By Alicia Couch Payne

For the past eleven years, the Kiwanis Club of North Gwinnett has held their annual Valentine’s Day Father-Daughter Dance.  It’s become a tradition for fathers and their daughters. The first dance took place in February 2009 at the Legacy Lodge and Convention Center at Lake Lanier Islands Resort.  In 2015, the dance was moved to the Buford Community Center when the facility first opened.

The dance came to fruition when the seeds were planted back in Valdosta, Georgia.  Kiwanis member, David Williams, a local commercial real estate agent and veteran was invited to attend a father-daughter dance there, by a long time friend of his.  When David’s daughter Tatum was in the 1st grade, David and his wife Brenda began making the four-hour journey to Valdosta with their family to attend the dance.

The Valdosta Dance is now in their 22nd year and is one of the largest, if not the largest, father-daughter Valentine dance in the country. Hosting +/- 5000 attendees over 4 dances and two evenings each year, the Valdosta Dance raises monies for his friend’s local church.

David was impressed with the Valdosta Dance and approached his friend about mentoring him in the creation of a father-daughter dance back in the Buford area.  It was 2008 when his daughter Tatum had outgrown the elementary school father-daughter dances that David pitched his vision of a Kiwanis sponsored father-daughter dance to the members of the North Gwinnett Kiwanis Club.  He took his lessons learned from his friend’s mentoring and modeled the successful Kiwanis dance after the one he had attended in Valdosta. The profits earned after the dance expenses would go to fund the club’s scholarship program.

Scenes from last year’s dance.  Photo courtesy NG Kiwanis Club

David believes that father-daughter dances are important because he feels that they “allow fathers to teach their daughters how to be properly treated on a date.”  The dance is a formal affair along the lines of a high school prom. Attendees show up dressed to the nines. The ballroom at the Buford Community Center is elaborately decorated and delicious light hors-d’oeuvres are served by a fully staffed catered serving line like at a wedding reception.  A DJ plays family-friendly music for the guests to dance the night away to and guests can even make requests. It has become a tradition for the final song to be “Cinderella” and as the song is played, each girl is presented with a long stem rose.

The dance has become a huge success.  Attendance has gone from 188 attendees in 2009 to approximately 850 attendees in 2018.  Thanks to the generosity of his fellow Kiwanis members and local businesses an excess of $7,000 in corporate sponsorships have been raised for the scholarship fund.  Kiwanis members and local high school students volunteer their time to make the dance the magical event that it is. The club has raised over $60,000 for their scholarship fund.  Area high school seniors can apply to receive a $1,000 scholarship so this translates to sixty students that have benefited from the scholarship fund.

“Nothing is more exciting than seeing young ladies with their fathers or significant father figures enjoy an evening together,” states Williams.  Young ladies ranging from infants to young adults and their fathers or father figures make memories to last a lifetime.

This year’s father-daughter dance will be held in three separate dances with the first one on Friday, February 1st and the other two dances are on Saturday, February 2nd at the Buford Community Center in Buford, Georgia.  For tickets and more information, please visit

Father Daughter Dance Postcard 2019 Front

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