dress sale
Paige Hoke sorts through racks of gowns that will be available during the Gown, Dress and Costume Sale at DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre in York City (Amy Peiffer - apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com)
DreamWrights offers the chance to shop for the dress of your dreams

The second floor of DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre holds a secret that Artistic Director Diane Crews is hoping gets out.

Past the dark blue front doors, up the wooden stairs and around the corner is a dizzying array of colorful silk, taffeta and lace that nearly fills the walls floor to ceiling as far back as the eye can see. Petticoats hang like billowing clouds above dresses on long racks, and the occasional sequin catches the light overhead.

Crews said for the past seven years the theater has been holding a gown, dress and costume consignment sale - once a year around homecoming, and a second time each year around prom. The sale gives the community the opportunity to browse through the numerous racks DreamWrights holds, while also giving those with unwanted or unused gowns and dresses the opportunity to consign them and make a donation to the local theater.

How it works: Anyone who wants to consign an article of clothing - for instance, an old prom dress that has been hanging in a closet long after its owner has graduated from high school and moved out - may bring the item to DreamWrights for consignment. The donors make a donation to the theater and keep the money the item sells for.

Who shops: Crews said the event is a great opportunity for anyone looking for a dress for a special occasion who may otherwise not be able to afford the high cost of a new dress. Many of the dresses are priced between $5 and $25, and most are not over $40, she said.

Behind each dress, she said, is a story. She pulled a rack of wedding dresses out and said the history of some of those dresses was sad, but added that seeing a bride find her dress - a dress she might otherwise not be able to afford - was sometimes a highlight of the sale.

"To see a bride find her dress," Crews said, "That's just so exciting."

Many of the dresses, she said, are from well-known designers and some even have original price tags still attached - price tags that are over $500. While some are modern dresses, Crews said there are many vintage and unique items that are difficult to find anywhere else.

New this year: The theater has added new days and times this year to accommodate the schedules of high schoolers preparing for testing, Crews said. She said she is also excited to offer several racks of men's items this year.

"We have a few two-piece suits and some very nice three-piece suits," Crews said. "There's a whole rack of jackets, too, and they just have such a great vintage look some young men would love."

Crews said the event is not only a great way to find well-priced special occasion clothing, but is a lot of fun for shoppers.

"We have girls that take 20 dresses back to try on and just have so much fun with it," Crews said.

The theater has spacious dressing rooms available for both men and women. Crews said several volunteers help with the sale and model some of the dresses throughout the event.

"It's always more fun to see what the dresses look like on," she said.

-- Reach Amy Peiffer at apeiffer@yorkdispatch.com.

If you go

DreamWrights will offer a large selection of special occasion dresses, gowns, costumes and men's wear during its consignment sale.

The DreamWrights Gown, Dress & Costume Sale kicks off from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 14, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre, 100 Carlisle Ave., York.

Drop-off hours for consignors are from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, March 13.

Information: 717-848-8623 or www.dreamwrights.org.