The Tim Tebow Foundation and a local church are giving Gainesville residents with special needs a royal experience this weekend.
The Grace at Fort Clarke United Methodist Church is holding the “Night to Shine” prom Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“(The Tim Tebow Foundation is) transforming Valentine’s Day weekend to not just a weekend about love and each other, but about God’s love for people with special needs,” said Kristen Thompson, the marketing coordinator for the event.
In February 2015, the international prom night took place simultaneously at 44 churches and celebrated more than 7,000 honored guests, according to its website.
Thompson said 105 guests are expected to attend the Gainesville event, which will be run with the help of up to 300 volunteers.
“The room is going to be decked out almost like a wedding,” she said. “I wouldn’t even say it’s a prom.”
Guests will arrive to welcoming fans and paparazzi on the red carpet, Thompson said, and volunteers will run a hair and nail station with shoeshine.
Chuy’s is donating food for the dinner, she said.
Grace at Fort Clarke hosted the event last year, and Christa Tarantino, the church’s mission coordinator and a UF alumna, said members of the community donated makeup products, items for goodie bags and dresses for the guests.
“That’s the heart behind the event: to make these guests feel loved and honored, and show them God loves them,” Tarantino said.