Bryan Hathaway admits it takes a lot to pull him onto a dance floor.
“My family knows I’ll dance once a year,” he laughed. “And that’s willingly.”
His annual dancing takes place only at the father-daughter dance at St. Patrick’s Church in Owego. The event, founded nine years ago, united numerous fathers and daughters Feb. 11 for a night of dancing, games and refreshments.
Hathaway, who has three daughters, confesses he enjoys the evening and special memories.
“It gives me an opportunity to spend time with my girls,” he said. “In a fast-paced world when kids are involved in sports or other activities where we pass in the hallway, it’s nice to take time out and just have an evening for us.”
Hathaway’s older daughter, Brianna, 11, also enjoys the event.
“I think it’s fun because it’s just you and your Dad,” the sixth-grader said. “We dance, talk and eat stuff. We also spend time with our friends.”
The semi-formal dance included music from DJ Johnny Only, with activities such as the chicken dance, electric slide, balloon relay and door prizes. Hathaway’s wife, Bonnie, organized the event this year, and indicated that all proceeds from ticket and food sales benefit St. Patrick’s Church.
The church advertises the dance around the town and school, so the participants often come from all walks of life in the community. The daughters usually range in age from 4 to 16.
“It’s a great event for fathers and daughters, and it’s a wonderful community event in a church setting,” Bonnie said.
Janet Krasniak founded the event at St. Patrick’s after her husband and daughters attended a similar dance in another town.
“They had such a great time,” she said. “But it was so far away, so we thought it would be a fun thing to do in Owego. I felt it would be a great event for the church. And it’s such a special night for them.”
Krasniak’s husband, Steve, begins the evening by presenting his daughter with a corsage, then taking her out to dinner.
“Most fathers really enjoy it, believe it or not,” Steve said. “It’s especially important, I think, because you won’t always be able to do it. As daughters grow up, they want to do other things, but it’s a great dance and gives us a lot of fun times.”
This year, Steve attended the dance with his youngest daughter only, because his two other daughters are older now. But he remembers one year when he danced with all three.
“I was on the dance floor a lot, because I was doing a trade off,” he laughed. “But I was so happy to do it. It was a special year.”
His date for this year, daughter Carolyn, 11, was excited about the dance and hoped to continue going each year with her father.
“I’ve been going for seven years now,” she said. “It’s a fun night, and I like getting dressed up in a special dress. I like having this special time with my Dad. I also get so see my friends. It’s great.”
“We have taken pictures through the years, and it means a lot to go back and look at those and remember the fun we had,” Bryan Hathaway added. “You can’t put a price on that.”