The second annual Miami University Best Buddies fashion show and Karaoke drew a crowd of friends and family members to the Brick Street Bar, 36 E. High St., Sunday afternoon.
Best Buddies is an international organization that pairs college students with people who have intellectual or developmental disabilities. The goal is to promote one-on-one friendships, employment and leadership, according to Elly Hunter, organizer of Sunday’s event. The Miami chapter, founded in 2004, now has about 300 members and 100 matches, she said.
The Miami group draw partners from Oxford, Middletown and Hamilton, the organizers said. Members keep in touch with their buddies at least once a week and meet in person at least twice a month.
Sunday’s show was designed to increase community awareness of the disabled, said Callie Gnam, one of the group’s members.
“I think the definition of this fashion show depends on each person, and I think everyone has their own unique style, like make yourself happy,” Gnam said, as the background music played and the performers practiced their moves backstage before going on.
Freshman Flynn Erickson and his partner, Tommy Klee, were participating in their first fashion show.
“I will say this is my first fashion show,” Erickson said. “Definitely, Tommy has done great this past year. He is the expert of fashion, and he is pretty fashion-conscious guy."
Half an hour later, all the performers had finished showing off their style. The Best Buddies then offered up impromptu Karaoke numbers, along with free pizza for the audience.
“This year, we had 30 people to join the fashion show, and we have 20 volunteers to help us. So, we have a lot of support this year,” said Rebecca Wolf, another of the event organizers. The number of participants and the size of the audience was about double what it was last year, she said.
She thanked Miami, and local businesses T.J Maxx, state of Love, Apple Tree, Juniper and Leeli and Lou for supporting the event with donations and fashions.