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The apple of Daddy's eye

Although they dream of it, it isn't often that little girls truly get to be the belle of the ball -- a princess who is the apple of her daddy's eye.

That's why the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center is once again gearing up for its sixth annual Daddy's Little Sweetheart Dance, set for Friday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m.

"We call it a 'dream come true event' for dads and their daughters," said DLCCC Marketing Director Viva Klundt, "but we know that many young girls in this area might not have fathers around or ones that are available, so it's really open to grandfathers, brothers, uncles, neighbors or whoever would like to take them."

The evening is geared for girls ages two through 12-years-old and is held at the Holmes Theater and ballroom.

Klundt says the event is semi-formal, which means both fathers and daughters can choose what they'd like wear.

"We don't want dads to think it's a black tie affair and they have to go all out, but some do dress up in suits, others dress in kakis and some dress in jeans and a nice shirt," said Klundt, who adds that girls can also dress fancy or casual.

"I know some really make a tradition of it where they'll take them to pick out a formal at the bridal shop, then to get their hair done and buy them a corsage," said Klundt, who adds that over 150 people attended the event last year.

When the gentlemen and their pint-sized dates arrive, their picture is taken in front of the fireplace in the lobby of the theater.

"So it's a good opportunity for dads and daughters to get that one picture where they're both dressed up at an event -- it's become quite a treasured keep sake for many," said Becky Mitchell, who is heading up the event for the Holmes.

The couple is then sent upstairs for the Grand March.

"We usually have a heart shaped arrangement of balloons or something that's on the theater stage," said Klundt, "And we have somebody that announces (the dads and daughters) so they go down the stage."

Klundt says this is the only time moms are allowed in to take pictures, as the rest of the evening is just for the daddies and their sweethearts.

"We try to make it as fast as we can but we still want them to have that experience of being up on stage and being called out and making them feel really special," said Klundt.

Daddies and daughters will also be able to cut a serious rug, as Center Stage Music will be providing the tunes.

And if dancing works up the appetite, there will also be a buffet-style dinner served with sandwiches and other kid-friendly food.

Crafts will be set up in the ballroom, which will be decorated for the event.

"It'll look like valentines day," said Klundt, "a lot of pink and red ... we make it a little bit kid friendly with little shiny things that appeal to little girls."

Klundt says the event has grown in popularity every year, and says she thinks it's because it's one of those rare, special date nights that little girls don't often get with their fathers when their mothers or siblings are around.

"It's one of the most fun nights of the year," said Mitchell, "these little girls come in here with a sparkle in their eye and they're daddy's or grandpa's little princess, and they have somebody all to themselves doing all the things that they like to do with the dancing and the finger food and the crafts."

Mitchell adds that the event is officially over at 9:00 p.m., "but if the really little dates are tuckered out before then, they can sure feel free to leave at anytime."

Tickets for the event are $12 for dads and $6 for daughters. They can be purchased by calling the box office at 844-7469, or they can also be purchased the night of the event.