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Daddies and daughters go to the ball

It was a night to remember for daddies and daughters at District 833 Community Education's "Cinderella Swing" at Woodbury Junior High School on Feb. 19. Justin Olsen and four-year-old Rose stand by the arch at this year's event. Staff photo by Amber Kispert

Little girls are often told that they're princesses by their fathers, and on Feb. 19 they all had a chance to prove this true at District 833 Community Education's "Cinderella Swing" -- the daddy-daughter dance -- at Woodbury Junior High School.

"It is one of the few special dress up opportunities for dads and their daughters. It is a great way to create special memories," youth programs coordinator Sue McKeown said. "And the little girls love the opportunity to dress up and be a princess."

The dancing and the live band, the Dweebs, drew 1,000 daddies and daughters.

In addition to being able to act like a princess for the night, before the clock struck midnight, of course, the girls were also able to meet some of their favorite princesses. Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora (AKA Sleeping Beauty), Belle and this year's new princess, Jasmine, were at the dance.

The five princesses were junior high and high school students, some of who have attended the event in the past.

This year's Belle, 13-year-old Anna McKeown, is a first-time princess and went to the daddy-daughter dance a total of three times when she was younger.

"It is every little girl's dream to be a princess and this is the night they get to be one," she said.

Last year, Anna volunteered as a greeter at the door and sprinkled fairy dust on the guests, but she wished upon a star and her dream came true. She became a princess.

"It is something that I always wanted to do," she said. "Who doesn't want to dress up as a princess and it is so fun to make it a great experience for the girls." Anna had her work cut out for her when preparing for her role of such an iconic princess, so she watched several "Beauty and the Beast" films, as well as read all of the picture books.

"I wanted to get to know more about my story," she said. It's the magic and the fun that draws the daddies and daughters year after year and makes the Cinderella Swing one of Community Education's most popular events, McKeown said. "The little girls love the whole magical atmosphere -- you can never have too much sparkle."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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