By TIM CLEVELAND
For more than a decade, Boardman Park has offered an event that brought fathers and daughters closer together. On Feb. 13, the park had its Daddy-Daughter Dance in the Lariccia Family Community Center.
The event not only had a dance, there were also a dinner, professionally-shot photos and crafts. Halfway through the night, a rose ceremony occurred, in which the fathers handed their daughters a rose, got down on one knee and sang “My Girl.”
“This event has been going on for about 11 years now,” said Boardman Park’s recreational director Karen McCallum. “It’s a growing program. Every year it just keeps on growing and growing. That shows in my eyes the need for people to spend more quality time with their children. It’s such a great opportunity for dads to spend the night dancing and eating and doing crafts and enjoying hanging out with their daughters. We have a number of dads that this is an annual tradition. They come five, six, seven, eight years with each daughter. One daughter grows too old to come, the next one is right behind.
Last year, I had one dad who was here since the beginning. That’s a great testament to the program. This year, we have expanded from three nights to four nights because we had such a high demand of ticket sales. We are trying to accommodate all those fathers and daughters of the Valley to enjoy the opportunity to spend the night together.”
McCallum said she expected about 35 couples on Feb. 13, and more than 60 couples each of the next three nights.
One father who brought his daughter to the dance was John Vargo of Boardman. He accompanied his daughter Alexa.
“We came here last year and she really loved it,” he said. “She asked me the night of if we could come back. We had a great time here last year. We’re looking for another good time tonight.”
McCallum said the fathers who come really get into the spirit of the event.
“It’s a really interactive evening,” she said. “It’s not just girls dancing by themselves and dads are in the other room. Dads are up, they’re doing the Cha Cha Slide, they’re getting involved. That’s wonderful to see and be a part of.”
Vargo was asked if he would be interested in coming back to the dance next year, and he answered in the affirmative.
“Oh, absolutely,” he said.