WAVERLY – The dance floor was filled with dozens of little girls dressed in sparkly dresses and shiny shoes.
A handful of fathers braved the chaos to dance with their daughters, while most of the other dads, decked out in their best duds, ringed the dance floor, watching from a short distance as their little girls twirled and swirled to the music.
It was the fifth annual Father Daughter Dance, held last Saturday night at Hamlow Elementary School in Waverly. The Hamlow and Waverly Intermediate School (WIS) PTO sponsored the dance, inviting dads and daughters in District 145 elementary schools. Fathers could bring all of their daughters, no matter what age, said Heather Chloupek, who organized the dance for the PTO.
Chloupek said she brought up the idea of having a Father Daughter Dance while serving as president of the PTO. She had seen it done at her church and thought it could be a great event for the schools.
The dance has really taken off in the last five years, Chloupek said.
“I think this time we had close to 400 people there,” she said.
It is not just a chance to dance under a cloud of crepe paper streamers and shimmery balloons. The daughters walked in on the pink carpet, stopping so mothers could grab a picture of the dapper duos before the moms were asked to leave.
The dancers feasted on sweet treats and sipped punch at the cupcake bar and took pictures in the photo booth while they rested between songs.
Elsie and Tyler Harris said they have been attending the Father Daughter Dance for three years. Elsie, a fifth-grader, said her favorite part of the event is the dancing.
It was the first year John Nannen and his daughter, Kiara Gramlich, came to the dance. Kiara enjoyed dancing with her friends, while John’s reveled in “being here with my daughter,” he said.
Dean Schmid also enjoyed spending time with his daughter, Ali, at the dance. And Ali also liked dancing with her friends. The pair have been coming to the event for three years, they said.
Chloupek said it can sometimes be hard for the dads to get out on the dance floor and show their moves. So the PTO recruited the Waverly High School dance and cheer squads to come and lead the dancing.
But this year, the high school’s Snow Ball was scheduled on the same night. In a pinch, Mollie Konen, daughter of Hamlow teacher Angie Konen and a cheerleader at Ashland-Greenwood High School, stepped in, leading the dancing all by herself.
“So that was pretty awesome,” said Chloupek.
Once Konen got the dancing started, a handful of daughters talked their dads into hitting the dance floor.
“There were a few dads that are brave and danced the whole night,” said Chloupek.
But when there was a slow song, all the dads fell in place, cuddling their daughters to the sweet music. They were also eager to dance when a certain DJ favorite came on, Chloupek added.
“On the ‘Cupid Slide,’ a lot more dads came out,” she said with a laugh.
Fathers and daughters paid a small fee to attend. The money will be used for future dances.
“Any money we earn for it is what pays for it next year,” Chloupek said.
(Staff Reporter Anna Boggs contributed to this report)