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High school redo: Hundreds flock to first Gainesville adult prom on square
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Naomi Gnome and Liz Gross get their wristbands Saturday night for the Gainesville Adult Prom on the square in Gainesville. Downtown Drafts and Kim & Bagwell LLC partnered with Main Street Gainesville to host the event. - photo by Erin O. Smith

A group of women in jewel-toned evening gowns sat on patio furniture Saturday outside Downtown Drafts in Gainesville.

Their hair perfectly styled, corsages affixed to their wrists, they looked ready for prom — and they were.

Gainesville’s first Adult Prom was held Saturday night on the square, a result of Downtown Drafts and Kim & Bagwell LLC partnering with Main Street Gainesville to host the event.

A large white tent filled with dangling paper lanterns, white string lights and a silver chandelier was stationed along Bradford Street on the square, with a DJ and dance floor beneath.

Regina Mansfield, Main Street Gainesville manager, said she expected more than 200 guests in attendance.

“We really thought this would be a special night to get all dressed up and have fun dancing,” Mansfield said. “We hope this will be the first of many to come.”

The event was marketed as a sort of “prom redo,” and guests were encouraged to recreate the whole experience, from getting dressed up in formal gowns and tuxes to renting limos to arrive at the event.

Many guests flocked to downtown restaurants, including Luna’s and Avocados, for dinner before the dancing began.

Tickets to the prom included entrance to the event, a professional prom-style photo, a souvenir and discounts offered by area merchants.

Kaleigh Cochran and her date, Lucas Ramirez, said they found the event online and decided to be part of it. Cochran is a massage therapist for Tortuga Massage in Cumming, and her company offered discounts to anyone with a ticket to the prom.

“We found it online and just came out to have fun,” she said. “We’re here to have a good time.”

Song requests and dedications were submitted to the DJ through the event’s Facebook page. Music ranged from classics including the “Cha Cha Slide,” to songs likely heard at attendees’ first prom experiences, plus newer pop songs.

Adult Prom differed greatly from an average high school prom, however, in that Downtown Drafts was open for the purchase of alcoholic beverages.

Heather Opokawilcox attended the event all the way from Portland, Ore., with a friend. Her daughter came as well with a group of friends.

“She was just saying, ‘Why as adults do we not have a reason to get all dressed up?’” Opokawilcox said. “Then she called me a few days later and said, ‘I found a reason!’”

Regional events