Sunday Conversation with Michelle Berryman

Daddy-daughter dance a hit in Acworth

The Sunday Conversation is edited for length and clarity. Writer Ann Hardie can be reached by email at ann.hardie@ymail.com.


Acworth Daddy Daughter Dance, 7 - 9 p.m. Feb. 21 at North Cobb High School Gym, 3400 Old US Highway 41

Kennesaw

Admission for two is $25 for city of Acworth residents, $35 for non-city residents. Additional daughters, $10 each.

Information: www.acworthparksandrec.org or 770-917-1234.

There’s a dance at the North Cobb High School Gym on Feb. 21, but high schoolers are persona non grata. This night is reserved for the annual Acworth Daddy Daughter Dance, where more than 500 dads and their little Elsas and Annas (this year’s theme is “Frozen Princess Ball”) will boogie to top hits (edited versions, if necessary). The event has become a family tradition, says Michelle Berryman, recreation coordinator for the city of Acworth.

“A lot of people come from the time their daughters are little until they are 13,” she says. “It is so special to see them all dressed up.” The daddy-daughter dance is so popular, in fact, that the city has started a mom and son campout so the rest of the family doesn’t feel left out.

Q: How did the dance get started?

A: We try to fill gaps that we see in our community. A daddy-daughter event was something that we knew would be popular. For the past few years, we have worked with our local merchants to offer coupons so that fathers and their daughters can go out to dinner first.

Q: Why is the event so popular?

A: We try really hard to make it memorable. We make our own sets, as well as borrow props from our partners in the community. This year, the girls are going to walk through a winter wonderland castle. We will also have characters from the movie “Frozen” walking around and posing for pictures with the girls. Keeping with the theme this year, we will have an ice cream buffet.

Q: What if you don’t have a dad?

A: That is no problem. We ask that the girls attend with their father or another adult male. Last year, we had an older brother bring his sister. It is neat to see the diversity of people who step up.

Q: Is the dance always in February?

A: Yes, it is a good month for us because it is a slower month. We usually have it the weekend before but we didn’t want to do it on Valentine’s Day.

Q: Would that make the moms mad?

A: We thought about that and decided that we didn’t want to conflict with anyone’s date night.

Q: The event is for girls up to 13. What is magical about 13?

A: We wouldn’t turn girls away if they were older but we found that after 13, the girls aren’t as into it. We also do welcome and going away gifts. We try to make those gifts something that girls from ages 5 to 13 would appreciate.

Q: What are this year’s gifts?

A: I worked with a local woman who has her own hair bow business. She is making bows with really cute snowflakes on them. The going away present is a princess wand, complete with a snowflake on top.

Q: Do the moms feel left out?

A: Every year we have some moms call and ask if they can bring their sons and we always say no. I felt that daughters would want to go to a dance but sons wouldn’t. Our neighboring city offers a family dance and we don’t want to compete with their event. Last fall, we added a campout to address the growing need for that mother-son event.

Q: How did that go?

A: Really well. We had it at Proctor Landing Park on Lake Allatoona. We grilled hamburgers and hotdogs. We partnered with the Boy Scouts, Atlanta Astronomy Club, The Home Depot, Kennesaw Archery Club to host educational stations. We applied for a New and Innovative Program Grant through the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association and were one of five applicants chosen. I am hoping this annual event will become as successful as the daddy-daughter dance.