A night to shine Going to the Circus for this year’s concert at the North Florida Fairgrounds on Friday, February 10th, sponsored in part by the Tim Tebow Foundation, Genesis Church Will once again offer this unique and trendy Prom for individuals with special needs in the Tallahassee area.
As one of Tallahassee’s most beloved events, Night to Shine has been a virtual-only event for the past two years due to the COVID pandemic. However, in 2023, Prom is back with all the festivals that really make it a special evening for the hundreds of attendees.
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Scott Hunter, lead pastor at Genesis Church, and his executive team, Rachel Ritter and Jennifer Nunez, are excited to once again pave the way for what they call Tallahassee’s greatest show.
“Because we’re on a fairground, we don’t fight our surroundings, we use it to create the theme, the bigger show,” Hunter said. “We stage everything to look like The Greatest Showman movie, we all pull off a circus. We use all the visuals and fixtures that will make Year 9 night to shine something those in attendance won’t soon forget.”
Conversion of fairgrounds
Night to Shine’s popularity in the Tallahassee area required moving the event to the North Florida Fairgrounds. Farm buildings are converted into individual prom-theme facilities. One building is dedicated to prom amenities, allowing professional hairdressers for the ladies and shoe shines for the men.
Other amenities include puppetry and corsages, 360-degree photo booths, and even a circus-themed petting zoo! The next block will be set up for dining (courtesy of Gordo’s and Bumpa’s Local 349) and karaoke, another favorite for prom guests. The last building is the ballroom – full of lights, music and, of course, dancing.
The culmination moment of the event as each special needs guest is crowned Prom King or Queen! Everyone receives a tiara or crown as the confetti cannons explode!
Every guest of Night to Shine feels as though God sees him, the true kings and queens as they are. Upon arrival, each attendee’s name, accompanied by their designated “companion”, will be announced before walking the red carpet throughout the festivities.
On each side of the red carpet, there will be dozens of volunteers including members of the Marching Chiefs Fire Twirlers, FSU Cheerleaders, Golden Girls, FAMU Cheerleaders, Leon High Jazz Band, and more. The smiles on these guests’ faces confirm that the year of planning, extensive fund-raising, and hours and hours of prep and decorating are all worthwhile.
Register guests with special needs, volunteer
Night to Shine is a great event worthy of people. It is open to anyone with a disability, age 14 or older. However, in order to attend, each guest must register early.
The deadline to register to attend or volunteer at Night to Shine is January 31, 2023. To register a guest or to volunteer, simply visit NightToShineTally.com.
To put on an event of this caliber would also require local businesses in Tallahassee to financially sponsor the event as Genesis Church raised 100% of the $75,000 required to put on such an event. The Tim Tebow Foundation financially supports only new concerts that take place, with over 800 churches worldwide participating in this one event on the same evening.
Genesis is in its ninth year and has only been financially responsible since its third year. Also, thousands of volunteers from the community are desperately needed to make Prom happen! Volunteers have opportunities to be friends, serve food, help run karaoke, be welcoming, cheer like paparazzi, check in guests and volunteers, hang flowers, shine shoes, set up and tear down and so much more!
“Without the generous help and generosity of the Tallahassee community, Night to Shine would be impossible to wear,” Hunter said. “We maintain active social media alerts, radio weathercasts, and operate an efficient website, so we don’t lose any opportunities for an individual who would like to volunteer or donate to our event.” To volunteer or sponsor Night to Shine, simply visit the same site: NightToShineTally.com Or call 850-942-5433.
For many of us, it’s been years since we’ve experienced an in-person concert. However, the memories never completely fade away. This is the desire of the Genesis Church for individuals with special needs and those with disabilities. It is an opportunity for guests to form and share their own memories.
John Waldron is a substitute teacher for Lyon County and participates in local programs for people with special needs and children with type 1 diabetes.