For more than a decade now, the Daddy's Little Sweetheart Dance has been the unofficial "kickoff" event for Detroit Lakes' Polar Fest celebration - but not this time.
"This year we got trumped by the Ice Palace," joked Beth Horslev Gilbert, who has been coordinating the event since she became the theater's arts outreach director in 2015. "But that's OK. Every princess needs a palace, right?"
Gilbert is referring to the 32-foot-tall palace, constructed entirely of ice, that now graces the Detroit Lakes City Beach. The Grand Lighting Ceremony for King Isbit's Ice Palace is set to take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 8 - one night before the dance.
"But the palace will be lit every night, so dads can bring their little princesses to have their pictures taken by the Ice Palace before the Grand March starts," Gilbert said.
The Grand March, which is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, is when princesses from throughout the land of lakes, escorted by the special men in their lives - dads and granddads, uncles, cousins, and even older brothers - will walk down the aisles toward the Historic Holmes Theatre's main stage, where not just one, but two identical, 7-foot-tall hearts have been set up on each side of the stage, for them to pose for pictures.
"We're doing two lines for the Grand March again, because it worked so well last year," Gilbert said. The giant hearts are being constructed by local craftsman Brian Seczko especially for the dance, she added.
"The Grand March is open to the public," Gilbert said. "Moms, grandmas, family members can all come and watch - but the rest of the evening is just for dads and daughters."
After the Grand March is over, the young women and their escorts will be invited to adjourn to the Holmes Ballroom for a night of Valentine's Day-themed festivities including food - catered by La Barista - two different craft activities, and dancing to the music of deejay Matt Sletto.
If they wish to have a permanent memento of the event, professional photographer Angela Schmitz will also be setting up a small studio on the top floor of the theater where dads and daughters can pose for an official photo (there is a small extra charge involved).
Though tickets for the dance can be purchased at any time prior to the Grand March on Feb. 9, there is a special discount offered to "early birds," Gilbert said.
"Right now, tickets are priced at $10 for daughters and $15 for dads, and you can also purchase a 'princess package' for $35," she explained.
The "princess package" includes one youth admission ticket, a tiara, a heart-shaped locket, stuffed animal, activity book and a lighted "bling ring," among other valentine-themed goodies, Gilbert said.
"After this coming Monday, Feb. 5, the ticket price will go up to $15 for daughters and $20 for dads," she added. "The 'princess package' will also go up, from $35 to $40."
For more information, or to purchase tickets, please call the Holmes Theatre at 218-844-7469, visit the website at www.dlccc.org/holmes.html, or stop by the Holmes Box Office at 826 Summit Ave.