Annual Daddy-Daughter event enjoys best year yet

DOWAGIAC — Normally, children would not be caught dead inside of one of their schools on the weekend — especially on a Saturday night.

This past weekend, however, the atrium of Dowagiac Middle School was jam packed with local youngsters, who spent their Saturday night dressed in flowing, fancy dresses, making some special memories with their fathers.

The Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac hosted the fourth annual Daddy-Daughter Snowball at the school that evening, in conjunction with the Dowagiac Ice Time Festival. The dance was the largest and most successful in the event’s history, with more than 500 children and parents enjoying an evening of song, dance and family-fun aplenty, said Jeremy Truitt, chair of the Young Professionals.

Truitt was among the many members of the local service organization volunteering at the event Saturday. The Dowagiac man served as the DJ for the evening, playing everything from upbeat pop songs to slower tunes.

Helping out the Young Professionals was Alicia McClain, with Michiana Princess, dressed as the character Moana from the popular Disney children’s movie of the same name. Some local royalty also participated in the bash, with recently-crowned Miss Dowagiac 2018 Jadelyn Zimmerman and her court of honor greeting and taking photos with the girls in attendance.

By the end of the evening, many of the girls started to drift to sleep in their father’s arms, as they gently swayed to the music playing in the background.

Truitt said the atmosphere and enthusiasm he saw from guests that evening was incomparable to anything else he has witnessed, he said.

“I just saw smiles everywhere, from dads and their daughters,” Truitt said. “Lots of fathers came up to us throughout the night to thank us for giving them a chance to spend a few hours with their kids, doing something special like this.”

The Young Professionals has organized the event since 2015, as a way to help raise money for the organization’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show at Russom Park. Building off a solid debut year, the dance continues to grow in popularity every year, Truitt said.

This year was the largest yet. Members actually sold out of the 400 tickets they had printed in advance of the event, and sold an additional 50 to 60 at the door, Truitt said.

Guests hailed from not only Dowagiac, but several other communities in the region, from Niles to Stevensville to Three Rivers.

“We continue to be amazed by the support the community has for something like this,” he said.

While the event typically raises several thousand for the Young Professionals’ fireworks show, the Daddy Daughter Snowball is also a great way to get families out to enjoy the Dowagiac area’s array of restaurants and other local businesses, as many establishments offered discounts to ticket holders. Truitt said he saw many familiar faces from the dance enjoying dinner later in the evening.

“We’re getting families to come out and enjoy the community,” Truitt said. “It’s a great tradition, and we are excited about helping it continue.”

The Young Professionals’ fifth-annual fireworks show will be on Friday, June 29, with a rain date of Tuesday, July 3, at Russom Park. For more information about the service organization or learn how to join, people may visit facebook.com/YPDowagiac.

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