Whether it was in stilettos, sling backs or slippers, dozens strutted their stuff Saturday at the 10th Annual Sassy Shoe Social at the Brazos County Expo.

The lighthearted runway party that celebrates fashion accessories is a fundraiser for Phoebe’s Home, a nonprofit that provides domestic violence victims with emergency shelter, counseling, meals, transportation and recreational activities.

While it is now an annual four-hour event hosting 400 attendees and dozens of runway walkers, the social was first created as a much smaller fashion show between a group of friends, according to Sheree Boegner, event founder and sitting director of the Sassy Shoe Social nonprofit. She said she realized a gathering of this kind could be used for the greater good and raise money for a charitable cause. So, the next year, Boegner and others began collecting shoes and clothing to donate to the those who benefit from services at Phoebe’s Home.

“I’m involved in many nonprofits, and it was hard to pick one,” Boegner said. “When Glenda Hoon Russell, a friend of mine, started talking about Phoebe’s House, I said that would be great, because so many of my friends went through domestic violence situations themselves. ... The stories I hear from [participants], we do a lot of healing on the runway.”

The project continued to grow through the years, and in time the Sassy Shoe Social was able to raise the funding to create a multi-use playroom and an outdoor playground for children being sheltered at Phoebe’s Home. This year, Boegner said the Sassy Shoe board of directors hope to raise the remaining $12,500 of $25,000 needed to fund the completion of the playground’s ground surface and a protective canopy. Fundraising through the event was conducted via ticket sales, sponsorships, a live auction and designer purse raffle. The main draw to the event, the runway contest featuring fabulous shoes, was free for anyone to enter, no matter the style of shoe.

Silvia Olson of College Station, a motocross racer, stood out from the crowd by wearing her motocross boots and gear. In past years, she’s walked in golf shoes and a golfing outfit, and in light-up sneakers.

“It’s really fun,” she said. “It’s great to be up there on stage, and I personally enjoy it. I just like the entire atmosphere, with the community getting together and bonding. It’s a great way to meet new people and see new faces.”

Sarah Christian of Bryan donned her hot pink Converse sneakers with a black-and-white polka dot dress. This year was her first to be on stage.

“It just seemed like fun, and it’s a really good cause I wanted to participate in,” she said. “I think it’s really important to donate time and money to things that support women in the community.”

Katheryne Warren of Bryan, first-place winner and “queen” of the 2017 runway, walked with her friends Beverly Walker and Jewel Flenoy on Saturday. The three, who are members of the Red Hat Society’s Sassy Dolls Brazos Valley chapter, stepped on stage in unison while wearing purple and red dresses, red hats, accessories such as feather boas and shiny dress heels on their feet.

“Sassy Shoe benefits the families displaced because of domestic abuse, and Sheree Boegner is very good at getting people to support [Phoebe’s Home],” Warren said. “I love to dance and I love music, so I just have that sense of freedom on the runway.”

For more information on the annual event, visit sassyshoesocial.org. For more information on Phoebe’s Home, visit www.twincitymission.org/domestic-violence-services.

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