By Katie Stiefel
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
They arrived as belles of the ball and left as sleeping beauties.
The Princess Glamour and Sparkle Ball, hosted by the East Lansing Parks, Recreation and Arts department, spanned Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the Hannah Community Center, 819 Abbott Road. During the two nights, more than 500 preschool, elementary and middle school girls and their loved ones attended the ball.
East Lansing program coordinator Kathleen Miller organized the event with the help of high school students. The event started as a daddy-daughter dance but has grown to include any loved one, not just a father.
“I think some people think that because it used to be called a daddy-daughter dance, they assume that there has to be a male in the picture, and that’s not necessarily true. That’s why it’s called a princess ball,” Miller said.
Miller said she has seen older brothers, mothers and grandmothers throughout the years at the ball. One mother was East Lansing resident Jennifer Merritt.
“It’s a little different being a mom here, but I wanted to make sure she got to experience something like this with me,” Merritt said.
It took two hours to curl her 5-year-old daughter’s hair and dress her up, but Merritt said it was worth it to see her daughter’s excitement and energy throughout the night.
Alex Bodfish, an East Lansing High School student and assistant to Miller during the ball, said she enjoyed the energy she saw in the girls as well.
“It’s a happy environment. They get the goodie bags, they get to make cards and keep memories. It’s a special night for everybody,” Bodfish said.
Bodfish helped with arts and crafts during the ball. The girls and their loved ones were also able have their photo taken by a photographer and dance to songs like “Call Me Maybe,” and “YMCA.”
When the clock struck 8:30 p.m., many of the girls were seen sleeping on the shoulders of their loved ones. This was Haslett resident Dan DiMaggio’s fifth time at this dance, which occurs annually around Valentine’s Day.
“It’s great just seeing them have fun and dance and be with their friends. It’s just a fun time for them,” DiMaggio said.
DiMaggio’s 8-year-old daughter, Annabelle, said her favorite song to dance to was “Scream and Shout,” by the Black Eyed Peas.
According to Miller, the preparation for the ball took about 20 hours including the shopping, creating the decorations and setting up the decorations.
“It’s like a miniature prom,” Miller said.