In the age of making it work, eateries are partnering with parents to put on proms

An organization is bringing proms back for some Oahu students, transforming restaurant venues

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Many school-related events have been canceled due to the pandemic, but proms are happening this year ― even without the support of the DOE.

At least seven Oahu restaurants are opening their doors to proms.

A group called Hi Prom 2021 is organizing events, including 53 By The Sea, Chef Chai, Pearl Country Club, Gyu-Kaku, Queen Kapiolani, Tiki’s Grill & Bar, Wolfgang Steakhouse and Sugarcane.

“This is basically wedding professionals that haven’t been able to work coming up with an idea of putting our professionals to work to help the kids have an experience that will be memorable for them for years to come,” said Julie Aragaki, event planner and co-organizer of Hi Prom 2021.

Organizers say the proms will operate under city restaurant guidelines. 53 By the Sea will have up to 75 attendees with a maximum of six per table, masks, served food and photos.

“We are doing a more Oscar-type of event, where kids can get dressed up,” said Aragaki.

For Kalani High School senior Brycen Yamaguchi, it’s a been a tough year with online schooling.

He went to a small gathering at a home last year after prom was cancelled so he’s looking forward to prom at the Pearl Country Club this year.

“It’s kind of exciting. For my friend group, we’ve only seen each other two or three times in the past year and a half,” said Yamaguchi.

His mother, Sue Tabbal-Yamaguchi, is also a floral designer who runs Su-V Expressions, and will be making boutonnieres and wristlets for attendees at the Pearl Country Club.

“I’m just glad to see it all come together for the kids to really enjoy,” she said.

Event planner Jez Feria is organizing prom at the Pearl Country Club with 100 attendees and eight per table.

“We are not going to have a dance floor, but the students are able to dance by their tables,” said Feria.

“The students are still going to be wearing their mask and trying to social distance when they are dancing,” he added.

“I really feel confident that all the kids will be safe and of course, we need the parents help as well,” said Aragaki.

She hopes it’ll be something special students can cherish.

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