The Columbia Parks and Recreation Adapted Sports Department hosted its third annual "Say Yes to the Dress" event at Columbia's Activity and Recreation Center. Individuals with disabilities were given the opportunity to select a dress for the Night to Shine Dance held in February. People from around mid-Missouri came to try on donated dresses and jewelry from Cinderella's closet and community members.
The Crossing hosted a very special evening for individuals with special needs on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020. Night To Shine, the annual prom night, is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. Guests attending the prom night were welcomed on a red carpet walkway and greeted by a crowd of paparazzi. The night was complete with hair and makeup stations, shoe shines, limousine rides, corsages, and boutonnieres, a catered dinner, along with a dance floor and DJ. At the end of the evening, each of the VIP guests were crowned prom king and prom queen. According to the foundation’s website, Night To Shine 2020 was hosted by 721 churches across all 50 states and in 34 countries. The impact was felt all over the world. But in Columbia, guests raved about the “EPIC” event. “It’s been the night of my life,” attendee Donna Fullington said. “I have waited all year for this moment and I am happier than ever.”
Women search through a rack of dresses on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at the Columbia Parks and Recreation Adapted Sports department's annual "Say Yes to the Dress" event at the Activities and Recreation Center. This is the third year the organization has hosted the event. Cinderella's Closet and community members donated dresses for individuals with disabilities to dress up for their dance. "It's really amazing to see these girls light up and feel truly beautiful," Assistant Coordinator Emma Barnes.
Kathy Vanderslice, left, holds her daughter Betsy Vanderslice, 17, at the 'Say Yes to the Dress' event on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at the Activities and Recreation Center. Betsy is unable to walk independently and has trouble trying on new clothes. But she knew this was her dream dress upon seeing it for the first time.
Joyce Sims tries on a maroon gown at the "Say Yes to the Dress" event on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at the Activities and Recreation Center. Sims was overwhelmed with excitement and screamed in joy as she walked out of the changing room.
Donna Fullington hands off her dress to a volunteer at the 'Say Yes to the Dress' event on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020, at the Activities and Recreation Center. "It is everything I could have imagined," Fullington said. "I am as happy as a little tree bird."
Donna Fullington applies lipstick as she prepares for the Night to Shine dance Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at her home in Fayette. Fullington has been looking forward to the dance all year. “I have never been so nervous and excited as I am right now,” Fullington said.
A crowd cheers for the guests as they arrive at the red carpet Friday, Feb. 7 at the Night to Shine dance at The Crossing in Columbia. "This night is for them," paparazzi member Tricia Tonnies said. "We want to make sure they feel as celebrated and special as they truly are."
Faith Jones arrives at the red carpet in a pink sequined dress carrying a red rose Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at the Night to Shine dance at The Crossing in Columbia. She was escorted by Davonte Reedea. "I have never seen her so happy and beautiful," Reedea said.
Christopher Mussatt receives a white boutonnière from event volunteer Betsy Borsheski on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at The Crossing in Columbia. Every guest was given a corsage or boutonnière upon arriving.
Emily Chenoweth, left, and Christopher Mussatt dance Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at the Night to Shine dance at The Crossing in Columbia. “I got the moves,” Mussatt said.
Donna Fullington smiles as she walks onto the dance floor Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at the Night to Shine dance at The Crossing in Columbia. Fullington picked up the skirt of her peach gown and stepped onto the dance floor with confidence.
Maddy Darling dances Friday at the Night to Shine dance at The Crossing in Columbia. “Tonight, her smile is brighter than all the lights in this room,” one of Darling’s friends said.
Molly Wampler dances with her father Ryan Wampler on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, at the Night To Shine dance at The Crossing in Columbia. Molly belted the hit Frozen song “Let It Go” as her father spun her around the dance floor.
Gary Jackson looks to the light show in awe after being crowned one of the prom kings Friday at the Night to Shine dance at The Crossing in Columbia. “I am the king,” Jackson said. “Now I just need to find my queen.”