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Night to Shine in Bethlehem

Red tuxedo jackets, sequins, professional make-up, fancy hair styles and shined shoes, and smiles mixed with loud music all meant a lot fun for the special needs folks attended the prom-themed dance party Feb. 10 at the MusikFest Café in Bethlehem.

The annual Night to Shine event was back with 644 honored guests and volunteers.

The Village People’s “YMCA” was one of the many fun songs that had young and old out on the dance floor.

The annual event was reprized after a two-year COVID-induced hiatus. This year’s production was at Steelstacks, a move from its previous venue in Allentown location at the Palace Center.

Riverbend Community Church in Allentown, near the Lehigh Valley International Airport, was the host and organizer of the Night to Shine event, which is sponsored the by the Tim Tebow Foundation.

“For us, it is an opportunity to bring our community together, to remind ourselves how valuable they are. They are often forgotten and neglected,” said Pastor Joe Velarde, the energetic young spiritual leader of the church.

This gala would not happen without the support of a legion of volunteers. From traffic control to limousine drivers to ticket takers, all are working as a well-trained team.

“It’s important because my youngest son is a special needs boy,” said volunteer Cynthia Kwant of Triple Sun Spirits. “I love doing this kind of stuff.”

She said her son is too young to attend the Night to Remember Prom, but she wanted to come and help.

Also volunteering were the “Buddies” or “the dates” who escorted each honored guest, that ranged from 14 years to 99.

“It’s a prom for people with special needs,” said Monica Tramontina, an official with the Riverbend Community Church, which organized the event along with The Vine Calvary Chapel of Schnecksville.

Whitehall’s Balance Hair Salon’s Susa Wedderburn and Ingrid M. Gomez helped get the guests’ hair prom-ready. Joel Flammer of East Coast Hair Co. also styled hair for the prom guests. Graphic artist Jessica Deegan of D’Huy Engineering also assisted the professionals.

Volunteer hair stylist Joel Flammer of East Coast Hair Co. works on the tresses of Daneille K. Daneille's volunteer “Buddy,” Kim Millward of Hellertown, said, “We both go to Riverbend Community Church and we became friends.”
Volunteer Jessica Deegan works on Trisha B.'s hair as “Buddy” Deb B. of Northampton watches. “I knew how much fun she would have,” said Deb B. “I wanted to to be a part of it and volunteer. It's fun to go out and do something so good.”
Volunteer Mark Tramontina shines the shoes of Nate from Bethlehem. Nate's mother, Amy, accompanied him. “He's excited about the food, the party, ad the music,” said Amy.
Miss Pennsylvania Tween Evangeline Vasiliadis puts on her beauty queen tiara to help welcome guests at the Night to Remember Prom. Her mother Stephanie said her daughter will next month compete in America's National Teenager Scholarship Organization.
Tara Dellicker and Tom Dellicker from King of Prussia posed in front of the “celebrity backdrop” for a memento of the prom.
Ty from Bethlehem enjoys the evening as he dances in his red sports coat.
Nate and his mother, Amy, share a fun moment on the dance floor.
Taking a pause in their fun, Jordan, Alexandria, Steve, Lauren and Fatima pose for the camera.
Volunteers Lisa and Mike Basara hold welcome signs to greet arrivals at the annual prom event. “We do it to give back,” said Lisa Basara. “We have a son with special needs These events are great. We want to keep having them.”
Tara Dellicker gets a red carpet style welcome to the 2023 Prom sponsored by the night to Remember organization.
press photos by douglas graves A dance floor scene at the Night to Shine Prom held at the MusicFest Café.