The Biddeford Ball, a beautiful blend of creative energy, philanthropy and community, brought over 400 guests to Saco Mill #4 on June 18 to party, play and give a little something back.

And did I mention the fashion?

“We’ve come to every single one,” said Diane Noble of Hills Beach in Biddeford, who attended with her husband, Kyle. “It’s a great chance to see the mills as they’re being renovated. It’s great to see this whole area coming alive!”

As the queue wound around the building, which is in the midst of its upgrade, guests trickled in, decked out in shades of black and tan, from Bermuda shorts to full-length cocktail dresses, and promptly had their photos taken.

Then it was onward, into the vast expanse of art displays, a paint-by-numbers mural, food and drink stalls, a huge dance floor with the otherworldly DJ Babyblu and a fantastic runway reminiscent of New York Fashion Week.

“As we shaped the initial Biddeford Ball, it became about so much more – community, history, future and joy,” said Roxi Suger, who founded the event with her husband and business partner, Julian Schlaver. She is also the designer behind the Angelrox clothing line and owner of Suger boutique in Biddeford.

“As it evolved, it has become even more about the community itself and a way to bring folks together, build bridges over old divides and help great causes. We have also enjoyed being able to showcase amazing mill spaces before they are divided for modern mixed use,” Suger said.

Scott Joslin, the chief operating officer of the Pepperell Mill Campus in Biddeford, enjoyed the ball with Christie Underwood of Peaks Island, Maureen King of Kennebunkport and Marc Feldman, chief operating officer of Think Tank Coworking.

“An event like this helps to put Biddeford and Saco on the map, culturally speaking,” said Joslin.

Matt Chappell, owner of Gather in Yarmouth, took it all in with Wendy Polstein of Portland’s Press Hotel.

“We think Saco-Biddeford is the place to be,” said Bob Hamblen, city planner of Saco, who attended with his wife, Jane. “These old mill cities are unique and fun to rehabilitate, and they generate a lot of excitement by developers.”

“Julian and Roxi are extremely dynamic,” said Alan Casavant, mayor of Biddeford, who attended with his wife, Patti Jalbert. “They’re originally from Brooklyn, New York, and Biddeford is called the new Brooklyn. They wanted to mix philanthropy and community service and improve the quality of life. They use their creativity and energy to make things happen.”

And then there’s that runway. At the stroke of 9 p.m., DJ Babyblu shifted his sights and his mashup to the long expanse of concrete floor lined with chairs. The lights went down and guests were treated to a peek into the world of high fashion as over 50 models sauntered out wearing designs from Maine makers like Angelrox by Suger, Nuthatch by fourTwelve, Sea Bags, L.L. Bean (boots), Chart Metalworks and more.

All that energy and heart helped to raise over $20,000, which will be shared by Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Mainers Feeding Mainers and local food banks.

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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