Better than Valentine roses: Quality time with Dad

Most of the ladies were in dresses, some in formal full-length ones. The men likewise were pressed and polished.

Upon entering the event, each lady received a stemmed flower as well as a wrist corsage. After photos were taken, the couples sat down for dinner and later, dancing.

However, this wasn't an early prom dance - although the ladies were the sweethearts of the men in another sense.

The men were all fathers and their "dates" were their daughters.

The event was sponsored by the Barnwell city recreation department and held Feb. 7 at the Merge, the activity center at First Baptist Church.

This is the first time the city recreation department had held an event of this type, said Emily Randell, the recreation director.

"I thought it would be like a good date night for dads and their daughters," Randell said.
The idea is to give fathers some quality time with their daughters for bonding. The event was open to girls between five and 12, she said.

Randell started a daddy-daughter dance when she worked for a recreation department in Illinois that continues the event, she said.

Randell didn't have to search far for the inspiration for the event - as a child, she had gone to one with her father.

"We danced and we did dinner and some crafts. I remember my sisters went too and it was a fun evening," she said.

Randell made sure the Barnwell event had the same activities too.

About 40 fathers and daughters attended.

Decked out in a Valentine red party dress, 7-year-old Megan Repass sat beside her father, Greg Repass.

Megan isn't old enough to date, but father knows it will arrive soon enough.

"My purpose here is to show my daughter what to expect when she starts to date. A gentlemen should hold a door open for a lady," he said.

For Matt Jenkins, the event was a chance for his granddaughter Starr Carstarphen to be a lady.

"She's such a tomboy, I thought this would be a good chance for her to dress up," he said.

It was also an opportunity for the grandfather to dote on his only granddaughter - age 7 - too.

"I might spoil her a tad bit," he said in confession.

Another confession.

"We share a habit - we both like to eat. Time with granddad is a trip to McDonalds," Jenkins said.

The event also gave Jenkins an opportunity to show appreciation to Starr for her good behavior and good grades, he said.

"Not that she should expect rewards for her grades, but it's an appreciation for what she does," Jenkins said.

At one table before the dancing started, Chaunayshia Chisolm, age 10, and her father, Shawn Chisolm had their heads nearly touching as they worked together on a coloring book.

What does Chaunayshia think of her father?

"He's cool - he spoils me. He buys me things I want," she said.

But even without gifts, Chaunayshia said her father was tops because "he takes care of me."

Greg Williams already spends a lot of quality time with his daughter, Skyler - but in less formal situations.

Williams coaches a recreation league softball team. His 11-year-old daughter is one player.

"We spend a lot of time together. I enjoy coaching these girls. That's how I give back," he said.

To Skyler: "Is dad pretty cool?"

A shy giggle, then a nod.

Silly question.