The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a national nonprofit focused on sight-saving retinal research, will open guests’ eyes to the challenges of the visually impaired community at its 3rd Annual St. Louis Dining in the Dark on Wed., May 16, at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac. A reception begins at 6pm followed by dinner and awards from 7 to 9pm.

To recognize their accomplishments and support for the fight against blindness, the Foundation will present its Visionary Award to Jerry Kent, president and CEO of St. Louis-based Cequel III, and David A. Peacock, former president of Anheuser-Busch, Inc. The event will benefit the foundation’s cutting-edge research efforts into preventions, treatments and cures for vision-robbing retinal degenerative diseases like macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), Usher syndrome and related conditions.

Dining in the Dark is a distinctive sensory awareness experience in which guests participate in an unforgettable dining adventure - in complete darkness. For about 30 minutes, attendees enjoy their entrée using only their senses of smell, sound, taste and touch, to get a glimpse into the lives of the blind.

Visually impaired servers, who are trained specifically for the dinner to use a system of ropes and stanchions, share their stories and help guests navigate through this new culinary journey. Created in Germany, Dining in the Dark is a one-of-a kind concept that has been enjoyed by many people across Europe before moving to America in 2005.

“Reactions to Dining in the Dark are truly powerful because people often don’t realize the daily challenges of living with low vision,” says Foundation Fighting Blindness CEO Bill Schmidt. “We’re thrilled to recognize the contributions of two St. Louis visionaries as we come together to support promising research that offers hope to the more than 10 million Americans at risk for losing sight to retinal disease.”

Chairing the event is John Mozeliak, general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as board chair Dan Bergstein, who has three generations of family members affected with RP. Also receiving the Visionary Award is David A. Peacock, who led Anheuser-Busch after the company was acquired by InBev in 2008, until January 2012.

Individual tickets are available for $150 each and sponsorship packages begin at $2,500. For ticket and sponsorship information, contact events manager Maria Donile at or 847.680.0100.

St. Louis Dining in the Dark at the Hilton St. Louis Frontenac, 1335 South Lindbergh Blvd.

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