Friday, Feb. 8 was a magical night for over 300 Oakdale residents who attended the Second Annual Boots and Bows Father Daughter Ball, hosted by the Oakdale Sunrise Rotary Club. The event was held at the Gene Bianchi Community Center.
In keeping with the spirit and tradition of this event, corsages were given to every little girl, and there was also face-painting, a full candy table with chocolate fondue station, a free piece of jewelry for each girl, tons of food and goodies, professional photography to capture the moment, a D.J. to get the party going, and most importantly, a ton of great memories.
There were also a few upgrades this year. One of those was a professional magician who roved around the community center making balloons and doing magic tricks for the kids. Pink and red balloons filled the community center, giving it a Valentines but also country feel.
Dads, uncles, and even grandfathers were in attendance, all of them looking dapper. There was an array of outfits, from men wearing full suits to jeans and cowboy boots. The girls were dressed to impress as well, wearing princess dresses and cowgirl boots.
“This event is so incredibly rewarding for us,” said Patrick Mondragon, Sunrise Rotary Member and creator of the Father Daughter Ball. “To see the smile on those kids’ faces makes all of the blood, sweat and tears totally worth it.”
Due to the popularity of the first event last year, Sunrise Rotary decided to boost the ticket sales to 300, up from 250 from the previous year. Although they increased the number of attendees, the event quickly sold out.
“We did not expect this event to sell out that quickly but were happy to see the level of interest and know that this has caught on,” said Mondragon.
“This is such a great family-friendly community event; that is what we were aiming for when we started this,” said Linda Kemppainen, OSR member.
“This event was not originally intended to be a fundraiser,” added Mondragon. “We just wanted to create a night of great memories for dads and daughters, and a way for them to bond.”
Any money that is made will go right back into community programs, events, and needs.
In selling tickets, some of the Rotary members were treated to some great stories from those who attended last year.
“Apparently there is a group of dads who are all friends and they and their daughters all get together before the event and go out to eat … then they come to the dance together,” explained Mondragon. “I also heard from one dad who said that last year he rented a limousine and took his daughter for a ride in a limo on the way to the event. How cool is that?”
This event definitely would not have been possible without the overwhelming support and generosity of great citizens, the organizer added. Professional photographer Amy Velasco donated her time and took wonderful pictures. Party-it-Up Cali donated their time by doing free face painting. OSR also received sponsorship donations from Chicken Ranch Casino, Home Smart, Freedom Mortgage and more. OSR member Jamie Cimoli donated free advertising in the Oakdale, Riverbank, Direct magazine.
“Moss Rose donated the cutest cookies in the shape of boots and bows too,” Mondragon said.
All of these generous donations allowed the Sunrise Rotary to lower ticket prices, at just $30 per couple. This in turn allowed more people to attend.
“We didn’t want this to be expensive and wanted to make it affordable for everyone,” said Mondragon. “That’s all part of giving back to the community which is what Rotary is all about.”
As the event continues to grow in popularity, the Sunrise Rotary is definitely looking into ways of expanding it, to allow for even more families to come together for a great night of bonding and family-friendly fun.