By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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Well, maybe not so bad — but boring, they say.
People think there's little to no fall-fashion shopping downtown, said Janee Lyster, owner of the Sassy Kat Salon and Boutique.
So she and six other shops are joining thousands of other cities — from New York to Moscow — for Fashion's Night Out, an annual celebration of style and community.
Music and strutting — in a free fashion show — will start the event at the Elks Naval Lodge, 131 E. First St., at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Then Fashion's Night Out will fan out around downtown, with 20 businesses open late with special promotions, appetizers, beverages and sales.
Sterling Bank is the event's major sponsor.
“We wanted to show people we could do it on our own,” said Lyster, who did not enlist help from the Port Angeles Downtown Association to assemble participants.
Trisa Chomica, whose Trisa & Co. design business is upstairs from Sassy Kat, told Lyster about Fashion's Night Out, the now international event begun in 2009 in New York City by Vogue magazine and others.
So Lyster, Chomica and Marilyn Lamb, owner of the Cottage Queen boutique downtown, decided to start recruiting other downtown merchants.
“They went ahead and planned it,” said Barbara Frederick, executive director of the Port Angeles Downtown Association.
“I think it's great that they're doing it.
“It's wonderful when businesses take the initiative to plan something.”
Lyster's Sassy Kat, along with six other shops — Jewells Boutique, Necessities & Temptations, Cottage Queen, Black Diamond Bridal, Maurices and Iron Apparel, all neighbors in the downtown — will showcase scores of outfits in the Elks show.
Lyster has hired a music provider who goes by DJ Dave to keep the models moving up the runway.
And while admission will be free, patrons may want to bring something for a beverage from the Elks' bar, she added.
Doors will be open at 5 p.m., and “people can come in any time” during the hourlong fashion show, Lyster said.
The models include men, women and children, she said, and they range in age from 23 months to 72 years old.
Chomica's mother, Nancy Hefely, a former runway model in Seattle, will be among those sashaying forward.
“She can really do it,” said Chomica, demonstrating by turning on her heel and lifting a haughty chin.
All evening, Lyster and the Fashion's Night Out crew will sell tickets to a drawing for a $600 outfit created by the seven shops and another downtown business, Skin Care Suites Spa.
Proceeds from the $1 tickets will benefit Healthy Families of Clallam County.
Tickets will be on sale at the Elks and, for the rest of the evening, at the participating shops and restaurants downtown.
The eight merchants who contributed to the $600 dress package plus 12 others will be open late, some until 8 p.m. and some until 9 p.m.
On First Street between Lincoln and Oak streets, they are the Port Angeles Antique Mall, the Oven Spoonful cafe, the Next Door Gastropub, the Twisted boutique, Michael's Seafood & Steakhouse, Northwest Fudge & Confections, Fiddleheads and Rissa's Consignment Shop.
Also participating are Wine on the Waterfront and Smuggler's Landing, both in The Landing mall at 115 E. Railroad Ave.; the Cabled Fiber Studio at 106 N. Laurel St.; and Cafe New Day, which will open Thursday evening just this once. That's at least until this fall, when the breakfast-and-lunch spot will open for dinner Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Cafe New Day, 102 W. Front St., will lay out goodies to sample, perhaps to include pizzas and hot sandwiches, said John Hammond, who owns the eatery with his wife, Kelli.
Chomica, ever the promoter of a vibrant downtown, urges local residents to seize this day — and evening — to see the free show, shop, nosh and show off their own sense of style.
Fashion's Night Out is “a chance to dress up and strut your stuff,” she said, adding that this is also an opportunity to sport a little something outrageous.
“It's the night to go for it,” Chomica said.
“We want to make it even bigger next year,” Lyster added.
“Our whole goal is to support local businesses and show that we have a lot to offer.”
For information about the event, phone Lyster at Sassy Kat at 360-417-0800.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.