Dining in the Dark is held in velvety darkness with interludes of light–you enjoy your appetizer in complete darkness but have a choice of eating your main course and dessert ‘with your eyes’ or while using simulator glasses and blindfolds. This simulation in vision impairment allows your sense of taste, smell, and touch to take over; you savor sensuous tastes, smells and textures, while challenging your palate to tease out the mysteries of the menu. Dining in the Dark is also a fundraiser, back by popular demand, in support of Lighthouse services for people who are visually impaired and blind.
What a wonderful 2018 Dining in the Dark experience! On February 10, 2018, at the Silverthorn Country Club, 130+ guests gathered to Dine in the Dark and support services for the blind. This year’s Dining in the Dark included a wonderful meal, a selfie contest, a silent auction, no-peeking violations, and of course, dancing. Many of these activities were done in the dark, or while wearing special glasses to simulate vision loss caused by various eye conditions. This year, we had a special treat—guest violinist Hailey Skoglund played her violin during the reception and dinner, thus enhancing the overall Dining in the Dark experience. Hailey is a gifted and visually impaired high school/college student who has used Lighthouse services to increase her independence.
In addition, at the event, we presented the Bright Light Award to the very deserving and talented photographer, J. David Wright, who helps nonprofits, including the Lighthouse, tell their stories through expert photography; we heard from 2 guest speakers with a strong understanding of vision impairment and Lighthouse services—Audrey Flege, a parent of 2 visually impaired children who are meeting their developmental milestones with the help of Lighthouse’s Early Intervention, and Gigi Citarella, a visually impaired woman who used our Independent Living Skills Program in the 90’s in order to develop the adaptive skills needed to care for herself, her children, and her home. The Hernando Sheriff Office’s SWAT team was also presented with an award of appreciation for their support of the Lighthouse, and for guiding our Dining in the Dark guests safely in the dark using night vision.
Guests of this year’s event told us many things. Many said they have great respect for people who are blind because it is very challenging to eat salad without sight. Some said, even with instruction, it was very difficult to find their beverages and use cutlery with confidence, because they normally relied on their sight, and not their sense of touch in order to eat. One visually impaired person said she is happy her family had the Dining in the Dark experience because while they live with her and her vision loss, they really don’t understand what it’s like to not see or to not see well. In general, the consensus was life would be very different without training to cope with having less sight.
Happily, this year’s Dining in the Dark raised more funds than in previous years, as more people became aware of the event and of the work of our Lighthouse. The event’s proceeds will help the Lighthouse provide training for independence to people who are visually impaired and blind of all ages. Fundraisers such as Dining in the Dark, and the Chasco Coronation Ball being held on March 9, are extremely important every year, but this year, we also will building a new facility in New Port Richey, with a ground breaking on March 15, 2018. Learn about our new home and ways you can help with our legacy. Also, please support Dining in the Dark’s list of generous sponsors and donors.
See an independent video taken at the event by Ferdi Works TV Network.