FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fathers and their daughters enjoyed an early Father’s Day celebration this month at the Fort Wayne Community Center at 233 West Main Street. They attended the annual Daddy Daughter Princess Ball.
“We’ve been doing it for about six years now,” said Steve Salcedo, father of three. “I started when it was just Kiley. She was the only one who was old enough.”
“It’s fun to dance because you can do whatever you want,” said Kiley. “Now I have Sienna and Skyler,” said Salcedo. “I’m like their first date in life.”
The Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department organizes the ball for girls ages 4 to 10. “We started eight years ago,” said Community Center Manager Patti Davis. “Basically it’s a great time for one-on-one activity time with dad. We try to do it the weekend of Father’s Day.”
This year the event took place June 12 amid the pandemic. It usually sells out with 60 couples, but this year that number was cut in half. Organizers say that made it easier to social distance. “With the social distancing and that, we had to cut the number down to half so we had 30 girls this year,” said Davis. “As for escorts it’s not just dads. We have step-fathers, grandfathers, neighbors, kind of a variety of people to couple up with the girls.”
In addition to dancing, there’s also finger food, arts and crafts and horse drawn carriage rides downtown at a cost of $24 dollars per couple. “This is the seventh year we’ve come,” said Josh Walworth. We’ve come since Karlee was four-years old.”
“I like to get a night out with my dad because I have an older brother and I don’t really want to be around him all the time,” said Karlee.
“She’s not going to be young forever,” said Walworth. “Just trying to cherish the moment and enjoy the time that we have.”
Chris Kerns agrees. He and his daughters Hannah and Rebecca have attended the ball for three years. “I get the joy of just being with them because they’re a blessing to me,” said Kerns. “I’m improving their self-esteem.”
For the girls, it’s all about spending quality time with dad. “We like to waltz,” said Rebecca. “We do like to waltz don’t we baby,” replied Kerns.
The Daddy Daughter Princess Ball is one of several events and activities offered this summer by the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department. “Everybody has been cooped up at home,” said Davis. “I encourage people to get out. I can tell you the Parks Department is very safe. We are following CDC guidelines.”
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