Sparkle in their Eyes – Twinkle in their Toes

The inaugural Southern Plains Father Daughter Dance was held at the Lamar Elks Lodge Saturday evening, January 23.  Roni Vallejos, child life specialist, coordinated the event as a fundraiser for the new Hospice Children’s Good Grief Center.

Roni and her team of Hospice employees and supporters spent time decorating, baking, and creating a “Winter Wonderland” inside the lodge, complete with snowflakes and a crystal clad chandelier swaying above the dance floor.   Large evergreens with snow and sparkling white lights near candle lit lanterns decorated the dance floor, tables, and foyer.

At 5:30 many of the Southern Plains fathers with daughters in tow, all dressed in their finest, graced the foyer of the lodge ready to dance and spend time celebrating each other.  Steve and Audrey Hernandez, owners of Audrey’s Karaoke and DJ service, graciously donated their time and “crowd involving” expertise.  They began the evening by encouraging the somewhat timid young girls to pull their dads onto the dance floor early and maintained their interest with fun music, competitive games like the hula hoop showdown, the dad’s pie eating contest, a dance off, a melting ice race, and a snowball toss.

Lea Austin and her performance dancers, from All The Right Moves came to give “princess lessons” to the youngest of ladies, and worked for the next 30 minutes to instruct guests in a ballroom dance lesson on a very full dance floor.  At 7:00pm Camella Northrup arrived in a beautiful blue floor length gown and was soon followed by a rush of young girls waiting patiently to hear her rendition of the popular Let it Go and Winter Wonderland.

Throughout the evening guests were able to fill a plate from the lovely white buffet table, where sparkling silver snowflakes dangled from the edges.  There was a delicious assortment of sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, cheese and crackers.   The focal point was an antique silver punch bowl filled with blue punch, sitting next to a gorgeous three tiered blue cake decorated with white chocolate snowflakes.  This exquisite display of food was prepared by a group of talented women and paid for by community donations.

In addition to all of the activities on the dance floor, local photographer Jessica Long donated her time and offered a photo booth, with silly props;  tutus, hats, and extra large sunglasses.  Smiles were contagious throughout the evening, evidence that it was an enjoyable evening by all who attended.  Local Home Store business owner and dad, Bryan Herrera stated “There hasn’t ever been anything like this locally, where we can take our daughters and enjoy this special relationship.”  As the evening came to a close, some of the young guests were asked what their favorite part of the evening had been.  Each of them said excitedly, “dancing with my daddy!”

A special thank you goes out to the Father Daughter dance committee members:  JoDell Rogers, Amber Herrera, Christine Sanchez, and Jana Weimer.  Roni stated, “These ladies were an incredible help from the beginning to the end and I am so grateful to have had their help.  They shared my vision and worked so hard volunteering their time and energy for the success of this event.”  Roni also reiterated that she is so thankful for her family and friends who brought their Christmas trees, came to help decorate, and clean up.

She said many businesses were instrumental in the success of the evening: donating their time, money, products, and services.  The Southern Plains Father Daughter dance committee also wishes to thank them publicly and encourages you to shop local and support our community businesses.  Audrey’s Karaoke and DJ services, Thoughts in Bloom, The Flower Boutique, Community State Bank, Jessica Long Photography, Yardscapes, Home Store, Timber and Exteriors by Leonard Mireles, Josh and Jana Weimer, Lisa Vallejos, Walmart, Beta Sigma Phi Kappa Masters Women’s Sorority, Peacock Funeral Home, Justin and Shelby Homm, Camella Northrup, Norm and Kay Arends, George and Nancy Idler, Brett and Angie Havenstein, Bettiann’s Gifts, Safeway, Lamar Lanes, All the Right Moves, Deloach’s Water, Lamar Movie Theatre, Radio Shack, and Brew Unto Others coffee shop. “We were inspired by the tremendous response and positive feedback to make the Southern Plains Father Daughter dance an annual event, and of course, we are always reminded of the generosity of this wonderful community, we call home.”

Please visit the Lamar Hospice facebook page or  for a slideshow of photos and videos from the evening.  Donations are still being collected at Lamar Hospice for the Children’s Good Grief Center, currently in progress.  Please stop by 108 West Olive if you are interested in contributing to this new program and center.

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