Love is in the air for local dads and daughters
Every February, around Valentine’s Day, Daniel Island resident Audrey Bright prepares for one of her biggest nights of the year. She’ll pick out a special dress, put on a touch of make-up, and maybe get her date a boutonniere. This year, the spunky 10-year-old is hoping a limo picks her up! The lucky guy is none other than her dad, Gus Bright.
The two will be among hundreds of other “couples” taking part in the Lowcountry Christian Community School’s Father-Daughter Dance at Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant on Friday, Feb. 22.
“When you walk in there are lots of people and balloons!” exclaimed Audrey, who is a student at Palmetto Christian Academy. “…It’s really fun.”
Audrey and her dad have been attending the dance for six years now – and they always look forward to it.
“We spin and twirl,” said Gus, when describing the event. “…Audrey is a dancer, so she watches a lot of dance shows with her mother and emulates those dancers!”
Daniel Island resident Kevin St. Germain will also be attending with his 6-year-old daughter, Ronél.
“It’s an opportunity to share a father’s love and attention,” he said. “A moment to pause and take time to let your daughter know how special she is. Also how a gentleman should treat a lady.”
And that is exactly the purpose behind the event, says LCCS President Sally Niemer.
“I think it’s a gift to the community, but it’s been a gift to us and almost a ministry,” she added. “Because we love stressing the importance (of that father-daughter relationship)…It’s really sweet. We love to see dads pouring into them and making them feel special and letting them know they are beautiful just the way they are and that somebody should respect them and treat them kindly and nicely.”
Looking for a meaningful way to raise money for the school, LCCS started the dance after hearing about a similar event in Atlanta. Now in its 12th year, the event has experienced a continual climb in attendance. In 2018, about 1200 took part, and Niemer expects to exceed that count this year. In addition to walking the red carpet as they come in, guests have their photos taken, and enjoy dinner, special gifts, and a chance to win prizes. There are also inspirational messages for dads about being a great father projected on big screens in the dance hall.
“It’s electric!” added Niemer, when asked to set the scene. “The girls are abuzz. They have picked out their dresses. They have been planning it for weeks. Some come in tiaras! Some of the really young ones will wear a Cinderella gown. Some may have on a little bit of lipstick. You can tell they have primped and prepped for this. And dad’s tie matches the little girl’s dress.”
For Mike Banks of Daniel Island and his three daughters, Ella, 14, Carly, 13, and Sara Lynn, 10, the Father-Daughter Dance is one of the highlights of the year.
“It’s a wonderful evening when dads get to lavish attention on their daughters and hopefully model for them how they should expect to be treated by boys, and ultimately men, that will court them throughout their lives.”
Scott Cline and his daughter, Charlotte, a fifth grader at Daniel Island School, attended for the first time last year and are looking forward to going back.
“We don’t get to do a lot of things just the two of us, due to the pace of life and how busy we are with the kids,” noted Scott. “So having a few hours together, just us, is very special.”
What’s the best part of the evening?
“When the girls hit the dance floor,” continued Scott. “And the fathers just look at each other like ‘you first!’”
“About 30 minutes into the dance when the shoes get kicked off and tossed in the corner,” added Mike. “That’s when the dance really begins.”
Mike also encouraged all fathers in the area to take advantage of the event, which offers a unique opportunity they might not experience otherwise.
“The evening is such a wonderful opportunity to make your daughter feel like the princess we all believe them to be,” he said. “Inevitably, when I walk out in a suit and tie, one of my daughters always responds, ‘I thought you hate wearing ties!’ Which always gives me the opportunity to say, ‘I do, but you’re worth it.’ Those opportunities are priceless.”
Like most participants, Gus and Audrey are counting down the days until the dance gets underway. Audrey is still looking for the perfect dress to surprise her dad, but hinted that it may be lavender or light blue this year. Seeing her for the first time as they prepare to leave is always one of Gus’s favorite moments.
“Besides making the memory, the pure joy on her face when she shows me her dress,” he said. “Every year, she looks a little bit older - and I get more melancholy about the fact that she’s growing up. I savor that evening, the moments, the pictures…it’s just so special.”
For more information about the LCCS Father-Daughter Dance, or to purchase tickets, visit https://www.lowcountrychristian.com/dance/.