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After-prom hits high gear at speedway

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Horsepower and Goodyear Eagle tires were replaced by music, games and all-night laughter in the infield of Martinsville Speedway on Saturday night.

The infield was transformed into “The Stars Are Out In Central Park” for Martinsville High School’s after-prom party. Nearly 200 teenagers enjoyed music, dancing, games and prizes from midnight to 5 a.m.

After-prom gatherings at Martinsville Speedway have become a tradition for Martinsville High School. For more than a decade, the school’s junior class has held the event at the track.

“I love having after-prom, but having after-prom at the speedway is even better,” said Cassidy Agee, a senior who was voted this year’s prom queen. “There is so much to do in a fun and safe environment. There are games, a casino and many other fun activities and tons of free stuff. There are many reasons why I go to after prom, but the main reason is to have a great time.”

The event is staged each year by the Martinsville High School After-Prom Committee, a group of parents and other volunteers. Its members work with local companies and businesses to come up with funding and prizes and then set up and decorate, plus staff the event.

“This has really grown into something the students look forward to,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said of the party. “We didn’t know what to expect the first time they held it here, but the kids loved the experience and that continues today. The parents and the students do such a great job of putting it on, there’s very little that our staff has to do.

“It’s good, safe fun for the kids. It’s something we love to work with, and we hope we can keep doing it for many years to come.”

Once students enter the infield at the beginning of the after-prom party, they cannot leave and return, nor can anyone enter without a ticket.

“After-prom gives us a place to let down all of our bobby pins … well for the girls, and just be teenagers,” said Ashley Buck, a Martinsville High senior. “Not only do I have a blast each year, but it makes me happy to see the people and students who are all ‘rough and tough’ laughing and going through the obstacle course or having their hair whipped all around in the money machine.”

The after-prom party is one of many civic and community events Martinsville Speedway hosts each year. Others include the annual Martinsville Speedway Toy Drive; the Independence Day Celebration, a free event featuring live music, fireworks and carnival rides; Red Cross blood drive; the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class; and various fundraising charity walks.

“Being a good corporate citizen is an important part of what we are about here at Martinsville Speedway,” said Campbell. “We all live in Martinsville and Henry County and have a vested interest here. We want to do everything we can do to make this a great place to live.”


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