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Father-daughter dances planned for Gainesville organizations
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Isabella Constant dances at the 2017 Gainesville Parks & Recreation Daddy Daughter Dance at the Gainesville Civic Center. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Local fathers will have the chance to take their daughters out for a special night at upcoming dances in the Gainesville area. Gainesville Parks and Recreation, J.A. Walters Family YMCA and Blackshear Place Library will all host daddy-daughter dances this year. 

Gainesville Parks and Recreation dances

When: 6-8:30 p.m. Feb. 20 for grades sixth and above; Feb. 21 for fourth- and fifth-graders; Feb. 22 for second- and third-graders; and Feb. 23 for pre-K through first grade

Where: Gainesville Civic Center Ballroom, 830 Green St. NE, Gainesville

How much: City residents, $50 per couple and $17.50 per additional sibling; nonresidents, $60 per couple and $21.50 per additional sibling. Late fee of $15 per couple after Feb. 16, if space is available. 

More info:

Gainesville Parks and Recreation will hold its 18th annual Daddy Daughter Dances on four different nights, depending on girls’ grade levels. 

“We have added an extra night in hopes of being able to serve more people,” said Julie Butler Colombini, marketing and communications manager at Gainesville Parks and Recreation.

This year, the theme for the dance is “Winter Ball.”

“We always try to tie it into something that girls of all ages would get excited about,” Colombini said. “It’s such an event where everyone loves to dress up like princesses in their finest clothes.”

She said the event always appeals to older girls as much as it does to the younger ones. 

“We have girls who are out of college and come back with their dads,” she said. “It’s such a tradition for them as a family.”

Along with music and food, the night will include photography and raffles. 

“It’s mostly dinner and dancing, and they dance a lot,” Colombini said. “They can pay to have a professional photograph made, but we’re also going to have a photo booth.”

As for the raffles, the items will be different each night but should appeal to the girls. 

“Everything from stuffed animals to jewelry to makeup to just toys (and) games,” she said. “Anything the girls really, really want to have, depending on their age.” 

Colombini said the event fills up quickly, and she recommends parents register as soon as possible. 

“We have anywhere up to, I would say, average 300 people a night,” she said. “It’s very important that parents call and get in.” 

Attendees must register by 5 p.m. Feb. 16. There will be a late fee of $15 per couple after that time, if space is available, but no walk-ins will be accepted on the day of the event. 

“If they come once, they will come back every year,” Colombini said. “It’s just a great way to create a special memory and bond between a father and daughter that will last them for a lifetime.” 

You can register online at or by visiting the Gainesville Parks and Recreation office at the Gainesville Civic Center from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

J. A. Walters Family YMCA dance

When: 4:30-7 p.m. Feb. 17

Where: J.A. Walters Family YMCA, 2455 Howard Road, Gainesville

How much: YMCA members, $40 per couple and $10 per additional child; nonmembers, $50 per couple and $10 per additional child. Register online by Feb. 15 or at the Y by Feb. 17.

More info:

The J.A. Walters Family YMCA is putting on a daddy-daughter dance for the second year, said Kateshia McAfee, youth and family program director there. 

“We started all of our special events last year,” she said. “Part of the daddy-daughter dance was just something that went as a community staple.”

The theme this year will be “Love You to the Moon and Back.” 

“It’s right next to Valentine’s Day, so instead of doing a parent thing, it’s a way for the dads to bring in their daughters and have a nice moment with them, especially if they have younger children.”

The evening will include kid-friendly music by DJ J Prime and a catered meal by Hooties Catering. 

“Last year we did a standard family-style meal,” McAfee said. “It’s usually a chicken, a beef and then a vegetable. We’re still ironing out what the menu is going to look like this year.” 

The YMCA also will take photos to email to the parents after the dance. 

McAfee said there will be no cutoff for the number of people who can attend. 

“If 200 people end up signing up, then that’s what I’m going with,” she said. “I’m prepared for it.”

She said they “blew it out of the water” last year. 

“Last year, originally I was only expecting maybe about 50 people to come, especially because it was our first time doing it, and totally doubled those numbers,” she said. “I ended up with over 100 people here. This year I’m hoping that the same people (who) came last year will venture out again.”

Attendees will need to register online by Feb. 15 or at the Y by Feb. 17.

“I think it’s important for them to come, especially if they’re a member of the facility, because it gives them a chance to get out with their daughters, or maybe their family friend if it’s not the father that’s coming with them, and just have a special moment that they can remember. I think, too, it also introduces people to the facility if they’ve never been here before.”

Blackshear Place Library dance

When: 1-3 p.m. Feb. 10

Where: Blackshear Place Library, 2927 Atlanta Highway, Gainesville 

How much: Free. RSVP by calling 770-532-3311, ext. 151, or email

Ashley Martin, a youth services assistant at the library, said this will be the first dance of its kind held at the library. 

“We needed to spruce up some events here at Blackshear Place,” she said. “We haven’t done anything like (this) before, so I thought I’d give it a try. We’ve had some interest in doing some different things for our patrons, so I decided we would start off big with (this) and see what happens.”

Martin said the library will be decorated for Valentine’s Day. 

“Being that close to Valentine’s Day, we’ll just stick with the red, white and pink Valentine’s theme,” she said.

The party will have music as well as a few snacks. 

“Of course they’re free to leave whenever they want, if they don’t want to stay the entire two hours,” she said. “We’ll have kid-friendly music, and then we will have light snacks like juice, cupcakes, cookies, trail mix (and) things like that.” 

Attendees will also receive a photo from the night. 

“When they sign in we’ll take a photo on a backdrop and email them out to everybody,” Martin said. 

While the event is free, space is limited to only 30 guests. 

“It will be limited to three people per family,” Martin said. “It’s just a chance for dads and daughters to spend a little time together. Hopefully it will be a great event for them to come out and enjoy themselves, and it won’t cost them anything.”

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