Dads, daughters dance night away in Boardman

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For Joe Maderitz of late, two has been the operative number: He and a family member have been to two dances, he has spent the past two days in two states and is crazy about his two daughters.

“She’s my co-beautiful daughter,” the Boardman man said about 11-year-old Alivia Maderitz, who accompanied him Saturday evening to the 15th annual Daddy Daughter Dance in Boardman Park’s Lariccia Family Community Center.

The fun-filled, family-oriented gathering got underway Feb. 10 and has sold out five of the six nights of its run, including today, and has averaged 57 to 60 father-daughter couples each evening, noted Karen McCallum, the park’s recreation director.

“This is a great opportunity for the dads to enjoy a night with their daughters. The daughters love getting dressed up, but love hanging out with their daddies more,” McCallum said, adding that the girls are age 5 to 12.

On Friday, Joe was in Lake Orion, Mich., where Alivia lives with her mother, to take part in a smaller such gathering in a high school gym before making the four-hour return trip to Boardman with her to attend the local event, he explained.

Joe said he and Alivia have attended the Daddy Daughter Dance three consecutive years. He also has brought older daughter, Breanna, 13, to the gathering, he continued.

For her part, Alivia, who enjoys playing soccer and hopes to be a veterinarian, said she wasn’t shy about showing her father a few dance moves.

Operating on a parallel track was 12-year-old Sky Arcuri, a Boardman Center Intermediate School sixth-grader who mentioned several favorite aspects of the dance – including spending quality time with her father, William Arcuri.

“I love dancing with my dad, and the activities. The food is always amazing,” said Sky, who listed English as her favorite subject and said a long-term goal is to be a writer of children’s stories.

William, who works at Olive Garden Italian Restaurant in Boardman, said he’s deeply proud of his close-knit family that also includes daughters Savannah and Serena, 5 and 10, respectively, both of whom he brought to the dance last weekend. In addition, his pride extends to son, William, 13, and 14-year-old daughter, Serenity, who also has been to the event, he added.

Since Serenity is too old to attend the annual father-daughter dance, William enjoys taking her on a “date,” such as to a movie or out to dinner to “continue the tradition,” he explained, adding the dance also has an important underlying meaning.

“Part of the responsibility of a dad is to show how someone should treat you in a relationship. That means respect,” he said.

It didn’t take long for the dance floor to fill up as the fathers and daughters danced to popular favorites such as “YMCA” by the Village People, the “Cha-Cha Slide,” the “Chicken Dance” and the 2000 hit by the Baha Men, “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

Among those who also partook of a few slow tunes were Armando Trimboli of Campbell, and daughters, Natalia, 5, and Isabella, 10.

“They’re having a blast,” Armando said, adding that Natalia was reluctant to dance initially but soon got into a groove.

The festivities also included having professional-style pictures taken, as well as a balloon-maker and a rose ceremony, which allowed the fathers to present their daughters with a rose, then serenade them to the famous 1965 hit song, “My Girl” by The Temptations.

McCallum, the recreation director, said the six Daddy Daughter Dances also will give participants a slew of long-lasting memories to cherish.

“This is an experience they will remember, and I love being part of that magic,” she said, adding the event likely will encourage the fathers to continue a tradition of spending valuable one-on-one time with their daughters.

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