MARYSVILLE — With its change of venue from Arlington to Marysville the third annual prom dress exchange and second annual accompanying fashion show on Saturday, April 20, bolstered the previous years’ numbers of dresses, shoppers and models.
“Last year, we had 10 models who were all from Arlington,” said event organizer Emily Peterson, who noted that this year’s models numbered five from Arlington, four from Marysville, two from Lakewood and one each from Darrington and Stanwood. “We also had a little more than 125 prom dress shoppers this year, and close to 200 people overall, including parents and other family members, who came from Darrington and Everett and everywhere in-between. That’s about double the attendees from the previous year.”
Also double the previous year’s totals were the nearly 500 dresses collected this year, an estimated 125 of which left with new owners on the day of the exchange.
“Another 50 or so are going into storage for next year’s event, and the remaining 325 are going to Kids’ Kloset in Arlington to be sorted,” Peterson said. “We work hand-in-hand with Kids’ Kloset so that many of the dresses they store and keep we’ll have access to again next year, as well as the ability to allow girls to borrow dresses year-round for formal events. Any dresses remaining after that are going to a similar dress exchange event that happens in Tacoma.”
Peterson explained that Arlington and Marysville businesses sponsor this annual event to assist parents of high school seniors as they struggle to cover the costs of formalwear and cosmetics for all the social and career occasions that are slated increasingly close together as graduation approaches.
“Not only are we able to collect hundreds of dresses to gift to those in need, but we’re also able to partner students with local businesses that can provide services at discounted prices, sometimes even for free. These young ladies and gentlemen also get a chance to participate in a photo shoot and fashion show, which is an opportunity many of them will never get otherwise and, again, the businesses who help make this happen are incredible.”
Peterson deemed this year “fantastic” and cited the numbers of students who return to volunteer and donate to the event, as well as the families who continue to spread the word about it.
“By keeping this a close grassroots type of event, we’re able to work directly with the young women whom we’re helping,” Peterson said. “One hundred percent of the costs to put this event on are raised or donated within the planning committee — and I estimate that at $7,000 easily — so 100 percent of any donations received for the event are donated to Kids’ Kloset to support its ‘Prom Closet’ year round. If it wasn’t for the businesses, there is no way this event could happen.”