“If I could only do one event a year, this would be it,” said Patti Bradley, program supervisor for the Miami Springs Community Center.
Bradley is the spearhead and organizer of every special social event held by the city and she makes them all happen with support from her hard-working staff.
However, there’s nothing like the Daddy/Daughter Dance, which has been held around Valentine’s Day for the last 14 years, most recently held on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Miami Springs Country Club.
“It’s very special for both the girls and dads,” said Bradley. “They have a very unique time together.”
The average age of the daughters seemed to be between 6 and 10 years old and it was a special evening for everyone. All the girls wore dresses that were dressier than church clothes and some definitely had their hair done at a salon. Their shoes were also stylish and some of the girls wore heels. Many of the youngsters wore nail polish and some had been to professional manicurists.
Many of the dads had given wrist corsages and flowers to their daughters, all of whom appeared to enjoy the date-like formality of the occasion. However, more than one dad was seen cutting up chicken tenders for their date.
Fathers brought daughters who ranged in age from 1 year old to 18 and a few possibly older than that.
Mike Rivas brought 2 1⁄2-year-old Kaylen. “She loves it,” said Mike. “So far she’s fascinated with the silverware and plates.”
Next year Dad will be bringing Brynna, who’s now only 3 months old.
“I’ve been bringing Becca since she was 4 or 5 and she’s 18 now,” said Bob Shultz.
A Miami Springs High School senior, Becca said, “I’m thrilled to come every year. I’m not embarrassed. I like coming here with my dad.”
“We sold out, with 225 in attendance, including 127 little girls. That’s the most we’ve ever had,” said Katherine Anderson, administrative assistant to Bradley. “We had a waiting list of 15 couples, so we can definitely expand this event next year.”
Dinner was sliced pork, roasted potatoes and green beans almandine for dads, and the girls were served mac and cheese and chicken tenders. Ketchup was the main condiment.
Some of the dads had their dance cards filled by bringing as many as three daughters. Karl Odin brought Skyler, Gwendolyn and Evangeline. “I’m the best sister,” said Eva, who is not known for her shyness.
Junior De La Torre of Jr’s Gourmet Burgers bought his girls: Jessica, Tatiana and Andrea; and Fernando Diaz brought Cassandra, 10, and Calyssa, 12. Tico Santana was with his twins, Celeste and Charlotte, 2.
Otto Camejo’s dates were his daughters Cassandra 13, and Alexa, 9. “This is our fourth year and both of the girls enjoy coming to the dance.”
“I came to this dance when I was very little,” said Amanda Laso, 9, who attends Twin Lakes Elementary and was escorted by her dad, Armando. “I’m not going to dance because I’m shy. But I kinda dance at home in the shower.”
Marcus Cortez brought his daughter, Drew, 8. “I’ve been bringing her since she was 3,” said Dad. “I used to bring my daughter Devin but she’s 15 now and doesn’t want to come anymore.”
Lovely Alyssa Martinez was holding a white rose given to her by her dad, Mario. Although Alyssa said she was a bit shy, she intended to dance with her dad.
Gary Fetters was with his daughter, Carys. “She dances nonstop,” said Dad.
Emily Cox, 9, has been to the dance five times with her father Tim but isn’t into the hard-rocking dance music. “I like music by Taylor Swift,” said Emily.
“I’m 11 and I’ve probably come to nine of these,” said Sarah Gorland, who was with her dad, Ron. “I love to dance,” said Sarah, who later proved it on the dance floor.
“This is a special night for daddies as well as for daughters,” Mayor Zavier Garcia said. “Everyone is having such a good time.”