Lawn chairs lined the sidewalks Saturday night in front of The Commons as parents, family and others who just wanted to observe the pageantry claimed their spots to watch Columbus combined prom attendees roll by.
It’s a red carpet of sorts, a path to the evening’s destination.
An array of vehicles began their laps around the building at 8:30 p.m., a half hour before prom’s official start. Embracing the prom’s nautical theme, some students rode in boats towed by trucks or on flat-bed trailers decorated as pirate boats, cruise ships or Tiki barges.
Creativity was rampant as other students took their lap around The Commons in modes of transportation that included an ice cream truck, a sprint car, a monster truck-style limousine, vintage cars and even a dump truck.
Jeanetta Streeter, whose daughter Dessirae Streeter is a senior at East High School, has been watching pre-prom for the past eight or 10 years.
“It’s a very special event for our young people,” she said.
Looking at the street, Streeter shouted encouragement to the students.
“That’s how you do it,” she said, waving at the prom-goers driving past.
Aaron Hanson, a senior at the Purdue University College of Technology in Columbus, came to the pre-prom festivities to watch his younger sister, Amy, a student at Columbus East.
“It’s a complete parade,” he said. “People make it energetic.”
Brian Barnes and his daughter, Haley Barnes, have been watching the pre-prom festivities for at least eight years, long before she would attend prom. Although she has graduated and gone on to college at IUPUI, Haley Barnes came back as a spectator this year.
The parade seemed bigger, Brian Barnes said, and different, in part because of the boats appearing as prom transportation.
“In ’81, when I was in school, they didn’t make as big a deal of the prom,” he said. “I think this is something they’ll look back on and really appreciate.”