A night full of red carpet entrances and the celebration of God’s people took place on Feb. 10, 2023 when Genesis Church and the Tim Tebow Foundation held the first Night to Shine in three years at the North Florida FairGrounds. Despite the popularity and love for the event, individuals might not fully understand what it is and the meaning behind it. According to the Tim Tebow Foundation, “Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered around God’s love, for people with special needs, ages 14 and older.”
“Night to shine is so important to me,” junior Abbie Hartmann said. “It is a great way for the local Tallahassee community to be involved in the special needs community and really make in impact in their lives as well as making them feel loved and appreciated.”
The night began with a red carpet entrance for each guest and their buddies that accompanied them. Volunteers who were selected for a certain position, such as working the red carpet, would gather together to welcome and cheer on every guest as they made their grand entrance.
“Night to Shine is an awesome event and you help all types of people,” volunteer Gavin Sokolow said. “I love cheering on and seeing everybody in their nice suits and dresses as they walk down the red carpet.”
After guests entered the venue, there were several different activities to participate in, including a crowning ceremony, animal therapy, corsages and boutonnieres, limo rides, games, dancing, dinner and photo portraits.
Guests began arriving around 4:30 p.m., entering with their buddies on the red carpet. The groups then moved around the fairgrounds to different activities until 8:00 p.m. when a crowning ceremony was held. At the ceremony, Genesis Church told everyone that they deserved to be kings and queens, and awarded crowns to everyone.
After the crowning ceremony, everyone started to slowly leave, closing out the night.
“Night to Shine is one of the best nights of the year. It is just a night for special needs, and it’s not just for high school students, they are from age 14 all the way up to 90 years old,” Nella Dickens said. “It’s their night. They get to come out and feel special, they get loved on and they get to celebrate.”