Daddy's girls

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Fathers Darryl LeGrand, left, and Jeff Connell, right, spin daughters Jacy LeGrand, 6, left, and Karsyn Connell, 7, right, during the second annual Father Daughter Dance held at A.C. Brase Arena in Cape Girardeau on Saturday, March 6, 2010. This year's theme was "Unmask the Night," a mystical masquerade ball. The event attracted 499 community members. (Kristin Eberts)

On March 6, area fathers and daughters flocked to the Arena Building in Cape Girardeau for the second annual Father/Daughter Dance. Presented by the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department, this year's dance was a mystical masquerade ball with the theme "Unmask the Night." Girls aged 2 to 16 got dressed up for a night of dancing, food, photos, door prizes and other activities while spending quality time with their fathers or other positive male role models. Masks worn by the attendees added to the grandeur of the evening, as did the purple, black and silver decor.

This year 499 people attended the event, a considerable increase over last year's dance. Recreation coordinator Chris Eastridge said he was surprised by a turnout of 340 people last year for the premier dance and was excited that the numbers grew more this year.

"A night out with their little girls is something they remember for the rest of their lives," he said.

Cape Girardeau residents David Hopper and daughter Kate, 4, attended the dance last year and came back again this year.

"We couldn't miss it," David said. Kate "had a blast last year. She's been looking forward to it."

Eastridge and the other parks and recreation staff came up with the idea for the Father/Daughter Dance during a regular brainstorming session by searching the Internet for events held by other communities. They found that many areas held an annual father-daughter dance and decided to start their own in Cape Girardeau.

Last year's theme was "Disney Dreams," and the Parks and Recreation Department will be coming up with yet another theme for next year's dance. An annual mother-son event may be on the horizon to provide a fun community event for the other half of the family.

-- Kristin Eberts

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