Many thanks to the organizers of the seventh annual Father-Daughter Dance, and for the first of what will hopefully be many Mother-Son dances. The dances are organized by Holly Wilmot. In 2013, Holly, then a mother of two young daughters, felt called upon to put together this time-honored tradition that is quite common in other communities.
She wanted to create an opportunity to build stronger families by building on relationships in the community. In her words, “I really wanted to see stronger families and the only way you can have stronger families is by strong relationships.” Creating traditions builds those relationships and community. When Ben and Holly added a boy to their family a couple years ago, she decided the tradition had to grow to include her son and herself.
The first Father-Daughter Dance drew about 30 people to the Methow Valley Community Center gym, followed by the Twisp Valley Grange in subsequent years. The event has grown by twofold each year, and was expected to draw over 300 Saturday night. The popularity led organizers to host the event in the Cub Gym at Methow Valley Elementary School this year, having outgrown the Grange.
Many people helped Holly orchestrate the event. Angelia Smith, of Angelia Smith Wedding & Event Design, was the event designer. The theme, “Mermaids and Pirates,” transformed the gymnasium into an imaginary underwater world of kelp beds, jellyfish twinkling with LED lights, hidden treasures, and bubbles. Balloon art features were adorably crafted by the Methow Valley News’ own Darla Hussey (as a side business, not part of her gig at the paper), giving the event an endearing aura. Simply put, the decor was exquisite.
Jeremiah Fosness of DJ Bullfrog Entertainment DJ’d the event, following in the footsteps of Noah Ashford who oversaw the music for the past seven years. Kitty from Old Time Photography was there to take posed dance photos with an underwater backdrop. Mandy and Paul Schmekel from Methow Moments provided the tables and chairs. Many friends and family were there all day Friday to set up the event.
Food was generously donated and prepared by local bakeries, restaurants and friends. Bubbling fountains of fruit punch, cheesecakes, cupcakes and fresh Blue Star Coffee were just a few of the enticements. Even if you are a non-dancer, the food alone was well worth the entrance fee of $10. Door prizes, raffles and dance-off prizes were generously donated by local businesses. I won a $35 gift certificate for Glover Street Market! Thank you! The real prize was seeing the genuine joy and love in the faces of moms and dads watch their kids have fun on the dance floor. Break dancers, line dancers, moon walkers, and two-steppers were among the lot.
As a new tradition, the mother-son dance had mixed reactions when I asked friends if they planned to go. Dances aren’t for everyone — they even bring up dread for some who don’t have fond memories of junior or senior high dances. Boys especially are a harder sell — get dressed up, dance with your mom? When I asked one 11-year if he was going with his mom, he replied, “um … awkward.”
I could only convince my 6-year old to go with me. Sure, I could have required my 10-year old to go by pure obligation, but I took the path of least resistance. After seeing the spread of delicious food, prizes and videos of his brother boogying to Michael Jackson, he just might be convinced for next year. And so, like the Father-Daughter Dance, the Mother-Son Dance will likely grow in years to come. Thank you, Holly, and all the parents and kids who are part of this growing tradition.
This tradition does beg the question how to integrate non-traditional families. The answer is, come to either dance! You can choose to be a mom or dad — there were daughters at the Mother-Son Dance, and boys aren’t turned away at the door of the Father-Daughter Dance. The idea is to build lasting memories and strong families, and just dance.