Wearing their finest clothes, hundreds of girls crowded the Brazos Center on Saturday to spend time with their fathers for a magical night of cookie decorating, picture taking and twirling on the dance floor for the second night of the Children's Museum of the Brazos Valley's 2019 Daddy Daughter Dance fundraiser.
Mary Chambless of Bryan just turned 10 on Thursday, and she decided to spend her birthday weekend at the event with her dad, Jason, a local engineer. Mary has a brother and two step siblings, and in a family of six it can be hard for her to have a lot of quality time just with her dad. That's why she's loved attending this event for the past six years.
Mary dazzled in a black and white gown with golden brooch, and her father matched in a dark suit, with black-and-white tie and pocket square. Mary and her mother selected her dress, and then Jason Chambless had Mary select the perfect matching tie for him.
"I usually don't dance much, but here I kind of feel like I need to show her it's OK," said Jason Chambless, who added he taught his daughter how to ballroom dance.
"Yeah, he crazy dances like a short worm," Mary said, noting she takes dance classes.
Addison Giordano, 9, daughter of Brazos County constable Chris Giordano, softly spoke while sitting at her table Saturday night, her voice drowned out by the Disney movie soundtrack music playing over the loudspeakers. Despite her shyness, Addison made her dad's spirit glow brighter than the twinkling crystal lights shining over the ballroom floor.
"She's probably the only one I would come here and act goofy with," Chris Giordano said.
Addison couldn't pick which part of the night she enjoyed most, saying she liked all of it, including the cookie decorating, craft making and dancing. For Chris Giordano, not only was this night fun, but it was also an important opportunity to act as a positive male role model.
"This gives me a good chance to take her out and show her how she should be treated by someone when she's on a date some day," he said.
Dion McInnis, a freelance photographer in Bryan and software developer for Texas A&M, brought his three daughters -- Lillian, 8, Heidi, 5, and Annaliese, 3 -- to Saturday's event. Though he's been to the dance before, this was the first time he could take all three girls.
"It's fun, and we can spend some quality time with our dad," Lillian said. ".... My dad is funny, nice and he's handsome."
"I like dancing, and I like making cookies," Annaliese added.
Lillian said she and her dad share a love for photography. She also likes when her father, an Aggie alumnus, takes the family to Student Bonfire each year. The family also have memberships with the Children's Museum, so they can make visits there together,
"[This dance] is just another opportunity to spend time with my girls," Dion McInnis said,
Jordan Boatman of College Station is 15 and has attended the dance for seven years with her dad, Lawrence. The two still like going to movies together, and her dad helps run the taekwondo studio where she practices.
"I love my dad," she said, giggling. "He's funny. I like his humor and personality. He's pretty fun."
Jordan was ready to hit the cookie decorating table.
"She hasn't grown out of any of the activities here," Lawrence Boatman said.
For well over 10 years, the Daddy Daughter Dance has brought thousands of dollars to the Children's Museum. Museum executive director Jabot' Colvin said he expects this year's event will have brought in about $50,000, after the silent auction donations are counted. About 600 child and adult tickets were sold for this event.
These donations fund general operations of the museum, though the museum is also raising money toward their goal of making a "Play Aggieland" exhibit, an indoor playground modeled after Bryan-College Station businesses and landmarks such as the Queen Theater. The museum still has $60,000 to raise toward their $100,000 goal for the project, which was a large focus at the dance.
For more information on the museum, visit cmbv.org.