Valdosta Daily Times

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February 5, 2013

Dance: A Family Event

VALDOSTA — It began as a small gathering for fathers and daughters.

It has become one of Valdosta’s most popular social events of the year.

Several years ago, Jeff Stewart co-founded the event with his wife, Becky, as a way for him to give a special night to his two daughters. Other fathers of First Presbyterian Church liked the idea and the Father-Daughter Valentine Dance was born. They could all dress up, go out to eat, and then attend the dance.

The idea: Fathers could set an example for their daughters as to how a man should treat them.

This idea caught on in a really big way.

As more fathers and daughters wanted to attend throughout the city and soon the region, the Father-Daughter Valentine Dance moved from the fellowship hall of First Presbyterian Church to the James H. Rainwater Conference Center. Soon, it outgrew even one dance, so that organizers split the evening into two shifts based on age categories. Then, two nights of two shifts each.

Thousands of tickets are sold each year.

The dance has attracted much attention from other locales as out-of-town and out-of-state organizations call local organizers for advice on developing their versions of the father-daughter dance. The Valdosta dance has been featured in a past issue of Southern Living magazine.

It is no wonder that the idea is such a success.

In this day and age when so many events have parents scrambling for babysitters and spending another evening away from their children, the Father-Daughter Valentine Dance embraces the concept of spending the evening out with one’s child or children.

The beauty of the Father-Daughter Valentine Dance is not so much that it is a social event, which it is. But the beauty of the dance is it is a family event.

The 17th Annual Father-Daughter Valentine Dance is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. or 9-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, Feb. 9, James H. Rainwater Conference Center. Tickets are $10 each, and should be purchased online at www.fatherdaughterdance.org

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