By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
“I heard about the ball from neighbors and was looking forward to spending some father-daughter time with my daughter,” said Lance Knopik, of Little Falls. “It gave me a chance to interact with her one-on-one.”
Knopik and his 8-year-old daughter, Kerstin, attended the first Father Daughter Ball Sunday, March 18, at the Falls Ballroom.
“The covenant we signed is something physical to show our daughters that we support them. We tend to tell them we love them, but to have this to let them know we will be there for them is a great idea,” Knopik said.
Each father at the ball signed a covenant pledging to “encourage her to walk in the love of Christ; to always remember that she is beautiful; and to forever hold her in my heart.”
They also promised through the covenant to “fully strive to be honorable in my own life as a man and father” and to “commit myself to be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray for my daughter and my family.”
After the fathers signed the covenant, the daughter or daughters signed it as witnesses.
There was a wide age-range of fathers and daughters attending, said Kate Bjorge, chair of the planning committee. “There were two two-year-old daughters, and the oldest daughter was in her late 40s.”
Although the ball was sponsored by Faith Lutheran Church in Little Falls, the planning committee was composed of people from several area congregations, including one in Brainerd.
Bjorge said, “There were 230 tickets sold, with 97 of those being for fathers. Several fathers had more than one daughter. One dad brought his five daughters and one granddaughter.”
“The event was so covered in prayer,” said Bjorge. “It exceeded all our expectations. Every ticket holder came.”
“We could have sold 50 more tickets after the deadline, but really had to hold fast to that date because we had to have the exact number of meals for the caterers.”
“The Ballroom absolutely outdid themselves,” said Bjorge. “The staff did an outstanding job with the meal.”
Trevor Swanson’s wife found a notice of the Ball and wanted her husband to take their two daughters. “I wasn’t too thrilled at first, but began to see it as a fun day to spend time with my daughters,” said Swanson, of Holdingford.
“The main focus of the evening was the message to bring our child up in God’s eyes, to always be there for them,” he said. “We have to know how important a father’s role is in bringing up our daughters.”
“It was good to see them so happy and to spend time talking with them while we were eating,” he said. “They really enjoyed learning to line dance.”
Eighth grader Mitch Magee of Randall, who was a server at the Ball, said, “The speaker talked about the responsibility of being a father, and it did make me think about that responsibility I may have in the future.”
“Signing the covenant was amazing,” said Magee. “There’s good reason to do that.”
“Fathers requested that mothers and grandmothers not be at the event,” Bjorge said, “so it would remain an event for fathers and daughters only.” The only exceptions were the five ladies on the planning team and the photographers, she said.
Cyndi Stanek, one of the photographers, said, “It was so emotional to see these dads with their daughters, seeing so much love.”
Knopik said, “Kerstin was so excited — she loved it. Her favorite part was the dancing with dad.”
“The disc jockey was so moved by the events that he asked for a copy of the covenant for himself and his daughter,” said Bjorge. “He asked to be invited back to do the music for next year.”
Gabrielle Meyer, whose husband took their two daughters to the Ball, posted on Facebook, “My blog post about the Father-Daughter Dance has received more hits than any of my other ones — people are very interested in this event and everyone I talked to had a great time.”
“It was a way to show our daughters that as dads, we care about them,” said Knopik, who has six children.
“I will definitely go again; I hope it becomes an annual event,” he said, “so I can bring my younger daughter too when she is old enough.”