By Sarrah Peters
On Sunday, February 21, the YMCA of Coosa Valley will continue a new family tradition with its Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dance. The event will start at 5:30 p.m. at 210 at the Tracks in Gadsden.
The cost is $20 a ticket for father and daughter. Tickets for additional daughters are $15 each.
The YMCA held the first Father/Daughter Sweetheart Dance eight years ago.
“I borrowed the idea from Baton Rouge, Louisiana where my daughter and I had been attending the dance,” said YMCA director LeRoy Falcon.
Baton Rouge’s father and daughter dance had over 1200 attendees.
“Daughters as old as in college were still going with their dads and had been going since they were four or five years old,” said Falcon.
The first time the YMCA of Coosa Valley held the dance, the turnout wasn’t quite as big, with only 35 in attendance. It has grown since then, with over 300 attending last year. This year, even more are expected to attend.
“We are hoping to have close to 400 this year,” said Falcon. “On the surface, we call this a father/daughter dance, but, from my perspective, it’s more about the relationship between the father and the daughter, and allowing dad to have that opportunity to show his daughter how she should be treated by a man, properly, what a date’s really supposed to look like,” said Falcon. “I think that’s one of the biggest opportunities for modeling a healthy relationship. And, of course, you’re going to make memories that last forever.”
As a dance, there will be, of course, dancing. D. Miller of WQSB will DJ the event.
“What’s really, really cool is that I see dads that typically… the dads that you would maybe call the wallflowers that aren’t necessarily very gregarious and one that you would consider as dancers get out on the floor and dance,” said Falcon. “That’s the big surprise is the number of men that actually get out there on the floor and dance with their little girls. That’s the fun part. Lots of smiles.”
The dance will be catered by Tony’s Barbecue.
“He will provide all of the chicken fingers that we can eat and french fries,” said Falcon. “And he will fry and fry and fry and fry for the, pretty much, the full time we are there. There will be lots of healthy snacks, and maybe a couple of not so healthy snacks.”
At the dance, there will be photography by Spencer’s Photography.
“I can watch my daughter chronologically age from that one event,” said Falcon.
The Gadsden Service Guild decorates for the event with a red and white heart and flower motif.
“In my mind, I want it to be Disney World,” said Falcon. “When a little girl walks in with their daddy and they see that room for the first time I want it to be wow, so we decorate it that way. It’s very elaborately decorated. We have a red carpet that they will stroll in on.”
All in all, “it’s a magical night” for girls to spend a night with their fathers.
The money raised from the event funds the YMCA’s scholarship fund. This can be especially helpful for seniors on a fixed income to single-parent households trying to enroll their children in summer programs.
“Last year, we forgave, or did not collect, approximately $28,000 in summer camp fees, and we had approximately 42 children come through our camp through a YMCA scholarship,” said Falcon.
Most importantly, the YMCA does not want to turn anyone away from being part of its family due to financial restraints.
‘Anyone that wants to become a member of the Y, can become a member of the Y,” said Falcon.
For more information about the dance or YMCA, call 256-547-4947.