Families shake a leg at Spring Lake Park Sweetheart Dance

Parents and grandparents swept their littlest sweethearts onto the dance floor for the first ever Sweetheart Dance in Spring Lake Park Feb. 15.

Josie Carlson, 5, left, spurns requests to dance from young Alex Bohl, 3. Alex didn’t lose courage, asking several other ladies to dance that day. Photos by Olivia Koester
Josie Carlson, 5, left, spurns requests to dance from young Alex Bohl, 3. Alex didn’t lose courage, asking several other ladies to dance that day. Photos by Olivia Koester

Sponsored by the Spring Lake Park Parks and Recreation Department, Community Education and Lions Club, the Sweetheart Dance had everyone feeling the love – almost everyone.

When 3-year-old Alex Bohl asked Josie Carlson, an older woman at 5, to dance, he was met with giggles and a flat denial.

Alex didn’t lose courage, flitting around the dance floor and attempting to hold other young ladies’ hands and give hugs.

DJ Dean Downs, a physical education teacher at Park Terrace Elementary School, led dancing for nearly an hour-and-a-half.

Boys and girls could break for Valentine’s cupcakes and other snacks, as well as crafts – coloring pages and rainbow scratch hearts.

The Spring Lake Park Parks and Recreation Department has been looking for ways to collaborate with SLP Community Education and the Lions, according to John Angell, program supervisor with the department. The Sweetheart Dance and upcoming Easter Egg Hunt provide that opportunity.

The department is also pushing for more intergenerational programming, Angell said.

After hearing of parent-child Valentine dances in the southern United States, Angell jumped on the idea. Down South, many are very formal, but “we wanted to do something more casual and just fun,” he said.

One hundred and sixty people registered for the event, though turnout was less.

Kimberly Caillier pins a boutonniere on son Hunter, 7, at the Sweetheart Dance Feb. 15, sponsored by the Spring Lake Park Parks and Recreation Department, Community Education and Lions Club. DJ Dean Downs, a physical education teacher at Park Terrace Elementary School, helps families get their groove on. Nancy Downey boogies with her sweetheart, granddaughter Claire, 2. Cheyenne Sogge, 6, scratches designs on a heart with dad Chad Sogge. Brother-and-sister pair Dennis, 6, and Daisy Rock, 4, take a twirl on the dance floor. Josie Carlson, 5, left, spurns requests to dance from young Alex Bohl, 3. Alex didn’t lose courage, asking several other ladies to dance that day. Dani Davis, 8, colors a Valentine’s picture Feb. 15. Pretty in pink, Ann Smith and daughter Madeline, 7, do the Chicken Dance. Many moms and dads picked up their Valentines for a final spin on the dance floor. Ashish Gandhi dances with daughter Priya, 4.
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Kimberly Caillier pins a boutonniere on son Hunter, 7, at the Sweetheart Dance Feb. 15, sponsored by the Spring Lake Park Parks and Recreation Department, Community Education and Lions Club.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]