the event was a success. And after months of planning, Maple Grove Parks and Recreation Youth Outreach Coordinator Tanya Hilger couldn’t be happier.
“I think the kids who volunteer to model really enjoy it,” Hilger said. “Most of our models have an interest in fashion, and they recruit their friends and siblings to join in the fun.”
Unlike professional modeling events, Maple Grove’s teen models sign up for the show and are selected on a first come, first serve basis. If the applicants are between the ages of 12 and 18, they can walk the runway and debut an outfit selected by a local store.
“We usually approach retailers in early May and ask if they want to be a part of the event,” Hilger said, reflecting on the show’s planning process. “Not all stores that get involved are exclusively from The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes.”
For high school student Courtney Johnson, this year’s event marked her fourth appearance in the teen fashion show.
“I always have such a good time,” Johnson said. “I love getting dressed up - it’s exciting.”
A senior at Wayzata High School, the teen fashion show gives Johnson an outlet to express her love for clothing and design. Plus, Johnson recruits friends and family to watch the performance. This year, Johnson strutted down the runway in a black cocktail dress from David’s Bridal. And though Johnson is a veteran to the event, volunteer models don’t need to have any experience to participate.
The night before the show, last year’s Miss Minnesota International and the reigning Miss Minnesota International—the emcees for the event—gave the teen models tips on how to stand, walk and pose. During the event they introduced models and described their outfits.
Fifty-six models debuted back to school fashion which included skinny jeans, legging and boots combinations and one shoulder dresses. Two raffles provided intermissions for models and a chance for guests to win prizes from sponsors. Raffled items included gift cards and baskets from Let’s Dish, Brothers Meat and Seafood and Dicks Sporting Goods, among other retailers and vendors.
Clothes weren’t the only highlight of the night. Little Ceasars Pizza and Qdoba provided food samples to guests and professionals from P.C.I. Academy offered hair and makeup services to models prior to the show. Plus, Maple Grove Ambassadors greeted guests and passed out free goodie bags full of coupons to local retail stores in preparation for back to school shopping.