By Kelly Youngblood
For the last 18 years, dads and daughters in the Champaign-Urbana area have gotten dressed up and enjoyed a night of dancing, food and fun activities at the Urbana Park District’s annual Daddy Daughter Date Night.
This year, everyone is invited to the dance.
The Urbana Park District has opted to change the long-standing tradition of Daddy Daughter Date Night to Family Date Night, in the hopes of promoting more inclusivity within the community.
Erica Cooper-Peyton, community program coordinator at the UPD, has planned the Daddy Daughter Date Night for the last 10 years.
She said she decided to shift the focus this year so anyone could spend a special night with his or her child, not just dads and daughters.
“I want anyone who would like to enjoy a special night with their child to be able to. I don’t want to exclude adults or children because they do not fit into the male adult and female child roles,” she said.
Cooper-Peyton said she’s always held the philosophy and policy that anyone was welcome to attend but she felt she needed to take some action.
“The title of the event needed to change,” she said. “It is my hope that all families, regardless of sex, gender, or family role will feel included and welcomed.”
Besides a new title and an open invitation to anyone in the community, another new feature this year is more than one adult can come. Cooper-Peyton hopes that change will encourage families to attend the event together.
While Cooper-Peyton had some initial concerns people might miss the idea of a dance designed for dads and daughters only, she says there hasn’t been any complaints so far.
In fact, the only difference she’s seen has been the list of registered participants.
“Our registration is way more diversified now,” she said.
Family Date Night will be held on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 6-8 p.m. at the Phillips Recreation Center, 505 W. Stoughton in Urbana.
The cost for the all-ages event is $30 per couple by Jan. 21; $40 per couple after that. (Each additional person is $8/$10.) The deadline is Jan. 28. Online registration is available but closes a week before the event.
Editor’s Note: for information on other Daddy Daughter/Mother Son events, we have collected those below: