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Merlene Davis: Still holding on to that old prom dress? Now's the time to give it up

Sheri Estill, left, director of crisis care at The Nest, waved her magic wand over interns Ellen Kaiser, Taylor West and Jessica Stickrod, who modeled donated dresses. The Nest needs more prom-appropriate dresses for its Bippity Boppity Boutique event Saturday.
Sheri Estill, left, director of crisis care at The Nest, waved her magic wand over interns Ellen Kaiser, Taylor West and Jessica Stickrod, who modeled donated dresses. The Nest needs more prom-appropriate dresses for its Bippity Boppity Boutique event Saturday. Photo provided

It is not often women in Lexington can be fairy godmothers, but this is one of those occasions.

Remember in the story of Cinderella how the fairy godmother suddenly appeared at the last minute on the night of the grand ball and helped the forlorn girl get all dolled up to meet the handsome prince?

Well, you have just one day to do the same thing for a young girl who can't afford the trappings necessary to attend her prom.

The Nest Center for Women, Children, & Families will be hosting the Fifth Annual Bippity Boppity Boutique on April 11; girls who can't afford to buy a dress and accessories for prom night may have their pick of about 100 gently worn gowns for the special evening.

Sheri Estill, director of crisis care at the center, said the event was postponed a week because of the Final Four and Easter. Unfortunately, that put the opening of the boutique on the day of prom for two high schools in Fayette County and one in Scott County.

So time is very, very short to not only make more girls aware of the event, but to plead to have more plus-size gowns donated.

Estill sent notices to local high schools about the boutique and had a lot of interest, she said. Nevertheless, she is unsure of the number of girls who will come to the boutique but is prepared to help all who do.

"Prom can be very expensive," she said, noting the cost of a dress, shoes, hair-dos, manicures and the like. Add to those expenses the cost of tickets, which are $40 to $50, and prom can become an unrealized dream.

The boutique event began five years ago when a parent asked Estill if there were any programs that helped with prom. When Estill called around, she was told no.

"Because someone told me no, I started calling my friends asking for gently used prom dresses," she said.

This will be the fifth year for an event Estill has promised she would never do again. But each year college interns have stepped up to carry some of the load that she had borne alone, and the event continues to grow.

This year the boutique, open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will be at Tower on Main Event Centre, on the 15th floor of the Chase Tower overlooking downtown Lexington. A professional will help the girls coordinate their make-up with their chosen gowns, and each girl will have her hair done free on the day of her prom by stylists at Paul Mitchell The School Lexington.

The dresses will be on racks, and each girl may try on whatever catches her eye. There also will be donated shoes and other accessories, plus door prizes and swag bags. Parking is free in the Chase garage.

"We need more sizes," Estill said. "We have schools and parents asking for plus sizes."

The dresses can be cocktail style or still-modern prom dresses, or bridesmaid dresses.

Donations should be dropped off Thursday and Friday at The Nest, 530 North Limestone.

If you have a gown in the back of your closet, The Nest would love to have it.

This is a good time to let it magically create new memories for someone else.

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