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Fathers cut a rug with their little girls

POSTED: March 3, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Dean Snyder of Cleveland twirls his daughter, Ireland Snyder, 8, Thursday evening during the Gainesville Parks and Recreation Department's annual Daddy Daughter Dance at the Gainesville Civic Center.

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Word of mouth has helped the Daddy Daughter Dance grow in popularity in the ninth year of the event.

This year, both organizers and participants said friends and neighbors joined those who had been to the dances before. Gainesville Parks and Recreation sponsors the annual event, which is held at the Gainesville Civic Center.

Brenda Martin, civic center manager, said this year was a sellout.

Couples had to register by Wednesday for the three-night event, which began Tuesday with a dance for girls ages 11 to 18. In addition to Thursday night’s dance for 7- to 10-year-olds, there is a dance tonight for 4- to 6-year-olds.

This year’s theme was "Moonlight Serenade," and Martin said the feel organizers were hoping to achieve was "like they’re under the stars in a park outdoors." The ceiling was festooned with blue, white and gold balloons, and stars were hanging from long ribbons tied to the balloons.

The overhead lights were dimmed, and the room was illuminated with bright white Christmas lights looped from the ceiling. The daddies and daughters had dinner before the dance.

Lily Paschall of Gainesville said she was looking forward to the chicken and macaroni. She was with her father, Jeff Paschall of Gainesville who said he was also looking forward to the food as well as getting to dance.

Alexis Trawick, who marked her third time at the dance with her father, Josh Trawick, said that the "food, music and the DJ," are what kept her coming back.

"I am looking forward to dancing with my dad and the food," Alexis Trawick said.

Camryn Dickie and her father, Raymond Dickie, both of Gainesville, said they also are returning to the dance for a third year.

"It’s great for the girls, and it’s a fun date night for the daddy and the daughter," Raymond Dickie said.

To prepare for the dance, they took dancing lessons and he bought his daughter a corsage, he said.

Kelsey Hamilton of Gainesville kicked off her shoes and was running around barefoot even before the dance began.

"These shoes kill my feet," she said.

Hamilton said she and her neighbor, Olivia Morley, will continue attending the dances until they’re too old.

Martin explained that while there is not a set age limit, girls are asked to stop attending after age 18.

Hamilton and Morley were there with their fathers, Allan Hamilton and Dick Morley, both of Gainesville. Both dads said they enjoyed being with their girls and getting their picture taken.

Derek Moore of Gainesville said that each year he looked forward to putting the photo in his office.


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