Ladies browse 175 dresses

PLYMOUTH — It didn’t take a fairy godmother to make area high school girls’ dreams of wearing the perfect gown to the prom this year a reality. It just took the idea of a Tri Kappa member and the hard work of many others.
Plymouth’s Beta Delta chapter of the local women’s philanthropic organization, Tri Kappa, held its second annual Promenade To Prom event Friday evening at LifePlex. Members of the Tri Kappa raided their own closets and sought out donations from the community to find the 175 gowns displayed, with each only costing $10 to prospective buyers. Co-chair for this year’s event, Shelly Heiden, said girls from all over the county were invited to the event, but did have to show a school ID.
“Last year, one of our members began talking about how it was a waste to have gowns from her daughter’s high school days just hanging in the closet,” Heiden said, and from there, they began thinking about ways to recycle the gowns, most of which had only been worn one time.
Both last year and this, Heiden estimates they outfitted more than 50 girls.
“Girls love to go cruising for the best dress and this was one place to see 175 gowns at one place and have fun with their friends,” she said, adding Tri Kappa is especially thankful for the donations from the community.
She said there were door prizes donated from area merchants of restaurant gift certificates, jewelry, tanning sessions, manicures, boutonnières, and more.
There were also several community partners willing to advertise the event. The Pilot News volunteered its front window to display gowns on mannequins while City Center held two “live mannequins” nights to show off a variety of styles. Girls modeling the dresses at City Center were from the drama department and speech and debate team of Plymouth High School.
Jim Vinall of City Center said he will also be preparing special prom dining entrees for $10 on April 30 for those attending the PHS prom.
“We hope that this is one way to keep prom goers in town to celebrate,” he said.
Heiden explained broadcasting students from PHS filmed the models and aired the film clips on the school announcements; Fernbaugh’s Fine Diamonds and Jewelry became a collection site for those wishing to donate gowns and Mewsettee Cartwright, instructor from the LifePlex Dance Academy, was on hand Friday night to give lessons and tips on formal dancing.
Cartwright held a three-hour session at Surfin’ PHS as well, where couples could practice steps before the big night.
Heiden said Tri Kappa is grateful to both Xaver Cleaners and Price’s Village Valet Cleaners for dry cleaning the gowns at a much reduced cost.
“The $10 price paid by the girls was used to cover the cost of cleaning,” she said.
Alterations to make sure the gowns would fit perfectly were also done by several experienced seamstresses in the community at no charge.
Heiden said, “This is the type of event that is an on-going gift since the gowns will likely be recycled many more times,” co-chair Samantha Murray said. “Most girls want to be a princess for the night.”