Big hats, big hearts

Haven Society fundraising event to encourage the wearing of chapeaus at Parksville event

Donna Dash (left) Gwen Acres (far right)

A Big Hat Fashion Show and Lunch is being held on Sat., Feb. 4 at Parksville’s Quality Resort Bayside, with proceeds going towards programs offered by the Haven Society — an organization that helps families in the community who have experienced violence.

Joanne Whitman, who is organizing the fundraiser, said the date of the event is significant because it is on the weekend of the Super Bowl. She said statistics indicate that on Super Bowl Sunday there are more cases of domestic abuse in North America than on any other day of the year.

The Haven Society in Nanaimo has been promoting the safety of women, children, youth and families since 1978. Every year over 2,500 women and children in the mid Vancouver Island area seek support to deal with issues of abuse and violence.  Its programs provide everything from shelter to emotional support, counseling, advocacy and court accompaniment. Abuse comes in many guises and leaves deep marks whether it is physical, emotional or sexual.

Working in the school system, fostering dialogue, participating with community partners is all part of the Haven strategy and crucial to effective change on violence issues.

Although the cause behind the Big Hat Fashion Show and Lunch is serious, the event is all about fun according to Whitman. She said guests are encouraged to wear a hat — the bigger the better.

“It doesn’t have to be a fancy hat … and you don’t have to wear one … but it’s more fun if you do,” agreed Whitman.

She added there will be door prizes and a contest for the best hat.  The fashion show will be presented by Mercedes Lane and Whitman said at last years event the fashion show was a big hit.

“Last year we had people buying clothes right off the models.”

Helping behind the scenes at the event will be Lauriedawn Trippell who works at Mercedes Lane.  To say that Trippell is a hat lover is an understatement. She said she has at least 25 hats that she has collected from around the world.

“I started wearing hats in the 1980s when Princess Diana was huge,” she stated.

One of her favorite hats came from New Orleans but she admitted at one point she thought the red hat made of horse hair and antique ribbon might never make it on to her head.

She spotted the hat on a trip to New Orleans with her friend Ted Jolda, a local glass artist.  She didn’t buy the eye-catcher from the prestigious hat makers Fleur de Paris and regretted it when she got back home. She said Jolda knew how much she had loved the hat and he secretly ordered it, but then hurricane Katrina happened.  That was back in 2005 and she admitted they never thought they would ever see the hat but eventually it arrived and she said it has been one of her most prized possessions ever since. You don’t have to be a hat lover to attend the event which includes a lunch prepared by the talented chefs at the Bayside Bistro. Only 50 tickets are available and they can be purchased for $25 at Mercedes Lane at 119 Craig Street in Parksville.

 

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