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Sweetheart of a dance

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Little princesses from all around the land will be ascending upon the royal ballroom on Friday, Feb. 8, as Daddy's Little Sweetheart Dance begins.

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The event, sponsored by the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center, is a chance for area girls and the special man in their lives (daddies, grandpas, uncles or family friends) to have a night just for them.

"It's all about little girls," said Becky Mitchell, who is coordinating the event, "so it will decorated in a lot of pinks, purples, whites and glittery valentines.

The 7th annual event starts at 6 and goes until 9 p.m., until the princesses are tuckered out.

"We'll begin with the Grand March on the theater stage, and this is where moms and others are invited to come and watch and take pictures," said Mitchell, who jokingly refers to the mothers as 'mom-a-ratzzis.' "We ask the mom-a-ratzzis with their cameras to leave after that and we usher the girls and their dates to the ballroom for a light dinner of finger food like sandwiches, fruit, chips and cookies."

And because most little girls always enjoy a good craft, tables will be set up for the royal guests to create their own artwork.

"Because a lot of girls are all dressed up, we keep the paint and glue out of it," laughed Mitchell. "So they'll be making bracelets and maybe a foam heart to decorate."

And because every man could desperately use some dancing tips from their daughters, a DJ will be on hand to play everything from current hits to the chicken dance to the hokey pokey.

"A lot of dads will come in with the scared look in their eyes, but after a while they relax because everyone is just looking silly," said Mitchell, "and it's just all about the girls so it's a good time."

And those good times can be captured on film, too, as a photographer will be on hand to take photos for $5. However, a "Princess Package" can also be purchased for $35, and that includes the price of the photo, a rhinestone tiara, a ribbon wand, some light-up heart necklaces and more.

Mitchell says although many "dates" come dressed in little ball gowns and tuxes, there are many others who are more casual wearing nice clothes or even jeans.

"It doesn't matter; it's all about these little girls getting to spend time with their dates and not having to compete for attention from anybody else," said Mitchell.

"It's just so fun to see them look at their dads with those big stars in their eyes and feeling so special."

Tickets can be purchased ahead of time or at the door.

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