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Fathers and daughters
MARYSVILLE They arrived mostly in pairs, but sometimes three or even four or five at a time.
Many of the younger guests walked, but just as many skipped or ran happily into the cafeteria of Cedarcrest School.
The young ladies in attendance all were dressed for a night on the town. So were most of their escorts, many sporting suits. Here and there, one could even spot a full-fledged tux. Inside, the cafeteria was decked out with balloons, flowers and other decorations. A DJ provided the music, with the soundtrack for the evening ranging from golden oldies to The Chicken Dance and the Macarena. At the end of the evening, there was even a young princess crowned, chosen via raffle.
No, of course, this wasnt some high school prom or similar event. This was the annual Marysville Father-Daughter Valentines Dance.
There actually were four dances scheduled, two for Feb. 2 and two more for Feb. 9. Each brought in a packed, sold-out crowd. The dads seemed unanimously grateful for the chance to spend some time with their daughters.
There arent a lot of activities I can do alone with my daughter, said Bill Essar. His date for the evening, daughter Claire, 11, agreed the dance was a great chance for the pair to share an evening.
I like spending quality time with my dad, she said.
Its something I can enjoy doing with my daughters, said Mike Heacock. It gives me an opportunity to get closer to my daughters.
I get to dance and spend time with my dad, explained daughter Briauna, 13, who was there along with sister, Kerragyn, 4.
We come out every year, said dad Wilkins Francois, who also had at least two daughters in tow. Its a beautiful thing, it makes them feel special.
Francois charges included Shanrice, 8, and Shanelle, seven months.
Bill Closky showed up with daughter, Azlin, 5. Last year, Closky brought Azlins older sibling, Ciara, 11. But Azlin decided she wanted dad all to herself this year, so Ciara agreed to stay home. Still, Closky is sure all three will back next year.
Its slowly but surely becoming a tradition, he said.
Several dads talked about how they decided this year to move quickly when tickets for the dances went on sale.
We didnt get to make it last year and this one was pretty upset, said Chad Key, indicating daughter Eleanor, 7.
Were really surprised at how quickly this sells out, said city Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew.
We had to make it two nights because there was simply such a demand, said Maryke Burgess, also with the city recreation department.
Of all the recreation programs the city puts together, many are aimed at families, Ballew said. But he figures the most popular are the Valentines Dances and the annual Touch-a-Truck. He estimated attendance at this years dances to be around 400.
Our sponsors help make them very affordable, he said.
I just think its a wonderful event for dads and their daughters, said one of those sponsors, Barry Knott of KnowledgePoints, a local tutoring service. Hes helped with the dances every year.
Theres a lot of smiles out there tonight, Ballew said. And we give dads an opportunity to do a good thing.