Kings and queens for a night

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Dill the Paparazzi man interviews Ken Dacay on the red carpet.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Joshua Iloreta and his date Allison Crha arrive at Night to Shine Friday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club dressed to the nines.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    From left, Easter Seals Kaua‘i representative Anne Hvizdak escorts Bryant Tabe, while Donna Pancho and Briann Rich-Lazaro show off their new dresses, Friday at Night to Shine Friday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Shari Pilaria shows the flowers each VIP arrival was given Friday at Night to Shine Friday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Musician Joey Charles from Maine greets VIPs at Night to Shine Friday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    Madelyn and Michael Jaimes check in guests at Night to Shine Friday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island

    From left, Cody Arashiro, Valerie McMurray, Alicia McMurray and Casey Zoppa are all smiles after their interviews with Dill the Paparazzi Man at Night to Shine Friday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort & Beach Club.

It was prom night on Friday at the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort &Beach Club.

The national event is called Night to Shine, sponsored by Tim Tebow, a former professional football player who is now a professional baseball player, through his foundation.

Tebow’s Christian faith and his parents’ missionary work have given him the perspective to give to those in need.

According to the Tim Tebow Foundation, the Night to Shine is an unforgettable prom-night experience, centered on God’s love for people with special needs ages 14 and older.

Friday marked the gathering’s sixth anniversary. On this night, 721 churches from around the world come together to host Night to Shine in their own communities. There were about 115,000 honored guests, with the support of 215,000 volunteers nationwide.

Friday night, Kaua‘i Christian Fellowship partnered up with other churches on Kaua‘i, including Lihu‘e Missionary Church, and coordinated a glamorous night in the hotel main ballroom. There were 200 guest and volunteers who attended.

KCF teaching pastor Rick Bundschuh said it’s their fourth year doing this, and it’s an important night for the special-needs community.

“Well, tonight is massively important for our community,” he said. “This is the one time in their life or year where the entire community is coming out to celebrate them.”

There were between 40 and 60 volunteers waiting by the red carpet before the buses came to drop off the VIPs. Some acted as paparazzi. Other volunteers were there to check them in, and hand out beautiful boutonnieres for them to wear on their wrists.

Bundschuh said there was a whole crew working behind the scenes with purchasing the dresses, doing hair and makeup, and making sure they all got there.

The volunteers started their day at 10 a.m. getting everything ready, and they were prepared to stay until clean up at 10 p.m. Everyone were dressed to impress, in fact that was their dress code for the night.

“After last year’s Night to Shine, the next day we began to plan this year’s event,” said KCF coordinator Vaughn Beyer. “We are overwhelmed with the community support. We had to turn away some of the requests to help. Each year it gets grander, and we are grateful for all of our sponsors and volunteers.”

To get the word out about the event, Beyer said they worked with Easter Seals and ministries like the Abel Ministry.

As the night got started, VIPs were lining up to get interviewed by the pretend paparazzi.

VIP guests Alicia McMurray and her sister Valerie McMurray were all dolled up. They just moved from Arizona, and were escorted by Cody Arashiro and Casey Zoppa.

“I am so excited to be here. This is my first time going to a prom,” Valerie McMurray said.

Her sister agreed, soaking in the glamor of the evening: “I am excited. Yes, my name is like Alicia Keys.”

Each guest got a crown and a gift bag to take home.

Easter Seals Kaua‘i representative Anne Hvizdak says she heard about the event from one of her clients.

“Donna Pancho, who is here with me tonight, heard about it through the Abel Ministry she attends,” she said. “This is such a wonderful opportunity to integrate into the community. We heard so much wonderful things about it from the other participants. So we just had to come. This is our first time.”

Everyone was excited to get their photos taken, and couldn’t wait to get into the ballroom.

“I can’t wait to dance. I want to dance with everyone,” Pancho said.

A return guest at Night to Shine, Joshua Iloreta rolled in with his scooter, his mom Emma Iloreta and his beautiful date Allison Crha, who were all smiles.

His date, Crha said, “I’m the lucky girl.”

•••

Stephanie Shinno, staff writer, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

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