Girls from all over state line up for Cinderella experience
Belfast — Teenaged girls from all over Maine stood in a long line at Renys Plaza Saturday morning, April 5, braving the elements for the chance to find the perfect prom dress in exchange for a promise to do a good deed.
Saturday's event marked the ninth year that the Cinderella Project of Maine has conducted the prom dress giveaway that helps keep the cost of attending prom down for area families, but also encourages recipients to pay that kindness forward.
Co-chairman of the Cinderella Project committee Mandie Sawyer said the event has grown exponentially since it got its start at the Waldo County YMCA and later at Belfast Area High School. And as the news of the Cinderella Project has spread over the years, the line of girls waiting for their chance to select a dress and accessories has also become larger each year.
Saturday's giveaway, which was held in the space neighboring Scallion's at Renys Plaza, was no different.
"The line was all the way down to Makin' Waves when the doors opened this morning," said Sawyer.
Sawyer said the line started forming at the giveaway site at 11 p.m. on the previous night, and a second group of girls arrived at the plaza at around 2 a.m. Saturday.
"They were all buddies, and they just camped out," said Sawyer.
In addition to lots of local prom dress seekers, Sawyer said there were girls at Saturday's event that traveled from as close by as Benton and as far away as Gardiner.
This was the first year attending the dress giveaway for Joanna Davis of Belfast, and she came along with her friend Katrina Madore, also of Belfast.
"It was almost overwhelming, and almost kind of stressful at first, but they did a really good job of helping me," said Davis.
Madore was pleased with her friend's choice of dress.
"Watching her come out with that dress on, it teared me up. She looked amazing," said Madore.
Kiara Brickett of Benton was also visiting Saturday's event for the first time, and was busy trying on the third dress she'd selected from the racks, with a little help from her grandmother.
Rebekah Bois and her mom, Cheryl Bois, both of Jefferson, enjoyed the dress giveaway so much when they attended last year that they decided to return this year.
"And this time she brought friends," said Cheryl Bois with a smile.
When each girl announced that they had found "the dress," volunteers for the event, known as "fairy godmothers," would erupt in applause. Then, it was off to select accessories.
Also on hand to help was Pat Woodbury, who lent her services to the project making minor repairs and alterations on site. Jess Moore, a University of Maine student volunteered to assist with the project along with her sorority sisters, all of whom are members of Gamma Sigma Sigma.
"We collected dresses, and then we came down here to volunteer," said Moore, who was running a steamer over a bright blue gown to remove any wrinkles in the fabric. "I wasn't sure what to expect, and I was really surprised to see how many dresses are here."
On a dry erase board at the front of the space, each girl who chooses a dress is then invited to write down how they will pay it forward. Some girls opted to volunteer at animal shelters, food cupboards and blood drives, while other pledged to help raise money for cancer research. Other girls promised to return the dress they received this year to the Cinderella Project so that it could be worn again next year.
According to the Cinderella Project of Maine website, about 160 dresses were given away Saturday, and in total, the project has given away more than 1,000 dresses to prom-going girls throughout Maine.
Saturday, April 26, the Cinderella Project of Maine will host a second dress giveaway at Johnson Hall in Gardiner from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.
207-338-3333 ext. 109
Tanya has been a general news reporter in Waldo County since 1997.
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