Chautauqua Blind Association Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Dining in the Dark


The Chautauqua Blind Association celebrates their 10 th Annual Dining in the Dark on Friday, March 27 at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron, NY. Dining in the Dark is a unique experience of eating without seeing. Starting at 6:00 p.m., guests are invited to socialize, enjoy a cash bar and bid on silent auction items. Dinner seating begins at 6:30 p.m. where each guest will be blindfolded prior to being led by a sighted guide to their table to enjoy a 3 course meal.

During the event, the Chautauqua Blind Association will be announcing the Dr. Tim Grace Sight for Success Program. “The Chautauqua Blind Association has been providing free vision screenings throughout Chautauqua County for over 40 years,” says Lisa Goodell, executive director. “We have historically identified 14%-16% of the children we screen to be experiencing vision problems and we began to notice that those same children were identified year after year as not passing the CBA Vision Screening and not receiving treatment for their vision problems. To address this situation, we created the Sight for Success Program in 2019. Following the untimely death of Dr. Timothy Grace, many individuals made donations and memorials in Tim’s name, asking that their donation reflect Tim’s passion of improving the eye health of our community. The perfect partnership was formed by combining Dr. Grace’s vision of eye health and the Chautauqua Blind Association’s Sight for Success Program. Therefore, at the 10 th Annual Dining in the Dark, the CBA Sight for Success Program will become the Dr. Timothy Grace Sight for Success Program.”

Inaugurated in 2017, the Louise Tefft Award has been given to community members who have greatly supported the Chautauqua Blind Association’s mission of enabling visually impaired people to be active members of their community and to provide education and services to prevent vision loss. “Louise was a client of CBA for over 25 years and attributes all of the services she received from CBA to the fact that she was able to remain independent, in her home, for her entire life,” says Lisa. “This year’s award recipient will be Kathy and Tim Grace. Kathy supported CBA for many years including being an instrumental part in the Chautauqua Blind Association’s fundraising efforts. She helped CBA get involved with the JCC Occupational Therapy Assistant Program which provided sighted guides since inception of Dining in the Dark. Kathy also conceptualized the idea of the Wine and Art Auction as a second fundraiser and worked tirelessly on both events to make them successful. Dr. Tim Grace has supported the mission of CBA for countless years both financially and through advocacy for the blind and visually impaired.”

Please join us for a one of a kind sensory adventure offering guests the opportunity to have a dining experience without the use of their sight! It is more than just a meal; it is a journey of the senses that will make you re-evaluate your perception of taste, smell and touch…all in the dark. “We are very proud that this annual fundraiser and awareness event has supported our Youth Vision Screening Program,” says Lisa. “Ten years ago, when I presented this idea to our Board of Directors, many questioned whether it would be well received. They supported my idea and for 10 years now, it has provided funds to screen over 20,000 children.”

Reservations are $65 per person and include a 3 course meal. Dinner options are a 6oz filet mignon, stuffed chicken breast, miso glazed salmon and vegetable lasagna. Reservations are appreciated by Wednesday, March 18 and can be made online at or by calling 716-664-6660.

Dining in the Dark offers community partners and businesses a great way to support the Chautauqua Blind Association while receiving exceptional visibility and recognition. Sponsorships are available to fit any budget and include dinner reservations. Program listings are available for $100. For sponsorship information, call Lisa Goodell at 716-664-6660. Sponsorship deadline is March 18. A special thank you to the 2020 event sponsors which include UPMC Chautauqua, HomeTown Insurance, Weber Knapp, Chautauqua Chemical and Ahlstrom Schaefer.

Donations for the silent auction are appreciated and can be dropped off up until the day of the event at The Chautauqua Blind Association, located at 510 W. 5 th Street, Jamestown, NY.

All event proceeds will support the Youth Vision Screening Program. In 2019, the Chautauqua Blind Association screened over 4,000 children under the age of 6. Over 600 of these children were determined to have undiagnosed vision problems. These children are referred to area eye care professionals for further evaluations and/or treatment. The Chautauqua Blind Association’s goal is to provide this program free of charge to area children. The funds raised at Dining in the Dark make sure that any child in Chautauqua County as access to this service.

If you are unable to attend but would like to support the mission of the Chautauqua Blind Association, a tax-deductible donation can be made online at or by sending a check to the Chautauqua Blind Association located at 510 W. 5 th Street, Jamestown, NY.