Daughters in sequins and dads in ties, sons in button-downs and moms in Sunday-best — the California Elementary School gym was filled Jan. 3 for the PTO Me and My Special Guy dance.
The 14th annual evening allows a student to invite and an adult important to him or her for the evening.
"It's nice to make their first date something special," grandpa Timothy Wilkerson said. Invited by Izabelle Lewis, 6, Wilkerson said, "I'd do anything for my grandkids."
Elizabeth Sullivan, 8, brought her dad, Matt Sullivan, for the second year.
"She's been excited for weeks," Matt Sullivan said.
Along the hallway were raffle baskets, donated by parents, teachers and volunteers. Glow sticks, wacky sunglasses and glittery tiaras were popular. And Portraits By Shawnna provided a studio-quality photo shoot experience.
Inside the gym, a table-full of snacks was kept in supply. A DJ kept the dance floor full with lights and sounds. And Darkside Photo Booth allowed the couples to sport Mardi Gras-style masks or fedoras for fun photos to take home.
New this year, each grade selected its own class song. As each song was announced at the dance, the students danced together.
preK - "Can't Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake from the movie "Trolls"
Kindergarten - "Peanut Butter Jelly Time"
First grade - "My House" by Flo Rida
Second grade - "Thunder" by Imagine Dragons
Third grade - "The Best Day of My Life" by American Authors
Fourth grade - "What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction
Fifth grade - "Havana" by Camila Cabello
"Mothers/sons, fathers/daughters, aunts/uncles, grandparents — whoever their special person may be is a welcomed guest," PTO President Ronessa Gunnerson said. "We hope that this dance provides families with an evening of dancing, fun, and an opportunity to make memories."
Girls wore furs and sequins, heels and boots. Boys wore vests and ties or polos and jeans.
Karalyn Freiner, 7, and her dad Cameron Freiner took to the dance floor early having a good time, even with "the Chicken Dance."
Mom Karin Ratcliff attended for the first time with her son, J.W., 5. They took advantage of the photo booth to take home some "silly pictures" she will put on the fridge, she said.
Unlike a normal school day, she said J.W. picked out his own dress clothes and fixed his hair for the event.
"It is a way for families to have an enjoyable, yet affordable, evening," Gunnerson said. "The event has continued, because it has been so successful. We tend to see a large crowd, have a great response, and still manage to raise funds for our PTO, (which) help purchase playground equipment, school supplies, and various additional classroom needs that arise."