Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Wife and husband, Samantha Romig and Joe Romig, slow dance at the fifth annual Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Wife and husband, Samantha Romig and Joe Romig, slow dance at the fifth annual Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Annual Hope prom brings community together for ‘Spring Fling’

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Saturday, March 29, 2014 11:41pm
  • News

Sydney Adams is no longer a resident of Alaska, but still her roots on the Kenai Peninsula continue to deepen every spring. This year, she received a message alerting her it happened to be the day before the massive community celebration she started five years ago.

Adams still receives pictures and phone calls every year documenting how much bigger the Spring Fling has grown since its beginnings. The event draws hundreds of community members, who pack the conference rooms at the Soldotna Sports Center. It only continues to increase, she said.

“I am proud of where is started and where it’s going,” Adams said. “I never thought it would be this big, or more than a one time thing.”

When Adams was in high school and worked at Hope Community Resources. She became close with a deaf client.

Adams recalled the woman, who had already graduated, telling her she had never been able to attend a prom. This reality struck her so hard Adams decided to recreate prom that would also include community members with disabilities, she said.

“I wanted to make it everything, and more than any prom I’d ever been to,” Adams said. With no funds available but a big green light from Hope, she went around to the local businesses in the Kenai Peninsula Borough asking for donations.

Soldotna High School gave decorations, and a local seamstress offered some of the girls free dresses and tailoring, said Adams. Despite the overwhelming support, as the event neared, they still could not afford a venue, Adams said.

The owner of Soldotna-based Ellis Automotive asked how much was needed and wrote her a check right on the spot, Adams said. The community pulled everything off, she said.

Nicole Egholm heads up the Spring Fling production. The community provides monetary support and the City of Soldotna City Council makes an annual donation. Such assistance is what makes it possible for everyone to get in free, because a lot of the attendees have limited income, Adams said.

Everything else is volunteer-driven. The DJ and the Photographer don’t charge for their services, and food is brought in potluck-style, Egholm said. A Hope employee, Shady DeMoss, offers help doing hair and make-up the day of, Egholm said.

Decorating usually takes most of the day, she said. Volunteers from the Spring Flings other sponsors’, including Frontier Community Services and Birchwood Adult Behavioral Health Center, and some local community member’s show up to help out, Egholm said.

“Everyone does their part,” Egholm said. “Somehow it always gets done.”

Egholm, now in her fourth year of working with the event, said seeing the community excited about socializing is always heartwarming, she said.

“People prepare for weeks in advance,” said Michelle Norman, a Hope employee. “They have to pick the perfect dress.” Everyone gets excited for it, she said.

“People have busy lives and as you get older it gets harder to find ways to meet new people,” she said.

“It’s just a blast to dress up,” said Frontier employee Nikki Marcano, “We have some rockers in there.”

Marcano said it is wonderful seeing the merging of people from many different walks of life. It’s also nice to see faces from other agencies, she said.

“They look forward to it from the time it’s over, until the next one,” Marcano said.

Attendee Drew Shassetz said he loves the opportunity for people with different disabilities to come together and treat each other as one for a night. That evening he decided to sport a spider-man tie he was given from his mother.

“It puts everyone else’s tie to shame,” Shassetz said.

Joe Romig asked his wife Samantha Romig to be his date. The couple attends the Fling for the chance to see some new faces.

While a fast-paced Top 40 hit shook the speakers, the couple enjoyed some personal time on the dance floor holding hands, gently rocking from side to side in graceful circles, which Romig said is the only way he likes to dance.

 

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at Kelly.Sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com

 

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Wife and husband, Samantha Romig and Joe Romig, slow dance at the fifth annual Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Wife and husband, Samantha Romig and Joe Romig, slow dance at the fifth annual Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Jenni Giles and Patricia Davis pose for pictures at the Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Jenni Giles and Patricia Davis pose for pictures at the Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Jerry Terp concentrates on tying balloons together for the Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Jerry Terp concentrates on tying balloons together for the Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, at the Soldotna Sports Center.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Will Fournier, Donna Valle and her dog Hopeful piece together the photo-booth frame for the Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, a the Soldotna Sports Center.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Will Fournier, Donna Valle and her dog Hopeful piece together the photo-booth frame for the Spring Fling, Friday, March 28, a the Soldotna Sports Center.

More in News

Drummers perform during a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Dena’ina Wellness Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Friday, July 12, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenaitze tribe celebrates 10 years of ‘far-fetched dream’ at wellness center

Community members recognized the work done at the Dena’ina Wellness Center over the past decade

The Kenai Safeway is seen on Wednesday, July 20, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai and Soldotna Safeways may be sold under proposed Kroger-Albertsons merger

The local stores will be sold to CS Wholesale Grocers only if the merger overcomes suit from the FTC

Sockeye salmon caught in a set gillnet are dragged up onto the beach at a test site for selective harvest setnet gear in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Draft plan published for disbursement of $11.5 million in 2021 and 2022 ESSN disasters

Public comment will be accepted for the draft spend plan until July 24

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
King salmon fishing closed on Kasilof starting Monday

The emergency order is being issued to protect returning king salmon, citing weak returns

Soldotna City Hall is seen on Wednesday, June 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s city council appropriates funds for FY 2025 capital projects

Improvements are described for streets, police facility, Soldotna Creek Park and Soldotna Community Memorial Park

Gina Plank processes sockeye salmon caught on the first day of Kenai River dipnetting with her table set up on the bank of the Kenai River in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai River open for dipnetting

As of Tuesday, a total of 226,000 sockeye had been counted in the Kenai River’s late run

Assembly Vice President Tyson Cox speaks during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly in Soldotna, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 18, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly won’t pursue further discussion on tabled bed tax resolution

Members say they’re going to work on a new version of the idea this winter

Gov. Mike Dunleavy pictured with members of the House majority after signing the fiscal year 2025 budget bills, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Anchorage, Alaska. From left to right: Reps. Stanley Wright, Tom McKay, Thomas Baker, Craig Johnson, Kevin McCabe, Julie Coulombe and Laddie Shaw. (Photo provided by Office of the Governor)
Dunleavy signs capital budget with $3.7M in state funding for Kenai Peninsula, vetoes $3.3M

Roughly $90 million in federal funding also allocated to Kenai Peninsula

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man arrested Friday after 30-minute police chase

The man had an outstanding warrant for felony probation violation

Most Read