Nine-year-old Richard Kreisher held up a tall, long prom dress above his head as his cousin and mother browsed through hundreds of other dresses.
Felisha Miller, Richard’s cousin, was shopping with Richard’s mother and siblings for a dress to go to the Elmwood High School prom with her boyfriend. Saturday’s shopping event, Prom Dress Extravaganza at Owens Community College, was put on by the Owens Raising Awareness Club and Springfield High School Academic Boosters.
“I’m helping her find a dress,” Richard said. “It is going to be hard.”
Owens received the dresses through donations in the past month, and some were left over from last year’s sale. All the dresses were priced between $5 and $20; some of the dresses had price tags from the shops they came from that were around $200 and more.
Owens’ Raising Awareness Club is made up of students. They focus on bringing attention to a variety of issues and causes, including cultural differences and disabilities, among others.
Josh Widanka, vice president of the club, said they had about 400 people walk through for the event last year and most left with a dress, some with multiple dresses.
Richard was among mostly mothers helping their daughters find a dress. But there were a few fathers, boyfriends, and other family members involved in the effort as well.
Kris Lewis of Holland helped his girlfriend find a dress for them to go to prom together at her school in Flat Rock, Mich. He was not shy sharing his opinion.
“I do what I can do. I’ll tell her, ‘No, it doesn’t look good,’ if I don’t think it does,” Mr. Lewis said. “I never went to prom in high school, so this will be my first prom.”
His girlfriend, Julia Williams, was excited to bargain shop because they had previously wanted a $180 dress. The couple found a dress from David’s Bridal in the selection that was listed for $10.
Terricka Mathis and her mother came home from a spring break vacation in Columbus early to make the sale.
“I only get one prom,” the Whitmer High School senior said. “This [sale] helps my mom.”
Girls just weren’t shopping for prom dresses.
A group of eighth graders from Swanton schools made an event out of it with their parents. They were getting ready for their eighth-grade formal and stocking up on dresses for high school dances in the future.
“We started [Friday] night with the girls first trying on each other’s dresses and then came here early this morning to find more,” said Birdie Litten, mother of two of the six girls in the group. “It is so fun, we are going to get breakfast together after.”
When Becky Litten and her friend Sara Turner were asked how important dress shopping is, they both explained the many things that buyers must look for in a dress, including “color, how long or short it is, looking classy, how it flows with your hair, and that your skin looks good with it.”
Kara McCloskey, president of the Raising Awareness Club, said about 20 girls and their parents were waiting at each door at 9 a.m. when the sale opened. She said it is one of the club’s two big fund-raising events of the year.
“Girls always remember prom,” Ms. McCloskey said. “It is a night for them to feel pretty and beautiful and we want to give a chance for underprivileged girls that can’t get dresses.”
Contact Matt Thompson at:firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-356-8786 or on Twitter at @mthompson25.