CANTON – The fashions have changed in the last 59 years but the excitement for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Fashion Show has not.
An inaugural event of the Enshrinement Festival, the fashion show has grown from 300 guests to nearly 3,000.
After the gathering was canceled in 2020 and modified in 2021, guests on Friday were welcomed back to the indoor format, including a sit-down lunch, at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.
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“After two years of uncertainty … there is no more fitting theme than ‘Toasting to Tradition,'” event chair Jill Hetrick told guests. “This (event) is shared among generations of grandmothers, mothers, daughters and friends.”
This year’s show featured fashions for men, women and children from boutiques and national department stores.
Host Stephanie Haney, digital anchor and legal analyst for NBC 3 in Cleveland, emceed the event. Returning to Canton during the Hall of Fame festivities and seeing the blazers, she said, means she is home.
The 2003 Perry High graduate served as a 2005 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival Queen’s Court.
Haney was joined by 2003 Washington High graduate DJ Freddy B as he spun tunes throughout the show.
The crowd was also treated to a performance by the “other kid from Akron,” two-time Emmy nominated musician Kofi Boakye, who performed on the keyboard and melodica.
Hall of Fame Fashion Show carries on the tradition
Bea McPherson served as the first chair of the inaugural fashion show in 1963. She co-chaired the event two years later.
Via video, the 100-year-old told guests in the early years the event was held at the Onesto Hotel and Canton Jewish Community Center before it found its way to the Civic Center.
Back then, committee members asked wives of the enshrinees to model the fashions from downtown Canton stores, including the Parisian.
For the first time in several years, the wives, daughters and other family members of the Class of 2022 enshrinees modeled fashions as they were introduced to the crowd.
“We were on a shoestring budget,” she said, but no one would know.
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They could not afford elaborate table centerpieces so committee members sought floral arrangements from local funeral homes.
A ticket cost $3.50 and 300 people attended the first event.
“It’s wonderful to see the popularity (of the event) grow over the years and continue to carry on the tradition,” McPherson said.
Families, friends return year after year
Andrea Severyn enjoys the family tradition. The North Canton resident has been attending the event for at least 25 years with her mother, Anna Marie Wilson.
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“It’s so special,” she said. “It’s exciting to have our own event for the Hall of Fame. Other events are geared towards football.”
The fashion show has become a reunion of sorts, Severyn added. She loves to catch up with other guests.
“It’s all the same people (year after year),” she said. “I look forward to seeing their faces.”
This year, Severyn’s friend Charlene Wise joined Severyn and her mother.
“It’s very exciting,” the Canton resident said before entering. The pair were taking in the shopping offered at the pop-up shops hosted by 720 Market.
According to their website, 720 specializes in creating unique and curated, special events at various venues around Stark County as a way to support local businesses.
The pop-up shops had everything from fresh flower arrangements to bedazzled walking canes.
“It’s a really good opportunity to get my brand out there,” said Becky Lile, owner, designer and maker at Oakwood Avenue.
Lile handcrafts jewelry out of clay, wood and leather. She sells her creations online.
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Marissa Hollinger, and her husband, Sean Connelly, brought their fresh flower arrangements to the market from their sustainable flower farm and event venue Magnolia Spring Farm. They frequently take part in the 720 Market events.
“I really like doing these. They have a lot of different vendors than other farmers’ markets,” Hollinger said.
Severyn and Wise picked up bouquets from Magnolina Spring Farms and were making their way around to the other booths to see what they could find.
While shopping, guests enjoyed a photo booth and a mimosa bar.
Severyn said the market was a nice addition to the event. She only wished she had more time to shop. The pop-up shops were open from 9 to 11 am, when the doors of the Civic Center opened. The shops were only available to those with a ticket to the fashion show.
Reach Amy at 330-775-1135 or [email protected]
On Twitter: @aknappINDE