Some things never change. The most important high school social event is still the prom, and it is still all about the dress.

Some things never change. The most important high school social event is still the prom, and it is still all about the dress.

What has changed is that girls who cannot afford to buy a dress can get one free, thanks to an organization called Fairy Goodmothers, which annually opens Cinderella's Closet to girls in need of prom dresses.

This year, up to 1,000 girls are expected to walk through the doors of Cinderella's Closet Boutique at Worthington Square.

Located this year in the former Gap store, the boutique is filled with colorful dresses and accessories, all ready to be taken home and worn out on the town.

Girls will chose from dresses sized 0 to 32, all arranged and hanging on racks, lined up by size and color.

There are long, frothy pink and blue dream dresses; slinky, strapless numbers; short, sophisticated black off-the- shoulder dresses. And lots of beading, sequins, and embroidery.

The dresses are free, as are the jewelry, shoes, bags, even scarves needed to finish the outfit.

Doors will open at 9 a.m. this Saturday, April 2. Girls are expected to line up as early as 3 a.m. Numbers for entry are handed out at 6 a.m.

The boutique will also be open Monday, April 4, 3 to 7 p.m.; Saturday, April 9, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Monday, April 11, 3 to 7 p.m.

Girls are assigned personal shoppers, and no one is admitted until a shopper is available. That holds off the mob potential.

Girls can try on several dresses, make their choices, then add accessories.

"We try to make it feel like a boutique shopping experience for the girls," said Fairy Goodmother chairman Jill Fergus. Last year, more than 800 dresses were given away, and only a handful of girls did not find what they wanted. One thousand dresses are ready to go this year.

Girls need only show a valid high school identification card. No proof of economic need will be required.

Many of the girls come from Columbus, and from other districts as far away as Chillicothe and Akron. More and more, the girls come from Worthington, Dublin, Olentangy and other suburbs.

"Hard times impact everybody," Fergus said.

Most of the dresses are donated by girls and their mothers. They come in all year round, and are stored at the mall, though the organization is working with a moving company considering helping out.

A few stores also donate dresses or jewelry, and Fairy Goodmothers holds fundraisers to collect enough money to add to inventory.

They must buy several larger sized dresses, which are in high demand. A company sells larger sized dresses valued at $300 to $400 for $30 each.

Fairy Goodmothers was founded seven years ago when five central Ohio friends were on a shopping trip to Chicago. They heard about that city's Glass Slipper project, and decided to start a similar organization in Columbus.

This will be the sixth annual Cinderella's Closet, and the third held at Worthington Square.