Dancing the night away

Sgt. 1st Class Marcin Piasecki, of the 781st Military Intelligence Battalion who lives in Midway Commons, photographs his 5-year-old daughter Ella during the Father Daughter Ball on Oct. 1, 2016, at Club Meade. (Photo by Steve Ruark)

A touching moment at this year’s Father Daughter Ball was when fathers held their daughters’ waists and slow danced to “My Girl” by the Temptations in the Club Meade ballroom.

“This is the best event,” said Stacey Elliott, a network researcher at the National Security Agency, after dancing with his 10-year-old daughter, Daisy.

“We wouldn’t miss it. She loves it,” he said.

The Elliotts were among the 343 fathers and daughters to attend Fort Meade’s third annual Father Daughter Ball on Saturday evening.

The 3 1/2-hour event featured dinner, music, a magician, arts and crafts, and a portrait photographer.

“This event is one of our most popular events on the installation,” said Candace Godfrey, market manager at the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. “The tickets went on sale Sept. 1 and sold out in four business days.”

About 80 people were on the waiting list for tickets.

The ball was a Team Meade garrison activity and a collaboration between FMWR’s marketing division; the business operations division; Child, Youth and School Services; and Army Community Service.

Roses For Little Girls

“It’s a magical event for our fathers and daughters, and it gives them time to spend together in a fun atmosphere,” Godfrey said. “It also is keeping with the tradition of military balls, which are very popular in the military community.”

The ball was a formal event. Fathers wore their military dress uniforms or a formal jacket and tie, while daughters were dressed in colorful or pastel gowns and party dresses.

When the participants entered Club Meade, each daughter was given a long stem rose provided by a local florist.

Staff members from Fort Meade’s Exceptional Family Member Program made paper corsages for the young girls and teens. Staff members from CYSS took free portrait photographs.

Larry Mitchell, a hairstylist who lives in Chicago, arrived at Fort Meade earlier in the day just so he could escort his 9-year-old daughter Aniyah to the ball.

“I came to celebrate her and make her happy,” Mitchell said. “I believe there are special moments in her life that I need to be there and so I’m here.”

Aniyah said she loves spending time with her father and dressing in fancy clothes.

“He’s fun,” she said. “We dance a lot.”

Garrison Commander Col. Tom Rickard came to the ball with his daughter, Sarah, 11.

“We’re having a great time,” he said. “This is kind of our special time to be together.”

Rickard said he was “very proud” of all “the Fort Meade employees who worked so hard to put this together.”

Special Moments

Tim Hall, a magician and mind reader based in Owings Mills, has provided entertainment at the ball since the event was first held three years ago.

“I love it,” said Hall as he performed a card trick for a little girl at one of the dinner tables.

“It’s gentlemen and little princesses. It’s a great event. I wouldn’t be any where else.”

After dinner, Hall performed a 30-minute magic show using cards, a rope, dental floss and a paper bag.

The show was followed by more than an hour of music, provided by CMJ Entertainment based in Odenton.

Fathers and daughters danced to pop music, the sounds of Motown, country songs and ballads.

Many fathers took pictures on their cellphones to capture the special moment of their daughters twirling on the dance floor.

Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Johan Hubenthall of Naval Information Operations Command Maryland came with his daughters, Adelina, 7, and Anaiah, 3.

“I want them to know how precious and extremely valuable they are to me,” Hubenthall said. “I also want to teach them what a gentleman should do when he takes them out.”

Adelina said she was having a great time.

“It’s really fun to hang out with my Daddy,” she said. “I’m proud he’s in the Navy. The Navy protects us and keeps us safe.”


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