Anderson Cole all dappered up for his high school prom. Courtesy photo

Was prom all you thought it was cracked up to be? Looking to relive those glorious and perhaps awkward teenage moments? Perhaps you wouldn’t change a thing. Either way, there’s good news. KDNK is inviting you to a prom-themed fundraiser.

That’s right, The Arts Center at Willits (TACAW) will host KDNK’s first-ever Thrift Shop Prom event this Saturday, May 7, beginning at 7 p.m. It’s a 21 and up event (sorry, highschoolers — this one’s for the grown ups) with tasty libations and music by DJ The Guest.

“If there has been a [KDNK] prom, it’s in the history books that are hidden at the moment,” organizing guru and KDNK’s marketing and events coordinator Anderson Cole told The Sopris Sun.

Knowing that not all of its members can spend a fortune on a new prom dress or tux, and in fitting with the “déjà vu” theme, the dress code is thrift shop attire. To that extent, Cole put local second hand stores on notice that an influx of patrons may be stopping in to pick through their fancy threads.

Cole is the main mind behind the event. He came up with the idea while brainstorming with KDNK Executive Director Greg Albrecht and Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program Executive Director Beth Wysong during a recent Rocky Mountain Community Radio conference in Crested Butte.

In part, inspiration came from Crested Butte community radio station KBUT’s “Disco Inferno” fundraising event, explained Cole.

“It sounded really fun, and they said it just got so raucous,” Cole recalled. “You know, it’s simple. People don’t get an opportunity on a dance floor, where great nostalgic music plays, to just let loose, too often. We talked about how we could bring that to this valley and KDNK would be the perfect organization to put it on.”

Cole continued, “[Prom] has all this hype in high school and a lot of times it can be kind of disappointing for folks. Now that everyone has been through prom, or even if you missed prom, it’s a good opportunity to realize that it’s supposed to be fun and a night you can make the most out of.”

Cole himself had two great prom experiences, as a junior and again as a senior at Aspen High School. Still, he expects KDNK’s to be even better. He added that he’s actually been to a couple impromptu thrift shop proms since.

In fact, Cole has experience organizing backyard thrift shop proms with friends. He recalls one particular occasion in Whitefish, Montana, where he and his housemates were the hosts.

“We all took a trip to the thrift shop to see what we could find,” Cole explained. “I ended up with zebra-print suspenders, some shorts and a Hawaiian shirt.” The theme “can be interpreted anyway you want,” he added. 

Hold onto your ticket stub the night of the event for additional perks in Willits; Capitol Creek Brewery has already confirmed prom goers will get a discount.

Cole and the KDNK crew want everyone to have a great time but, more importantly, to see them get home safe. That is why RFTA has been put on notice to expect an increase of riders boarding at Willits after prom.

While everyone who’s anyone, related to someone, will be there, participants do not have to be a KDNK member to attend. Members, meanwhile, get a special discount. It’s $30 for general admission and $25 for members. Members can retrieve the discount code by calling KDNK at 970-963-0139 or emailing ahead of the event. Tickets are available online at or can be purchased at the door.

Cole and the KDNK family hope to continue Thrift Shop Prom as an annual event so that listeners and supporters can cut loose and tear up a rug in the name of community radio, year after year.