Daughters boogied with their dads Saturday.
Approximately 280 attended the third annual Daddy-Daughter Dance, according to co-organizer Kristen Partlow.
The popular event, held at the Park Rapids Area High School, is sponsored by the FATHER Project and Violence Prevention Program. It attracted families from the Twin Cities, Brainerd, Bemidji and the surrounding region, co-organizer Joe Johnson said.
All wore their finest - from tots to teens and fathers to grandfathers. After supping on a fully catered, professional meal, the dashing pairs whirled on the dance floor. The entire dinner was donated by Cindy Lou's in Nevis.
The gala included dessert, a silly photo booth, grand march, door prizes, games and crafts.
Johnson heard praise from attendees who plan to attend next year as well.
The photo booth was a huge hit, he said, with each family getting a strip of fun photos emblazoned with the FATHER Project on them. "They could take them and have all these extra memories to go along with the event itself," he said.
The dance is the brainchild of Citizen Fathers, local men who have completed the FATHER Project.
The Citizen Fathers certainly shined in the spotlight, as they busted out impressive dance moves during a surprise, halftime routine.
"It was a lot of hours of practice," Johnson said, adding that his daughter and Partlow's daughter choreographed the routine. "Both are in dance."
All proceeds benefit a compassion fund for FATHER Project families in need.
"Essentially, 95 percent of the guys who are hitting a point where they need some financial assistance like that, I will work with them and generally can help them without touching the fund," Johnson explained. To address the root problem, they may work together on budgeting skills, employment or resume writing. Sometimes the FATHER Project advocates for that father through MAHUBE or social services, he said.
"We've had some individuals that were losing their place to live. We were able to help save their home. We've made sure they have groceries. We had a family who had their electricity shut off in the summer," Johnson said.
Major sponsors of the dance were Steve Noonan American Family Insurance, CHI St Joseph's Health, Citizens National Bank, Hoffman Electric and RDO.