As a hodge-podge group of parents, teenagers and community members trickled toward the picnic tables outside The Station on Tuesday evening, they had several important discussion topics in mind — decorations, DJs and high school royalty.
Over the course of about an hour, the small group with members from all over Callaway County formed committees to help achieve their goal of making sure local juniors and seniors don't miss out the quintessential high school experience of prom.
"School was canceled just after my daughter and I went dress shopping for prom, and I know she and other students were looking forward to that special night," Nancy Hanson said.
Hanson wants to make sure her daughter has the chance to wear that dress, even if she has to plan the prom herself.
"Several schools did get to have a prom, but some were less than what they had planned, some still haven't happened yet and some were canceled altogether," Hanson said.
At 8 p.m. July 31, Hanson and her fellow dance-planners will host "Essential: A Callaway County Prom" at 54 Country.
"With the climate of some of the current events around the country, I also believe a Callaway County prom is a great way to lay aside cross-county rivalries and come together as a community," Hanson said. "We have all been through a bizarre year, to say the least."
Until then, the planning committee will meet at 6 p.m. every Tuesday evening at The Station.
"Anyone who is excited and wants to help and can recruit others to help are welcome," Hanson said.
Any county student who just completed their junior or senior year of high school is invited to the prom. To cover the costs of throwing the event, the committee is selling tickets for $10 online.
One volunteer has already set up a Facebook event page. At the last meeting, the committee tossed around the idea of asking big businesses who haven't taken as much of a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic for help with funding.
"We would love to have sponsors or donations to cover costs but realize this would be a tough time to ask for funds," Hanson said. "However, if 10 people donate $100, all of our costs would be easily covered."
The committee is still figuring out many of the details. Currently, they hope to recognize prom courts from each county high school, as well as to crown a king and queen chosen from event attendees. The group is also looking for a photographer.
The group is concerned with safety — if the pandemic worsens, plans will change.
"I'm hoping this event will launch and be such a success and a great way to bring our whole community back together," Hanson said. "Of course, if things with COVID-19 get worse or directions change, we will change course as well."