A stretch limousine pulled up to the side entrance of Second Baptist Church in Cedartown last Friday night, and local superstars stepped out for an evening of fun on the dance floor and more during Polk County’s 2020 Night to Shine.
The annual event organized locally was held at the Evergreen Lane church but hosted by Victory Baptist for the 5th year in Polk County.
Night to Shine was hosted by Victory Baptist Church this year at Second Baptist in Cedartown. This is the 5th year it has been in Polk County.
“Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older,” Amanda Bailey, who headed up efforts to organize this year’s event, said. “Victory Baptist is excited to be a part of this worldwide movement that is uniting churches of different denominations all over the world with the common goal of celebrating people with special needs.”
The event launched in 2015 with 44 host churches and 15,000 volunteers honoring more than 7,000 kings and queens of the prom. This past February, 655 host churches and 200,000 volunteers came together to celebrate 100,000 honored guests with special needs. This year, Night to Shine will be in all 50 states and over 30 countries on the same night. Locally, that allowed 129 participants to enjoy the night at Second Baptist, with 456 volunteers who took part in the event and helped numerous caregivers and family members also have a night off.
“It is awe inspiring to see how God is using the Church globally to stand up and advocate for people with special needs. I truly believe that the world is coming together through Night to Shine to celebrate the love that God has for us. Every town, every village, every state, every country needs a Night to Shine for their special needs community – a chance to be a part of something significant and life-changing…and to be blessed in the process,” said Tim Tebow, founder of the Tim Tebow Foundation,” Bailey said.
Every guest of Night to Shine entered with a warm welcome from a friendly crowd and paparazzi, taking photos and getting dressed for the evening. Volunteers helped out at hair and makeup stations, shoe shining areas, taking participants on limousine rides, and providing corsages and boutonnieres. Guests also enjoyed catered dinner, karaoke, prom favors and the dance floor.
“Each guest is crowned king and queen of the prom and walks the red carpet,” Bailey said. “The guests can also visit with our clowns, magician, craft room (sponsored by Home Depot) and our therapy dogs. Each guest and their buddy will have their official prom picture made and receive a framed copy along with other goodies to take home with them after the prom. We also want to make sure that the parents and caregivers of our guests feel loved on and have special treatment too.”
They enjoyed the opportunity to sign up for a chair massage and were provided a catered dinner. Music was provided by Nikki Shaw and local magician Justin Longshore also took part with his routine.
“Most do not realize how much it costs to put on this event each year,” Bailey said. “We typically spend around $10,000 to make sure that this night is the best night ever for our guests.”
Special thanks to help make the night possible with donations from sponsors included those Platinum level organizations that included Victory Baptist Church, Redmond EMS, Thrive Autism Counseling, Waste Industries, UNITED Tent Services, Cedartown Junior Service League, CedarChem and Holmes Clothing.
Additional thanks went out to Restoration Church, Kenny, Holly & Sugar Lemelin, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Faith Baptist Church, New Harmony Baptist Church, Longhorn’s of Rome, Frasier Lawncare, Polk County Public Service, Unified Brothers, Amazing Reglazing, Bojangles, CAI Property Services, Cedartown Automotive and Quick Lube, Chick-fil-A, Coca-Cola, Commercial Disposal, Cregg Hatch Retirement Planning, Greg & Angie Roberson, Ideal Bakery, Jefferson’s, Meat & Potatoes Management, Michelle Ruper’s State Farm Insurance in Cedartown, MW Buys, Papa John’s, Paschal Lawncare, Penny Pinchers, Rockmart Kiwanis Club, Scotty Tillery, Sherman Ross State Farm Insurance in Rockmart, Trammell Lawn Care, Westmoreland Taxidermy, Zaxby’s, Robyn Frasier, Michael & Jennifer Hatch, Peach State Ford and WGAA Radio 106.1 FM/1340 AM.