The inaugural Dads and Daughters Gala was so much fun and so well-orchestrated that the organizing committee
might be wondering “What can we do for an encore?”
But Ronnette Wongus, secretary-treasurer of the Dads and Daughters Gala, and the other members of the committee can still bask in the success of this year’s event for a little while, can’t they?
Leny Thomas, star chef and event founder, Tracy Ventura, organizer, Andrea Valentine, Richard Valentine, and Julio Tavarez were the other key members of the committee that staged the gala social and dance on July 14 at the King’s Lynne Community Building.
The Valentine family generously donated the venue for the event while four boys from the King’s Lynne Youth Klub served as volunteer food servers. Ventura donated Father-Daughter T-shirts, LaShaunda Hogan and Chris Merryman donated the table cloths and seat covers and helped decorate the hall while Diane Harrison distributed 45 candy gift bags.
More than 60 daughters and fathers enjoyed an evening of dancing, music, socializing, and eating delicious foods.
What was the inspiration for the gala?
“I watched a video of a dads and daughter gala on Facebook and it’s something that they hold down South, and I wanted to bring it to our community,” said Ventura.
Leny Thomas jumped on board immediately and the event committee met for months with the hope of making it a special night for all the guests.
The night of the gala, the guests, attired in evening gowns, were treated to Sephora makeovers by Kim Nguyen and Erica Tapia. They received tiaras upon their arrival at the function hall. Each guest also had a photo taken by professional photographer Maria Aybar of Maria Aybar Photography. Each girl also received a poem from her father.
DJ Jasper (Ronnie Smith) held interactive dances with the daughters and fathers. There were games such as limbo and dance freeze-off. Bernardo performed the Elvis song, “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”
“The DJ kept them very entertained,” said Thomas. “He did a great job.
Antonio Gutierrez of LYSOA, Leny Thomas, and Julio Tavarez delivered inspirational remarks to the gathering. School Committee member Michael Satterwhite brought the greetings from the Lynn School Department. Ward 6 Councillor Peter Capano was also in attendance.
The menu consisted of chef salad, roasted chicken, grilled steak, roasted vegetable medley, herb roasted potatoes, with an orange ver blanc sauce, and rolls and butter. The guests also had strawberry mint lemonade, berry lemonade, and punch, along with cupcakes for dessert.
The committee took pride in the fact that the Dads and Daughters Gala is believed to be the first ever held in Lynn.
“We believe this was historical,” said Wongus proudly. “My goal for this event was to have this city accomplish something that was magical for the fathers. I don’t feel like the fathers have been recognized. When Tracy brought this vision to us, we wanted to make sure that we were able to capture the essence of a relationship between a father and his daughter. And I think we were all very successful in completing that mission.”
“It was a great success,” added Thomas, who attended the gala with his daughter. “At one point in the evening, Julio Tavarez’s daughter said to him, ‘Dad, thank you for bringing me to this event.’ “And this is why Julio and I got involved – the bond that a father and daughter shares is special.”
“Next year is going to be even bigger and better,” predicted Ventura.