By Andrew Kelleher
Lansing Star staff writer
The music was turned up and spirits were high. The boys and girls had their dancing shoes on, and parents wore smiles from ear to ear. Every year, the Monday before Valentines Day, the city of Lansing hosts a daddy/daughter and mother/son dance, and this year was no different.
On Monday, Feb. 7, the Daddy/Daughter Fairytale Ball and Mother/Son Excalibur Ball were held at the Lansing Center, off East Michigan Avenue in downtown Lansing. Special recreations services coordinator for the city of Lansing, Emily Stevens, said the dance was “a big hit” with around 300 people.
The city of Lansing puts on this event, not to generate profit, but to provide fun activities for residents. Stevens said, “all the money helps offset the cost, but we (the city) actually don’t make any money on it.”
First-timer Troy Stowell, accompanied by his 5-year-old daughter Ava, said, ”I think it was definitely worth the time and effort to come out and do it, just get a chance to spend some one on one time and have a good daddy/daughter (or mother/son) night that you don’t usually get.” What Stowell said was mirrored on the faces of all those in attendance. It was a break from the usual routine for most people. A day set aside during the year where a mother and son or a father and daughter were guaranteed to spend a memorable night together.
As far as anyone knew at the dance, the city of Lansing has held this event for more than 30 years. As a result, it has become a tradition for many people. DaVonte Cotton, a 12-year-old at Pleasant View Visual and Performing Arts Magnet School, is one of those people. He has been coming to the dance with his mother, Linda Cotton, since he was 6 years old. When asked what keeps him coming back, DeVonte said, “I enjoy the dancing, the food, and hanging out with my mom.” He isn’t the only one. Stevens said, “We have anything from infants all the way up to girls who are 18, 19. So, it becomes a nice tradition for a lot of people who have been going forever.”
Next year’s dance will be the Monday before Valentines Day, as it always is, helping to create a memory and a tradition. For details and suggestions contact Emily Stevens at 517-483-4293 or firstname.lastname@example.org.