GREENFIELD — She waltzed down the runway with a beaming smile and perfect posture. Her shoulders back, her chin held high. The picture of beauty and grace.
Olivia Scott can remember well a time when she approached this walkway at the 4-H Bowl more timidly. Ten years of practice gave the 18-year-old more confidence, she said.
And as she strutted that line for a final time, taking home the grand champion ribbon in Sunday’s Consumer Clothing Fashion Revue competition, she couldn’t help but to laugh a bit at the thought of how much she’s changed.
More than 30 young people participated in this year’s Fashion Revue, held Sunday evening at the 4-H Bowl at the Hancock County Fairgrounds.
For the competition, 4-H’ers purchase and assemble outfits (or stitch together in the case of the sewing division) to be modeled for a crowd of onlookers. Participants presented their projects to a panel of judges last week at Trinity Park Church, and winners were announced Sunday at the fairgrounds.
It’s practice for the real world, participants say: fashion revue teaches 4-H’ers to be smart and savvy shoppers, all while helping to build their self-esteem.
Scott, a recent graduate of Eastern Hancock High School, wore her senior prom dress in the evening formal wear competition. The long, mermaid-style dress with its ruby-red fabric and sliver sparkles caught the judges’ attention and wide-eyed looks of wonder from the contest’s youngest participants.
She walked off the stage just as a throng of little girls — mini 4-H’ers taking part in their first fashion competition — climbed the stairs to take her place, each wearing their own favorite outfit.
“I used to be so nervous going into this contest every year,” Scott said, just as the first mini 4-H’er’s name was called on stage. “But it helped me grow a little more each year.”
Audience members, recognizing that growth, offered both encouraging cheers to the young competitors who shuffled apprehensively down the runway Sunday and claps of admiration to the seasoned veterans who had mastered the competition.
Interacting with the mini 4-H’ers is part of the fun of Fashion Revue, participant Madison Clutinger said.
The 16-year-old has participated in Fashion Revue for the last seven years, and she remembers what it was like watching and learning from the older participants. Now, she tries to treat those younger competitors with the same kindness she was shown, whether it’s to zip an outfit or share a reassuring smile, she said.
Fashion Revue, with its formal and casual wear, can offer a nice break from other dusty and dirty fair activities, a chance for female 4-H’ers to trade their boots in for dress shoes for a few hours.
For the young lady 4-H’ers, it’s a chance to show their more feminine side, 14-year-old Addison Hill said — a stark contrast to some of the other competitions they’ll take part in during fair week.
“I was showing pigs, then came straight over here,” she said with a laugh.
Don’t forget: The Daily Reporter fair scrapbook, a keepsake edition including the names of all 4-H project winners’ photos and other fair memories, will be published July 29.