Prom Gown Giveaways

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Sat from 9-5, Sun 10-4pmThis is a gallery assignment for features--need big gallery.Prom princesses on a budget will have to be more creative with finances this year.

The cost of attending the big dance is estimated at about $1,900 per couple, according to new research from prom dress retailer Golden Asp — and one of the biggest expenses for girls is their gown; $300 or more, on average.

“That price tag can put junior or senior prom out of reach for many,” says Cheryle Podgorski, co-founder of Princess and the Prom, an annual gown giveaway that offers free dresses to high school girls in need.

This year’s event, which features an inventory of more than 1,800 new and gently-used formal and semi-formal dresses, takes place April 4 – 6, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Windsor. Advance registration is required at PrincessandtheProm.org. No financial information is required, but girls must bring a valid high school ID. Attendees are assigned a time slot and can bring a friend to help them choose the perfect gown, as well as purse, wrap and jewelry.

In Southington, Kristen’s Kloset, a seasonal prom-gown giveaway program, provides dresses and accessories to Connecticut high school girls with financial need. The annual pop-up shop, open through May 10 at the Town Hall Annex, 93 Main St., stocks more than 750 gowns in a variety of sizes and styles.

Those who can afford to make a donation pay $25 for a dress; those who can’t get a gown for free. Girls can also bring a current-style gown in good condition and swap it for a different dress at no charge.

Hours are Tuesday, 2:30 to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 2:30 to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. No appointment is needed.

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