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'A Night to Remember': Lakes Area Vineyard Church will host first-ever special needs prom April 13

The Vineyard Church in Detroit Lakes is hosting a prom for people with special needs April 13. (Adobe Stock Art) 1 / 2
The Lakes Area Vineyard Church in Detroit Lakes will be hosting its first-ever special needs prom this spring. Submitted Photo2 / 2

After hosting a successful outreach event two years ago, the Lakes Area Vineyard Church decided they wanted to do something special for the special needs population in the area once again. Last time, it was a bowling party but, this year, they've kicked up the fancy and decided to host a special needs prom at their church on the evening of April 13.

Andi Knudsvig, the pastoral assistant at the church, says church members were trying to decide how best to celebrate people with special needs, when they stumbled upon videos of proms hosted for people with special needs. She says, at that moment, they knew this was the event they wanted to do "just to love and celebrate these people really well."

Right now, Knudsvig says the event is in the planning phase. She has partnered with the Becker County Developmental Achievement Center (DAC), and they are currently accepting clothing donations. Anyone who would like to donate dresses, tuxedos, shoes, and accessories for the event can drop them off at the DAC, and the honored guests will be able to stop by and "shop" for their outfits on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

On March 30, the donations will be moved to the Lakes Area Vineyard Church, where people will be able to continue to drop off donations, and guests will be able to shop there from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays.

The church also plans to have tailors handy for pieces that don't quite fit right but, if none of the donated options work for a guest, it's no problem. Guests are invited to simply "dress their best" and enjoy the night.

Knudsvig says invitations will go out this week to places like the DAC, but all area people with special needs who are teens and older are invited to RSVP online by April 1. (An event has been made on Facebook. It's listed on the Vineyard's page). The event is free for the honored guests and includes a whole evening's worth of activities.

The event starts at 6 p.m. on April 13. For the first part of the evening, the guests will get checked in and paired with a host. (Guys will be partnered with guys and girls will be partnered with girls). From there, the guests can go through the "stations" to get hair and makeup done. The girls will receive corsages, and the guys will receive boutonnieres. They can have their photo taken and play carnival games, until a limo (or party bus) arrives to take the group on a cruise around town. Once they return, they will be fed a variety of pizzas and mini cupcakes for dinner, and the evening will end with a big dance party in the church's auditorium, which will go until 9 p.m.

Knudsvig says they are currently accepting applications for hosts. (The link is also on the Vineyard's Facebook page.)

"We will need a host for every honored guest who comes," said Knudsvig, adding that anyone who is interested can apply, whether they are a church member or not.

All hosts will go through a background check and need to attend a day training.

As for family and friends attending the event, they will be invited to join in a "paparazzi" team to take photos and "cheer on" the honored guests as they make their way down a red carpet after the limo or party bus ride.

Guests are also not encouraged to bring dates. The goal is to allow guests to have a night out to party, have fun, and engage with other hosts and prom-goers.

(Exceptions will be made for caregivers for guests who need continual monitoring).

In addition to clothing donations, Knudsvig says they are also still looking for donations for the event, whether they are from a business who wants to donate flowers, limo or party bus services, decorations, or money to fund the event. She says donors will be featured on Hollywood stars as part of the decor.

For more information about the event, people can contact Knudsvig at andi@myvineyardchurch.com.