PORTLAND – Pink leis and black high heels were the fashion accessories of choice at Friday night’s Dash of Diva: Girls’ Night Out event at the Holiday Inn by the Bay.

More than 1,000 women turned out for the annual night of shopping, cocktails, makeovers, massages, live music, dancing and lots of photos.

The event was hosted by MaineToday Media, publisher of The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. Women paid either $30 for an exclusive early admission pass or $25 for a general admission ticket. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Hardy Girls Healthy Women, which works with girls to give them the critical thinking skills and knowledge to drive social change.

Entertainment included two fashion shows, along with performances by comedian Karen Morgan, ’80s cover band The Awesome, dancers from Red Hot & Ladylike and Naya’s Trance belly dancers. A few lucky divas had the chance to have a reading with spirit messenger Vicki Monroe.

“It’s really great and there’s so much going on,” said Wanda Kane of Old Orchard Beach.

“It’s a fun night for the ladies to come out and have a good time,” said Tap Fitzgerald, community relations specialist for Hannaford, a sponsor of the event. “A lot of these ladies are our customers, and the event benefits a great organization.”

In addition to handing out whisks and fresh fruit, Hannaford served up samples of its Tastes of Inspiration sparkling lemonade, imported from France.

With a $5 donation to Hardy Girls Healthy Women, attendees could enter two tasting rooms. Members of Maine Roller Derby volunteered as bouncers at the entrance to each tasting room.

“Our mission is to help out at any sort of charitable event that benefits women and girls,” said Amy Martin (aka Punchy O’Guts), co-captain of Maine Roller Derby’s Port Authorities.

The Hardy Girls Healthy Women charity is a particular favorite of the team. On Nov. 19, Maine Roller Derby will host a bout in support of the nonprofit, starting at 5 p.m. at Happy Wheels in Portland.

Inside the tasting room on the first floor, Pinnacle Vodka attracted a steady stream of party-goers. The lure was a shirtless Tyler True. Anyone could have a free photo taken with True, as long as they didn’t mind it showing up on Facebook after the event.

“I got roped into doing this a couple months ago by my mother, Dinah Aldrich, who is a Zumba instructor,” True said.

But he didn’t seem to have any complaints about the assignment.

The chance to let loose with girlfriends and female relatives was one of the party’s big draws.

“It’s more casual, it’s more friendly, it’s more open than if you were at a (co-ed) mixer,” said Trish Weimer of Westbrook.

“When you’re with women you can just kind of be,” said her friend Connie Clouatre of Westbrook.

“I love celebrating womanhood and I think that is one of the greatest parts of this event,” said Courtney Spencer, the outside advertising manager for MaineToday Media. “It’s women coming out to have a good time and support local businesses.”

And sip the Pink Stiletto, the party’s signature cocktail, created by Sonny’s Restaurant and Bar in Portland.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila