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Lighthouse event tickets on sale

By Staff | Feb 17, 2015

Attendees will be able to taste, touch and smell their food. They just won’t be able to see it.

Tickets are now on sale for The Lighthouse of Southwest Florida’s fifth annual Dining in the Dark fund-raiser to be held at the Cohen Center Ballroom on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University on Saturday, Feb. 28, from 6 to 10 p.m.

Dining in the Dark 2015 will have a masquerade gala theme, with guests encouraged to come disguised for an elegant evening that will offer a unique sensory experience of taste, sound and touch, all in the dark.

The highlight of the evening will be a gourmet meal enjoyed in a dimly lit room while blindfolded.

“You learned how to walk with a cane, now you learn what it’s like to be a blind person who has to eat,” said J. Mitchell Haley, Lighthouse spokesperson, referring to how people with sight walked blindfolded across the U.S. 41, Pine Island Road intersection during the organization’s open house.

Haley said those doing it for the first time need not worry, since Lighthouse will walk you through the process. Think of the episode of “Happy Days” when The Fonz loses his sight temporarily.

“You’re looking down at your plate and they’re explained the “clock” system. Your protein might be at 6 o’clock, your starch is at 2 o’clock and your vegetable is at 10 o’clock,” Haley said, with items outside the dish being at different positions.

Diners will work their way around the plate with their fork and knife so they can locate their food, Haley said.

There are some who will “cheat” a little, and others who make a game out of it, such as Larry’s Pawn Shop.

“They will show up at their table all dressed in white. They will have a contest to see who has the most stains,” Haley said. “Most people are cautious and it becomes an event for them.”

The event will feature raffles and live and silent auction prizes, including vacation trips, artwork, jewelry, theater and dinner packages, spa sessions and more.

There also will be an open bar as well as DJ music and dancing.

All proceeds will go to benefit the clients programs of the Lighthouse of SWFL which serves more than 400 individuals from infants to seniors with vision impairments or blindness in Lee, Hendry and Glades counties.

Haley said he hopes the event will raise up to $50,000 for the Lighthouse.

A special guest emcees for the evening will Haley and NBC2 anchor Rachel Pierce.

Tickets are $150 per person and can be purchased online at www.lighthouse-swfl.org, click on events or at the icon on the bottom of the home page. Tickets can also be purchase by calling 997-7797 or by emailing mhaley@lighthouseswfl.org.