Music such as “The Chicken Dance,” “Hokey Pokey” and “YMCA” let dancers shake all about at the fourth annual Fairytale Ball at the Carrollton Centre.
Music such as “The Chicken Dance,” “Hokey Pokey” and “YMCA” let dancers shake all about at the fourth annual Fairytale Ball at the Carrollton Centre.
February 5, 2014

Greg Villegas broke the secret to his daughters - 5-year-old Sophia and 8-year-old Olivia - just a few days before Saturday's fourth annual Fairytale Ball.

Three weeks earlier, he'd bought tickets so that he and his daughters could attend the event for the first time at the Carrollton Centre.

And what was the reaction after he told the girls? Well, Villegas relates, that's when the high excitement began.

"They were thrilled and jumping up and down," Villegas said during a brief break from dancing at the Ball Saturday night. "Every day it was 'How long before we get to go?'"

Villegas, who works for INS Group in Sac City, acknowledged he was looking forward to the Fairytale Ball himself, and Saturday's event lived up to his hopes.

"It's a great time for the girls to come out with their dad, time we can spend together and have a good time, just to have that one-to-one contact of dad with the girls," he said. "It just really lets them know we're here as their dads."

Comments such as Villegas' are music to the ears of Dayon Kjellberg and Amy Ferneding, who were among the five or six moms who spearheaded the inaugural Fairytale Ball. Kjellberg and Ferneding remain the event's main planners since the others have moved from the Carroll area.

Kjellberg said of the purpose of the event, "We just want these girls to feel treasured by their dads, to feel precious. If they grow up feeling that way, they're going to have a more healthy self-image."

She adds, "It's great for dads to be able to spend that time with their daughters. When I watched those dads dancing to 'Butterfly Kisses,' one of the last songs at the evening Ball, they were embracing their daughters and slowly swaying. It kind of melted my heart. That's what it's all about, just spending that quality time."

The Fairytale Ball welcomes dads, grandads or uncles to attend "a magical night of fun, dancing and snacks" with their princesses, ages 3 through 12.

The event leads off with a promenade, introducing the princesses and guys as they enter the Carrollton ballroom through a castle-door decoration. After the princesses' families - moms, brothers, sisters, grandparents - take photos recording the big event, they're shooed away, and the evening is turned over to the princesses and their dates.

Scott Masching of Time of Your Life deejay service played an array of music - from the "Chicken Dance" and "Hokey Pokey" to "Butterfly Kisses."

Villegas, watching daughters Sophia, a kindergartner, and Olivia, a third-grader, dance to "YMCA" quipped, "It's like the ultimate wedding for kids. They get to dance and have all the fun."

The event, though, also incorporates faith elements.

During a short break from the dancing, all the girls gathered around Princess Tasha Winkelman and Ferneding as they read to them the story "Princess With a Purpose." That story, Kjellberg said, tells the girls "you all are princesses, even if you're not the daughter of a king and queen, you're a daughter of the King of Kings."

Immediately before the dance, the princesses and guys paused and bowed in a short blessing.

"We want to pray a blessing over the evening that everything goes well and everybody has a wonderful time," Kjellberg explained.

Also, the girls all received a bracelet and attached was the Bible verse Ephesians 3:17: "May Christ dwell in your heart through faith, that you will be rooted in Christ's love."

"We weave in a message of faith, just enough that you feel a peace and a really joyful time being there," Kjellberg said.

The Ball has quickly grown in popularity, from a single event the first two years to two sessions - afternoon and evening - the last two years. Location was moved from the Carroll First Church gym the first year to the more spacious Carrollton Centre. Still, tickets sell out quickly. This year, tickets went on sale Saturday afternoon, Jan. 11, at Westgate Mall, and all 450 - 225 each for the afternoon and evening sessions - were sold in a little over an hour.

"There were people in line we had to turn away. We felt really bad about that," Kjellberg said. "We don't want to tell anyone that they can't come, yet we had to do that. It's hard to turn people away."

The Fairytale Ball is a nonprofit event. Ticket-sales funds go toward expenses, and the event also receives support from local businesses.