For Niles dads and girls, a magic night
Elli Seeley, 7, of Niles enjoys a dance with her father, Dan Seeley, at the Niles Park District Little Ladies Winter Dance for girls and their fathers. | Ari Neiditz ~ for Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:18AM
Brian Courtney smiled at his 13-year-old daughter who was all dressed up at the daddy-daughter dance that they have been coming to since she was 3 years old.
“It’s like a prom for us every year,” said Courtney, about the special annual dance held by the Niles Park District. This year’s event took place on Friday, Feb. 1.
Courtney, of Chicago, explained that his daughter missed her own school dance to come to the daddy-daughter dance with him last year.
“I like it,” said his daughter, Caitlin Courtney. “I think it’s really fun.”
“We love it,” said Courtney. “We’re going to come as long as we can.”
Courtney explained that they used to come with a bunch of other dad-and-daughter duos, but as the girls got older, some of them stopped coming. He’s thrilled that his daughter still looks forward to the special dance with her dad, he said with a huge smile.
For more than 20 years, the Niles Park District has organized this special night of dinner and dancing for girls and their dads, grandpas or uncles.
About 39 couples attended this year’s event, which creates many special memories for girls and their fathers.
A slow dance to “It’s a Wonderful World” kicked off the dancing portion of the evening, which soon picked up speed.
The music of the evening included the Hokey Pokey, oldies and a Mickey Mouse song, as well as modern top-40 songs like “Party Rock Anthem” and “Call Me Maybe.” The girls also giggled as they were playing a game of freeze dance.
Jim Grammas, of Niles, has been taking his twin girls, Ellie and Yana, to the dance for the past four years.
“The girls absolutely love this,” shared Grammas. “It’s one of their favorite days of the year.”
Grammas, who serves on the Culver School Dist. 71 board of education, said that it’s an opportunity for his girls, who are now 8 years old, to go on a “date.”
Grammas said he hopes they will always be respected when they’re on dates in the future.
For some couples, it was their first experience at the daddy daughter dance.
“It’s probably the most I’ve danced in my life,” said Rusmir Zec, of Morton Grove, who brought his 6-year-old daughter, Maja.
Zec said that once his wife heard about the event, he didn’t have a choice about going to the dance. All joking aside, he said he was having an awesome time at the dance with his daughter and that he would definitely bring her back in the future.
“It’s special time bonding with my daughter,” said Peter Arvanitis of Niles, about the dance. He said it’s his second year bringing his six-year-old to the dance and she really looked forward to spending time together.
Tom Sotos, of Niles, was swinging his daughter, Evelina, out on the busy dance floor.
“I love it,” said Sotos, who said that it was great to have a night to spend with just his daughter.
Taking a break from all the action on the dance floor, dads and their daughters took photos together and went home with a framed picture to help them remember the special night that they shared.