Popular daddy-daughter, mother-son events coming up in Hgtn.

Boys and their moms participate in activities including playing with Legos at the 2018 Mother-Son Extravaganza event sponsored by the Huntington Parks and Recreation Department. This year’s event will take place March 2 at the First Merchants Heritage Hall on the Huntington County Fairgrounds.
Boys and their moms participate in activities including playing with Legos at the 2018 Mother-Son Extravaganza event sponsored by the Huntington Parks and Recreation Department. This year’s event will take place March 2 at the First Merchants Heritage Hall on the Huntington County Fairgrounds. Photo provided.

Hundreds of little girls are dreaming of a special night with that special guy.

Those dreams will come true later this month at the Daddy-Daughter Dance, undeniably the most popular event sponsored by the Huntington Parks and Recreation Department.

“I kind of describe it as a little bit like prom for kids and their dads,” says Sharon Cuttriss, who coordinates the dance as well as other parks department activities throughout the year.

Originally a one-night affair, the formal dances are now held on three consecutive nights — this year on Feb. 22, 23 and 24 — to accommodate everyone who wants to come. Saturday and Sunday night tickets have already sold out, but some tickets may still be available for the Friday dance.

Tickets can be purchased by calling the parks department office at 358-2323, extension 2502. Anyone who waits to buy tickets at the door is likely to be disappointed, Cuttriss says.

Many of the attendees dress to reflect the year’s theme, with upper elementary and middle school girls making up a large part of the crowd. But the dance also brings out girls as young as 2 or 3 through those in high school, Cuttriss says.

Decorations will reflect the “Daddy-Daughter Dance in Wonderland” theme, snacks and drinks will be served and a DJ will provide the music.

Cuttriss and a team of parks department staffers expect to spend a day and a half setting up and decorating and community volunteers will help serve refreshments, collect tickets and clean up.

She expects between 250 and 300 people to attend each of the three sessions at First Merchants Heritage Hall on the Huntington County Fairgrounds. Friday’s event is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with dances on both Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Doors open a half-hour earlier each night for pictures.

Another popular activity is the Mother-Son Extravaganza on March 2, a companion to the Daddy- Daughter Dance. The Mother-Son Extravaganza usually draws a crowd of about 300 people and, this year, is a one-night affair.

“The Mother-Son is a lot less formal,” Cuttriss says. “For some odd reason, the boys don’t want to dance with their moms quite as much.”
Instead, mother-son pairs enjoy a bounce house, games, Legos, a cash raffle, a DJ and more. The boys are mostly elementary age, but younger and older siblings also come along.

In fact, many of those attending the dance and the extravaganza make a night of it, going out for a family dinner before the events.
“It’s meant to be a fun family night,” Cuttriss says.

The Daddy-Daughter Dance does bring in a profit, Cuttriss says, and that money is put back into other programs held throughout the year — mainly the Summer Parks And Recreation for Kids (SPARK) program.

SPARK is a six-week program offered in June and July for children ages 4 through 14. Adults lead arts and craft sessions, games, sports and field trips and the Huntington County Community School Corporations provides lunch.

Also for kids, the parks department partners with the Parkview Huntington Family YMCA to sponsor a soccer program for boys and girls ages 3 to 18 years. Last year, about 500 children played in the Huntington United Soccer League. Signups will start in late March or early April, with play beginning about a month later.

Not everything offered through the parks department this spring and summer is designed for the younger set.

The parks department will coordinate a community garage sale on April 13, open to anyone who wants to rent space (the fee includes two 8-foot tables) in Heritage Hall. Participants can sell anything that’s legal and family-friendly, Cuttriss says. And at the end, a charitable organization will come through and pick up any leftovers their owners don’t want to haul home.

Last year’s garage sale drew 37 sellers and between 200 and 300 buyers.

Adult softball leagues — both coed and men’s — are offered in the summer and fall, with games played at Hier’s, Yeoman and Evergreen parks.
Cuttriss also plans smaller, one-day events throughout spring and summer, including a birdwatching hike along local trails on April 27. An Audubon tour guide will teach participants how to identify birds.

Craft days will be offered throughout the summer, along with Toddler Tuesdays, which give the younger set a chance to play and meet other kids their age.

More events will take place next fall and winter.

All activities sponsored by the Huntington Parks and Recreation Department are open to anyone; participants don’t have to be residents of the City of Huntington.

Events can be tracked on the Huntington Parks and Recreation’s Facebook page (make sure you get the one in Indiana, Cuttriss says) and on the parks department’s page on the city website, huntington.in.us/city.

For more information call the Parks Department office at 358-2323, extension 2502.