By Taylor Anderson
Each year the Kiwanis Club of North Gwinnett hosts an incredible fundraiser for their club – it does double duty as both raising funds for the club and also giving fathers an opportunity to share a very special night with their daughters. The Club has raised more than $60,000 from the dances over the years and the dads get a priceless night with their little girl. The dances are held typically at the first of February – one dance on Friday night and two on Saturday night.
The event, which is currently held at the beautiful Buford Community Center, features 350 attendees, several volunteers, and a large dance floor. The entry into the dance includes high school volunteers greeting dads and daughters and holding doors, a coat check and photobooth for taking serious or silly pictures. A rose arch provides for a great photo moment and a red carpet leading to reception gives the air of a special night ahead. Smiling volunteers at check-in wish the dancers a beautiful evening and there is the opportunity to win prizes through a raffle.
Inside, the dance floor is lined with chairs where dancers can take a break from the action. A large table of hors-d’oeuvres and refreshments help to re-energize after the “Cha Cha Slide”. The centerpiece for the little girls is a pink chocolate fountain for dipping fruits.
I’ve been attending the dance with my daughter, Lauren, for several years now. She’s twelve now but we both look forward to this night as if she were five years old still. Each year, I buy her a corsage and she buys me a boutonniere. We dance and, more importantly, spend quality time together just the two of us. I certainly don’t claim to be the world’s best dancer – in fact, I’m not very good at all. However, we spend the evening dancing to current hits, talking about current happenings, thinking of previous dances and saying hello to friends and neighbors. We’ll take a break to catch up with other dads while she can talk with her friends that are also there. Before long, though, we’re back on the dance floor just in time for the “YMCA”. Towards the end of the dance, raffle tickets are pulled for the three prizes. This year, Lauren was fortunate enough to win one of the raffle prizes – a pink teddy bear emblazoned with “Princess” and “2019”. She told me she had put all her raffle tickets into that prize. The other prizes were a large stuffed animal pony and Airpods.
Each night wraps with two songs sure to bring a tear to dad’s eye in “Butterfly Kisses” and Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Cinderella”. Those are great songs to end on, as they remind us how fast time with our little girls goes and that each moment with them is a gift. After the dance, Lauren and I go to dinner, where we talk about the dance, tell jokes, laugh as much as we can and enjoy a special evening of focused time together.
The dance often features dads who have been coming for so long that their daughters have graduated from college and may have moved a far distance away, yet they come back every year to spend the evening together again. Lauren tells me she’ll come back every year no matter what to spend the evening with her dad and it makes my heart swell. I can’t recommend the dance enough – it’s incredibly well done and the time with your little girl will provide a lifetime of memories to cherish.