Friday, March 2, 2012

Dining in the Dark

Last weekend, we held our first ever Dining in the Dark experience.

We held it in Connellsville, Pa, among people who have been part of our fundraising for a long time.

I knew they would be up for being our guinea pigs martyrs for something new.

It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it.  We heard several people say that it was a great experience and it put things into perspective.

We had the chance to talk to all the guest and tell them more about what is happening with the foundation right now, and the research.  And we got to update them on how Finley is doing.  Many people got to meet her for the first time.

And there was laughter and tears.  When the lights went out, everyone went "oh!!"  We were able to make it so dark that you could not see your hand in front of your face.  And your eyes never adjusted to the darkness.

My mom and I and Marge Orlando had the night vision goggles and we served the whole meal in the dark.  It was fun to watch people adjust to not being able to see and coming up with adaptations to eat their meal.  They did a great job.

Some people said it was easier than they thought.  Some said it was harder.  No one got scared or had to leave.  It was great.

Will we do it again?  Hard to say.  Not because it wasn't a fabulous experience.  Because making pasta and sauce and bread from scratch took 3 days.  Because the goggles were harder to use than we first realized and we had quite the comedy fest when we tried serving the first time.

So we will see.  I am glad we did it and I am thankful to all the people who came out for the experience.  We couldn't have done it without my parents, the Orlandos and the Hornicks who helped for countless hours, made food, made baskets, helped us set up and clean up, and rolled around with us in laughter we put the goggles on and walked into everything in front of us.

We would also like to thank our event sponsors.  Our sponsors covered all the cost of the event so we gave all the profit to our foundation.  Thank you to Jess and Tom Schmitt and Cornerstone Appraisals.  Thank you to Justin Teets and the Freshman class at St. Vincent College.  And to Sally and Ben Pletcher who provided all the alcohol. :)  We appreciate it very much!  Your information was on the cards everyone got at their place settings.

Here are the pictures from the event.  I tried to take pictures of each of the groups that ate.  In the end we made $2200 with this event, and we thank you.

Enjoy the pictures!

Marge Orlando helps us pull the strands of spaghetti apart:
 The drying strands of homemade pasta:
 We looked awesome in our goggles:
The basement was our place for the dining experiences because it had the least amount of windows.  It was small, but it worked:

 Each person got a card that explained about Finley and the experience.  On the back of the card was information about our foundation and our sponsors for the event:  They also got a brailled name card and I made them a brailled book mark.  They also got a magnet:
 Mary Louise Hornick supplied the flowers for the tables:
 Our first dining experience Friday night.  They got to eat their salad before we turned the lights out.  The main course and dessert were in the dark:

 Breakfast Saturday morning.  They got to eat their fruit salad before we turned the lights out:

 Saturday night crew:

1 comment:

Blaine Clark said...

Congratulations!! When we held our first one there was a lot of fun and laughter. Our State Representative attended, and had just a bit too much fun with his mashed potatoes! Then a sighted sister of one of our totally blind members got up for a small speech and broke down. She had always wondered what her sister had gone through being blind since birth, but it wasn't until our Dining In The Dark that she had really experienced it and it was totally overwhelming for her.
We decided to go with blindfolds, that way anyone who got too uncomfortable could instantly take it off and our servers could function with full agility to dodge any flying food! I'm surprised that no one took their blindfold off, everyone stuck with it.
It's hectic to set this up, so I'll wait a bit before asking for any feedback from your checking out the Vinux/Ubuntu for the visually impaired.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!!