They sashayed down the red carpet like seasoned pros, but these weren't movie stars, they were the special needs folks invited to the first-ever "Night to Shine" prom at the Mountainview Christian Church on Friday.
"It is very beautiful, a blessing," said Chardane, a prom-goer who attends a special program at Mt. Hood Community College.
The church welcomed more than 100 guests the evening of Friday, Feb. 10, for a fabulous and free prom, sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Mountainview, 1890 N.E. Cleveland Ave., treated special-needs partygoers 14 and older to "an unforgettable prom night experience, centered on God's love."
Night to Shine was a big production. Guests entered on the red carpet to applause from a crowd and photos from paparazzi. Miss Oregon Alexis Mather was on hand to greet guests. The dance venue was decorated in blue, silver and black balloons, and the tables were festively decorated with the same theme.
There were limousine rides, corsages and boutonnieres and prom favors. The guests wore their party best, with the ladies in gowns and some of the gentlemen in tuxedos. A photo shoot was set up for each party guest to have a special memory to take home.
The prom-goers enjoyed dinner, and dozens of bottles of sparkling cider were at the ready for celebrating. They could sing karaoke and dance, and each guest was crowned as king or queen of the prom.
One guest, Jamie, enjoyed her walk down the red carpet to great applause. When asked if Jamie was looking forward to the evening, her mother Jill said, "Oh, my gosh, yes. She will dance the whole night. She won't sit down."
Another guest, Forrest, said he most enjoyed "just the experience of being here." Noting this was his first prom, he added he was eager to join others on the dance floor after finishing his dinner.
This is the first time for Mountainview to host the event. It joined more than 375 other faith communities around the world hosting more than 75,000 party-goers at Night to Shine dances. The foundation provides organizing assistance and financial support if churches can't fund the project on their own.
Each guest was assigned a prom buddy to make sure they had a good time, a ready dance partner and were aware of all the fun things to do. The volunteer buddies were also decked out in their best party finery.
Founded by well-known professional athlete Tebow, the Tim Tebow Foundation "exists to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need," according to its website.