by Amie Sites
Daughters dressed in formal gowns grabbed their father’s hands and pulled them toward the dance floor when Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” played through the speakers.
Red, white and pink balloons sat on tables and heart decorations lined the wall of the Cass County Memorial Home for the annual Daddy Daughter Dance that has been cherished by fathers and daughters for more than 10 years.
Sydney Baldwin, a 10-year-old, came to the dance with her father, Dennis Baldwin.
“She has been looking forward to this for a year,” Dennis said. “I told her when she wants to go dance, I’ll follow her lead.”
Sydney, who has attended the dance twice, said her favorite part of the evening is dancing.
The dance, which formerly took place at the McHale Complex in Riverside Park, has moved to the Cass County Memorial Home. Vicki Ward, activities director at the Logansport Parks and Recreation Department, said the dance gradually grew and to accommodate more people, parks administrators decided to host two dances so no father was turned away. The parks department sponsors the dance each year.
In total, 167 fathers and daughters signed up for the Valentine’s Day dance similar to prom, Ward said.
“A father was in my office earlier today and said his daughter had a hair appointment at 3:30 p.m. today,” Ward said. “They’ll come in dressed to the nines, with wrist corsages.”
Dennis said Sydney had her hair done for the event.
Steve Schwering attended the event with is daughter, Mazzie Schwering.
“I like dancing and spending time together,” said Mazzie, who has been to the event for four years. “It’s a great time.”
Steve said the dance is a tradition for them and every year they buy items for the event together.
“I like spending time with her and helping her pick things out,” Steve said. “We picked out the gloves, corsage, necklace and headband.”
As Steve was talking, Mazzie reached over and put a plastic heart on his suit that came from a craft frame she completed.
The hour-and-a-half dance, in addition to crafts, is full of punch, cookies, photographs by Rich Voorhees and — of course — dancing.
“I tell fathers they have to dance to at least one or two dances,” Ward laughed. “Once the girls find their friends, you’ll see fathers stand around the perimeter as they dance with other girls.”
Songs played by the DJ, Kyle Smith, ranged from One Direction, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber to Rascal Flatts and PSY’s “Gangnam Style.”
Dennis walked off the dance floor laughing with his daughter, saying, “I sweated, so I must have done something right.”
“My Wish” by Rascal Flatts came on and fathers and daughters moved towards the dance floor for the slower dance. Fathers twirled their daughters in circles and daughters looked up to their fathers smiling as the music continued.
Ward, who has helped with the dance since it started, said it is a joint effort. The park maintenance staff help put up and take down the tables and chairs used in the event. Ward said they follow Carolyn Holcomb’s lead for the event.
Kathy Scott, administrative assistant at the parks department, said she has helped out with the event since it started.
“I think the night has been wonderful,” Scott said. “I like to see the fathers and daughters come in all dressed up. When they leave they can’t stop thanking us for the night and that’s really touching.”
Scott’s favorite part? Her granddaughter was able to attend the dance for the first time.
Both fathers agreed the dance is an event they will continue to attend with their daughters until the reach the cut-off age of 12 years old.
Amie Sites is community news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5150.
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