High Altitude Society: Project Funway continues to highlight local creativity with fundrasier for county schools | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society: Project Funway continues to highlight local creativity with fundrasier for county schools

On Saturday, creativity ruled the runway at Dobson Arena in Vail as designers and models showcased their art during the annual Project Funway.

Project Funway is a design competition featuring talented amateur designers: Each contestant is challenged to “make it work” with a design that uses any material but fabric. It’s based on the unconventional materials episode of the reality fashion design competition “Project Runway.”

Like the TV show, Project Funway also has judges. This year’s judges were Doe Browning, Matt Scherr, Laurie O’ Connell and Heather Hotard, along with “Project Runway” winner and two-time designer Mondo Guerra, who grew up in Colorado.

Longtime local Mike Johnston emceed, citing that he played hockey in Dobson Arena as a child and has fond memories of the place. Dinner was catered by Red Maple Catering, volunteers flocked the arena, the schedule flowed smoothly, and the sound and light production were excellent.

Generous sponsors made the event possible, and all proceeds benefit the mission-driven work of the Education Foundation of Eagle County, which is dedicated to K-12 education, specifically focusing on equitable access to in-school enrichment and mental health services, and efforts to recognize and retain top teacher talent.

The event, which just wrapped up its ninth run, has grown from a small venue to a big-scale spectacle. Founder Pavan Krueger had a vision, grabbed a few friends and sparked a spectacular creative outlet for so many in our community.

As the event has grown, so has the caliber of designs presented, meaning the judges’ task gets more difficult each year. This year proved to be no exception: Sighted on the runway were designs incorporating soccer balls, LED lights, pasta, Barbie dolls, iPhones, matches, books, Vail Daily pages, tea packets and burger buns.

“Thank you to all of the sponsors, guests, judges, our emcee, designers, models, hair (and) makeup, DJ, event and runway producers, film and production crew, photographers, and the most dedicated event committee that an organization can have. You are helping us advocate for the needs of our students, teachers and schools. Your impact is felt throughout our community,” said Wendy Rimel, the EFEC’s board of directors president and co-chair for the event.

“Runway” contestant Guerra delivered the Best in Show award. This year, that award went to 8-year-old Giovanni Napoli who rocked the runway wearing a design made out of straws and sported a “save the turtles” message.

“Our EFEC Project Funway committee is thrilled to have pulled off another successful event, better than ever, with sold-out floor seats, and the great addition of affordable bleacher seats which proved to be a big draw. The designs were incredible, providing a difficult challenge to the judges; the new live murals and photo booth were a big hit. We are incredibly grateful to so many sponsors, donors, attendees, and a roomful of talented artists,” Krueger said.

For more information on EFEC’s mission, ways to support and events, visit http://www.efec.org.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6gmail.com.