A fashion-forward event Sunday night aimed to raise needed support for new playground equipment at one Lakota elementary school.

A fashion-forward event Sunday night aimed to raise needed support for new playground equipment at one Lakota elementary school.

The inaugural Fashion at Play event was hosted by Heritage Elementary’s Parent-Teacher Association at Cincinnati Marriott North in West Chester Twp. The mix of men’s and women’s fashions with a silent auction and gift basket raffles had organizers aiming to raise an additional $10,000 to replace outdated equipment at the school of 530 students.

“We need to get together as a community to help our schools,” said Laurice Hootman, PTA co-president along with Jackie Eckles.

Hootman said so far this year, $20,000 of the $40,000 goal has been raised for the new equipment. She said the plan is to replace three pieces of playground equipment more than 20 years old with one larger piece of new equipment at the Liberty Twp. school.

A possible rendering of the new playground includes two slides, several monkey bars and climbing areas. Hootman said the installation will take place in early June after school lets out for summer break. Lakota Local Schools is contributing $25,000 for a rubberized surface to replace the existing gravel.

“The pea gravel is hard to run around on and dusty,” Hootman said.

Heather Trautman of Liberty Twp., who’s leading the playground committee, said she’s been working over the past seven weeks to organize the fashion show fundraiser. Men’s fashions were from President Tuxedo at Bridgewater Falls in Fairfield Twp., and women’s yoga fashion and boutique styles were from Pure Barre in Oakley and Sloane Boutique in Over-the-Rhine.

“Cincinnati came up to help our community and they’re awesome people,” Trautman said.

Models included Lakota West High School Principal Elgin Card, Lakota’s Chief Operations Officer Chris Passarge, a handful of Lakota teachers and Cincinnati Bengals mascot Who Dey.

Jeff Miller, of West Chester Twp., attended Sunday’s event to support the school where his wife teaches special education. He said his wife, Debra, modeled evening wear from Sloane Boutique.

“The (playground) is pretty rough with lots of old wood,” Miller said of the existing equipment. “The rendering has a little for everyone.”

Trautman said it was after her fifth-grade son Ethan came home from school one day and shared about the need for a new playground, that she and husband Eric donated $4,000 toward the cause.

The parent-teacher group also received $10,000 from the Cincinnati Bengals as part of the NFL Play 60 program to increase children’s physical activity, as well as $6,000 from a walk-a-thon to support the cause. Those interested in donating can email ptaheritage@gmail.com.

Hootman said the hope is to make the fashion show an annual event that other Lakota schools can use as a fundraiser for their building needs.


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