COLUMBIA – Fathers dressed in suits or polo shirts ushered their daughters into a brightly lit room at the Activity and Recreation Center, where the girls looked around wildly in excitement. In pastel dresses layered with tulle and glitter, the girls pulled their fathers to get their picture taken. Whether the pairs were attending for the first time or the fifth, everyone shared an avid enthusiasm for dancing.
The 11th annual Father-Daughter Dance Night, an event sponsored by the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department, featured a variety of music, snacks and door prizes.
“We have some songs that are geared toward father-daughter dances,” said Courtney Deters, who organized the event. “But we try to throw a little bit of everything in.”
Like at every dance, it took a while for the pairs to start dancing. Fathers and their daughters filled the chairs lining the walls, munching on popcorn, goldfish crackers and cookies.
One of the first couples to jump out onto the dance floor was Adam Boster and his daughter Faith, 8, who swirled around in a long white dress.
“We dance a lot at home,” Boster said. “She likes to act and dance. She’s got a lot of spunk.” Boster smiled as he continued to twirl Faith.
About 40 people attended this year's event, which, according to Deters, is a bit more than in previous years.
“We have a lot of people that keep coming back every year,” Deters said. “But we always have some new ones.”
Larry and Adele Dorman are a veteran pair of the Father-Daughter Dance Night; they couldn't remember whether they had attended the event four or five times.
“It’s a tradition,” said Adele, 11.
For the Dorman family, however, this was not the end of the Father’s Day festivities.
“You may have one present left you don’t know about,” Adele said, smiling mischievously. She made her father a tie for his birthday out of paper, string and googly eyes.
“It’s a flying spaghetti monster tie,” she said.
Halfway through the evening, Carrie Burns, a dance instructor for Columbia Parks and Recreation, offered lessons in swing and ballroom such as the waltz and cha-cha. Burns teaches a variety of ballet, jazz, tumbling and Discover to Learn classes at the Stephens Lake Activity Center.
“We get one dance lesson a year,” Larry Dorman said. “This is it.”
Chris Allen and his two daughters, Fiona, 8, and Sofia, 5, alternated lessons. Fiona skipped around her dad in a quick cha-cha after Sofia learned a box step. This was their first time at the Father-Daughter Dance Night.
The event cost $15 per couple and $3 per additional daughter. The fee helped to pay for the staff, snacks, decorations and prizes, Deters said. The door prizes included a disposable camera and various Hannah Montana merchandise.
Charles Wiebe was hard pressed to keep up with his daughter, Leah, 4, as she jumped around to a swing dance, twirling in her pink princess dress.
What are they doing for Father’s Day?
Wiebe laughed. “We’re dancing,” he said.