Grace Place gears up for annual father-daughter dance with steampunk theme

By Shelley Widhalm

The Surveyor

Fathers and daughters entering Grace Place on Oct. 27 will be in for a few surprises as they are swept back and forward in time.

A father and daughter pair dance last year during Grace Place’s annual Father and Daughter Dance. Grace Place changes the theme each year for the dance. This year the theme is steampunk.

This year the Berthoud church will feature the Steampunk Father and Daughter Dance for the sixth annual event that brings together fathers and daughters for an evening of dancing, food and entertainment. The event is open to daughters of all ages, even adults, who want to experience the Victorian era mixed with futuristic machinery and gadgets.

“It will be a surprise, but there will be steampunk decorations,” said Kellie Davidson, children’s pastor at Grace Place, who helped organize the event with about 50 volunteers. “There will be a steampunk carnival sort of feel. We’ll use a lot of different colors and metals, a lot of metals and gears and clocks.”

Steampunk is a subgenre of speculative or science fiction that incorporates technology and designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery and the Victorian era. It also is a subculture of literature, movies, gaming and fashion that entered mainstream pop culture in the late 2000s that combines retro and futuristic concepts and settings.

“The area we’re focusing on is Victorian steampunk, the old Victorian style mixed with futuristic steampunk-powered machinery,” Davidson said. “There’s going to be some big pieces and eye-catching things.”

The dance has a different theme each year — last year it was Hollywood and the red carpet, and before that, Arabian Nights and an enchanted fairy evening.

“Each year I try to think of something that will be original or different or appealing to girls and also to dads,” Davidson said. “This year the theme is really fun with a very whimsical and magical feel.”

The steampunk dance will take place in the church’s auditorium, café and plaza. There will be deejay music and dancing in the auditorium, heavy appetizers and desserts in the foyer and café, and entertainment on the plaza that will include fire and hula-hoop performers. There also will be a photo booth with photographs taken by a professional photographer.

“Some of the food will go with the theme, but we try to make it food that everyone will like,” Davidson said.

The entrance to the church and the plaza will be decorated in a way that adds an extra layer of surprise for event attendees.

“We won’t give too much out. We try to have that ‘wow’ factor as people enter. …When you get in the auditorium, it will be more of a party and dance setting, she added.”

Attendees are encouraged to dress in steampunk costume, and the 20 to 30 volunteers working that evening also will wear steampunk to add to the atmosphere.

Last year 250 people attended the dance, coming from all over Northern Colorado, and this year the hope is for a turnout of 300.

The dance began to give fathers and daughters an event geared just to them. In June a campout provides the same sort of opportunity for fathers and sons to bond as they camp together and take lessons in rock climbing, fly fishing and archery.

“We really wanted to create an opportunity for dads to create a special memory and experience with their daughters,” Davidson said. “A lot of girls leave thinking it was the best time of their lives.”

Jordan Austin of Berthoud, a member of Grace Place, volunteers at the dance with his three sons, ages 3, 6 and 9, to support fathers spending time with their daughters and to teach his sons basic manners. He has his sons dress up and greet guests by opening the door for them and shaking their hands, Austin said.

“I’m pretty passionate about getting dads involved with their children. This gives dads a chance to dress up to the nines with their daughters and have a memorable experience.”

The Steampunk Father and Daughter Dance will be 7 – 9 p.m. on Oct. 27 at Grace Place, 375 Meadowlark Dr. Tickets are $15 per person, which covers the cost of the event.

“I really think the biggest thing that really makes it an enjoyable night and why it’s such a passion of mine to do it every year is to see the happiness on these girls’ faces to be spending time with their dads,” said Davidson. “Between the fun, the food and the dancing and eye-catching decorations, there’s something just magical about the evening that makes it really fun.”

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