Girls Inc. Father Daughter Dance breaks attendance record

When the first notes of the “Baby Shark” song came over the speaker, Tim Horton cringed.

It’s not a song he really wanted to hear at the annual Father Daughter Dance on Saturday night at Girls Inc. of Jackson County.

“This song haunts me,” he said jokingly.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

But there’s nothing the Seymour resident wouldn’t do to make his 12-year-old daughter, Lucy, happy, so he joined her on the dance floor, clapping his hands together like a shark’s jaws.

The smile on Lucy’s face was well worth the few minutes of having to hear the silly song, he said. Later on, the two busted out their moves for the dance competition, winning the 11-year-old and up age division.

For Tim, the event is so much more than just a dance. It’s an opportunity to spend quality time with Lucy, doing something she wants to do.

It’s also a way to show her how a boy should treat a girl, he added.

“Bringing her flowers, holding the door open for her, dancing with her, making sure she feels special, it’s things like that,” he said. “I’m just glad she still wants to be seen with me.”

The Hortons have been going to the Father Daughter Dance since Lucy was a little girl.

“It’s so much fun, I’ll probably want to come back for it when I’m in college,” she said. “I just love the aspect of celebrating fathers and daughters and that whole special relationship.”

But the dance wasn’t just for dads. Girls could bring any important male figure in their life as their date.

“We have grandpas, we have stepdads, uncles, older brothers, stepbrothers, cousins, neighbors, family friends, any man who plays a significant role in a girl’s life can come,” said Kelly Royer, Girls Inc. program manager.

The Hortons were just one of many couples that attended the event, which broke last year’s ticket sales. The final tally of the night ended up at 616, which was nearly 140 more people than last year.

Royer said a change in location may be needed next year to accommodate the growing crowd. The event used to be at Seymour Middle School before moving to the Girls Inc. facility on North O’Brien Street when it was built in 2008.

For those not interested in dancing, there were plenty of games, food and door prizes to keep them entertained throughout the night.

Peyton Croquart, 10, of Seymour couldn’t wait to get her father, Greg, out on the dance floor with her.

“We’re definitely going to floss,” Peyton said referencing the popular dance move that only kids seem to be able to do.

This was Greg’s first year to attend the dance.

“She came with her stepdad last year,” he said. “I was excited to be able to make it this year.”

Croquart said he was just enjoying spending time with Peyton and watching her have a good time with the other girls at the dance.

“I think this is a great event for our community, and I’m glad Girls Inc. is willing to put it on,” he said.

The dance was only part of the experience for many of the girls, who spent the day getting dolled up in fancy party dresses, their nails painted and their hair done up.

“It’s really a girl’s first prom,” Royer said.

Some couples went out to dinner beforehand, with the girls getting to pick where they wanted to eat.

“One wanted chicken nuggets, and the other wanted steak, and I told them they could have whatever they wanted and eat as much or as little as they wanted because tonight is all about them,” said Ryan Culbreth of Seymour.

Culbreth said he was lucky to get to escort both of his daughters, Carter, 3, and Collier, 7, to the dance for the first time.

“If one doesn’t want to dance with me, then hopefully the other will,” Culbreth said.

But Culbreth didn’t have to worry, as both girls reveled in daddy’s attention, one on his hip and the other holding his hand.

Royer said she loves to watch the men interacting with the girls and remembers when her father took her to the dance.

“It was the first time I got flowers from my dad, and that was 30 years ago,” she said. “Now, my dad is here tonight volunteering to help us out, so after all those years, we’re still going to the Father Daughter dance together.”