The sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, in the Zion Lutheran Church basement, at 120 S. Spring St. in Palmyra.

Families poured into the basement of the Zion Lutheran School basement on Wednesday, Jan. 24 to donate or sell dresses, shoes and glimmering accessories for the popular 8th Annual Prom Dress Resale event.

Word is spreading about the event well beyond Palmyra, said event chairman Nancy Goellner. She said that visitors in 2017 brought more than 400 dresses for proms, pageants, formals and casual events, and the first evening for the 2018 event attracted steady crowds beginning at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Numerous local families have made the sale a tradition, and a growing number of visitors have traveled dozens of miles to participate in the annual event that raises funds for sanctuary renovation efforts at First Christian Church in Palmyra.

Goellner and fellow volunteers looked over dresses with visitors, verifying the size, design details and the seller’s desired price range. As the variety of dresses and accessories expands each year, the fundraising event continues to reach more patrons and sellers.

Billie Henry, of Carthage, Ill., made her first trip to the popular sale after she heard about the event from a co-worker and Palmyra native. After she saw a Facebook post, she brought five dresses to the Flower City to sell. She said she looks forward to getting the chance to sell her dresses at a discounted price.

“I think it’s nice to be able to offer your dresses for a lot lower price than you’d get them in stores, because they’re super expensive; and also get them out of the closet,” Henry said with a laugh.

Rhonda and Joe Boyles traveled an hour with their three-year-old daughter, Kacey. She received a special surprise as she examined her favorite dresses on the racks.

“She just walked over, and started looking at the sparkly dresses and likes to feel them,” Rhonda Boyles said. “Yvonne came over and let her try it on, and offered for her to have it.” She said the heartfelt gesture made her teary-eyed.

“It was just very touching to me. She was excited to see herself in the mirror with the sparkly dress. It was very kind of them to do that.”

Paula Maples said this is her third time coming to the event, and 2018 will be second year she has sold dresses. She said she has two daughters — one who has graduated and one who is in high school. She said it’s exciting when girls from Palmyra and other communities react when they find the perfect dress.

“We get people from other towns coming here and looking around and selling also,” she said. “It’s a great way to get along.”

Goellner said she feels grateful for Zion Lutheran School reserving their basement for the event, along with Sunday School rooms as dressing rooms. She said people even brought dresses to her job and to a meeting before the official drop off began, and I Do Bridal donated 44 new dresses for the sale. She said the event has blossomed from its modest inaugural year with about 100 dresses.

“It just amazes me how it’s grown,” Goellner said.

She said previous funds helped with initial rewiring work. That task expanded into a full renovation for the sanctuary, with new carpet and pews joining restoration efforts for woodwork, walls and the ceiling.

“We’re doing this for the next generation,” she said.

Goellner said she is eager to witness special moments during the sale each year.

“What I look forward to most is watching the girls try on dresses, and just to see them look so beautiful,” she said. “It’s just to see the excitement on their faces when they find that perfect dress. It’s all worthwhile.”

The sale will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, in the Zion Lutheran Church basement, at 120 S. Spring St. in Palmyra. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/pg/First-Christian-Church-of-Palmyra-1812187189001505/events/?ref=page_internal or call First Christian Church at 573-769-2504.

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com