A night at the prom

Drew Butler

High school students across the nation were disappointed this year after many proms were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is certainly the case here in southern Oklahoma. While some area schools, such as Marietta, have rescheduled their proms for later this summer, the majority will not be hosting the event. Fortunately all area teens will now have the opportunity to attend “A Southern Oklahoma Prom” on July 11 thanks to local business owner Lori Clinton.

Clinton, who runs Uptown Formal Wear in Ardmore with her son Joseph, came up with the idea of throwing a community prom when her business was closed due to the pandemic.

“I was sitting at home for six weeks, and I knew all the proms were getting canceled,” Clinton said. “Since then some have come back and having them later on, but a lot of schools are not. So I put the idea out there to see if people are interested, and I’ve been getting a lot of response.”

After receiving positive feedback, Clinton began making arrangements for the event. The prom will be taking place inside the former Walls building courtesy of James and Kim Thompson, owners of Thompson Square.

“I reached out to the Thompsons about it, and they offered the old Walls building as a venue,” Clinton said. “We’ve already had the fire marshal come out, and we know what we need to do, so we’re taking the right steps. As the building stands now, we can only have 80 people because there are only two bathrooms, so the Thompsons are bringing in one of the huge portable units with air conditioning and running water for everyone.”

In the month leading up to the prom, Clinton will be cleaning and decorating the building. She also has security, a photo booth and a DJ lined up for the event.

“I’ve got a really cool DJ with lots of lights and a big sound system coming in,” Clinton said. “I got the biggest thing they had because I want to be able to utilize the whole building.”

Tickets for the prom will go on sale on Saturday at Uptown Formal Wear located at 2105 W. Broadway, Number 38 in Ardmore. They will be available for $30 through July 10, and will cost $40 at the door the night of the event.

Ticket sales will be used to pay for security, the DJ, the photo booth and table and chair rentals. Clinton is hopeful other community members will get involved to help with other expenses like door prizes and food.

”I would love to get community involvement and help from local businesses to make this a really special night,” Clinton said. “I know times are tough, but even donating ice or a couple 12 packs of Dr. Pepper would be great. A few places have already offered some gift baskets for door prizes and snacks, but anything would be extremely appreciated.”