Fathers and daughters rock and roll at the Sweetheart Ball

sweet_groupdancingSharing the love at Gilpin Community Center

by Patty Unruh

There are some pairs that are a perfect match, like peaches and cream … macaroni and cheese … Cinderella and Prince Charming. And, of course, dads and daughters. Even Fred and Ginger would agree that the most exceptional pairs of all attended the annual Sweetheart Ball at the Gilpin Community Center (GCC) on Saturday, February 6.

About forty sweethearts ranging in age from five to 15 and their best dates participated in the twelfth annual event. The young princesses were decked out in all their finery: gowns of velvet red, satin pink, or powder blue, high heels, blingy earrings and necklaces, shiny lip gloss, polished nails, and elegantly styled curls and braids.

The dads had also donned their best shirts and ties for the occasion and cleaned up pretty respectably. Moms didn’t mind helping out with the primping so they could relax at home for the evening with a movie and perhaps a glass of wine.

GCC staff had gone all out to make the evening as special and chic as a young lady could want. The multi-purpose ballroom was aglow with rosy light, adorned with sweeping gold and pink bunting and pink balloons. Pink tablecloths and heart centerpieces made for gracious dining, as the couples feasted on mini pizzas, taquitos, veggies and dip, frosted cupcakes, cookies, and a host of other yummy treats.

As with any party, the guests had special goody bags to take away with them, containing such fun items as foam heart crafts, lip gloss, heart-shaped “splat balls” and sweets for the sweet. Each darling diva also received a lovely long-stemmed silk rose to commemorate the evening.

The food, decorations, goody bags, and music were all put together by Community Center workers and volunteers. GCC employee Bonnie Saeedi coordinated the effort, and volunteers Dorothy Sweet and Claudia Brown did all the cooking. Other staff members welcomed the participants and made sure everyone had a great time.

Dads and daughters swung each other around the floor to a mix of music that pleased everyone’s taste, from Elvis crooning “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” to country to contemporary pop. The dancers performed every move imaginable, swaying, dipping, sliding, and twirling. (The dads had practiced these moves on their icy driveways just that afternoon.) Even the helpers got in on the fun as everybody did the Twist.

The dancing was supplemented with lively entertainment in the teen room. The girls and their friends challenged the men to hot games of pool, ping pong, and air hockey. “We’re really bad at pool!” laughingly confided 11-year-olds Ella Masoudi and her friend Ellie McGold. The video games were also a popular attraction. After the night of dancing and games, some pairs even planned to watch the Super Bowl together the next day.

Some of the couples were first-timers at the ball, but many of the pairs had been there year after year. Some were just up for a weekend at their cabins and dropped in at the spur of the moment.

Jon Lovett and daughter Sarah were there for the eighth time. Dale Sternlicht and his sweetie, Dannika had been coming for about seven years. On the other hand, Todd Abel and his girl, Aspen, were reveling in the ball for the first time.

Everyone had their favorite part of the evening. Ross Palmer was happy to be spending more time with his daughter Soleil. Jacob Schrader noticed how many friends were together. “It’s community. It reminds me why we’re up here,” he said.

Yes, there’s nothing like perfect pairs. Cats and dogs … spaghetti and meatballs … cowboys and Indians … the list could go on. But the most special item on that list just has to be … fathers and daughters.

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