Advocate staff photo by BRYAN TUCK -- Americorps worker Kelly Faul sorts formal dresses by size and color Tuesday in preparation for this Saturday's Cinderella Project in Lafayette. Donated dresses and accessories will be free to Acadiana girls for their high school proms during this event at Blackham Coliseum.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s AmeriCorps is hosting its eighth annual Cinderella Project dress giveaway Saturday, offering about 1,000 free prom dresses for local high school students.

The event is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Blackham Coliseum.

The project seeks to give formal wear to high school students who want to go to their school’s big dance but can’t afford the average $400 price tag for dresses.

The event is open to all junior and senior high school girls with a valid school identification card. They can browse the offerings for the perfect dress along with donated shoes and accessories.

“There have been girls that have walked in and got everything from head-to-toe for free. It’ll happen again this year,” said Vanessa Adamson, director of UL-Lafayette AmeriCorps Cinderella Project.

AmeriCorps will provide minor on-site alterations to ensure the dresses are ready for prom night. All dresses are given away on a first-come, first-served basis.

There will be door prizes, including updos, makeup applications and restaurant gift cards.

There will be booths set up, including Mary Kay representatives, State Police troopers and student organizations from UL-Lafayette.

“We’ll have a lot of fun activities going on so the girls aren’t just standing around waiting for a dress,” Adamson said. “In the past, we’ve had girls show up really early, and there’s nothing more boring than standing around, waiting to get in. We’re trying to make it a fun event for them.”

With AmeriCorps chapters in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Shreveport, New Orleans and Monroe, The Cinderella Project has distributed 3,600 prom dresses to students at 84 high schools in 18 parishes statewide.