Dads, daughters sway below ocean waves

STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald

Willie Krischke and his daughter, Flannery, 3, swirl around the floor during Under the Sea, the fourth annual Daddy Daughter Dance on Friday evening at The River Church.

There’s a reason we have the phrase “Daddy’s little girl” in our culture, and it’s because there’s something very special about the relationship between fathers and daughters.

Four years ago, members of the River Church decided to honor that bond by creating a Daddy Daughter Dance. They held the most recent incarnation Friday night, and organizers went all out to make sure it would be a night to remember for the 259 guests. It didn’t matter whether the daughters were 2 or 16, the event was magical.

First of all, what girl doesn’t love a chance to dress up? Shimmery, sparkly, tulle, lace and lots of skirt-swinging outfits made it festive from the get-go.

Creative Directors Lori Quisenberry and Michelle Mulkey worked with a large team to bring the theme “Under the Sea” to life, complete with “floating” jellyfish and big screens of ocean scenes. Kim Beach, cast director, coordinated a cast of talented people to dress as oceanic characters including a lobster, starfish, angelfish and turtles to dance, sing and interact with the little ones.

Barbara Rosten, dance hospitality coordinator, and her team were not to be outdone by the ambience designers. They had fun creating a menu of seashell pasta salad, submarine sandwiches, a Chex-like mix of Goldfish, whale and oyster crackers, blue fruit punch, more than 400 frosted mini-cupcakes and blue marshmallow pops decorated with white icing “pearls.”

Except for the moms who were helping, it was all about the dads and their daughters. Jen Kline, director of Riverkids Children’s Ministries, said one of her favorite memories of the evening was watching a dad following his 2-year-old around exploring all the wonders – they never even made it to the dance floor, but they still had a great time.

Cardwell Aukerman Photography was on hand to capture the moment for reminiscing later.

Check out Neighbors online at more photos from this year’s dance.

The talented party organizers probably have their feet up right about now, but they’ll soon be picking a theme and getting to work on the fifth annual event, to be held next April, Kline said.

“Our goal is to create a place where dads and daughters can connect, have fun and create lasting special memories,” Kline said.

I think it’s safe to say “goal achieved.”


Happy May Day-plus birthday wishes go to Laura Lewis Marchino, Sophie Ragsdale, Jessie Sheldon, Evan Krispin, Bob Barnhardt, Donovan Davis, Shirley Gale, Jan Postler, Ryan Smith, Lucas Spaeder, Eric Hjermstad, Richard Kippen, Collyn O’Brien, Greg Drover, Alex McLean, Virginia Pewterbaugh, Amelia Best, Katy Freiberger, Joe Wade Plunk, Rita Warfield and Charles McMillan.


My apologies to my friends at De Colores Civitan. I meant to get this story in at the beginning of April, took a few days off, got all discombobulated and am still working to get everything in. So here I am, celebrating Civitan Awareness Month (April) on May Day. Yikes!

Civitan is a service club, and De Colores was founded in 1989 after a former Civitan, the Durango Civitan Club, met its demise in 1987. But not before helping build in 1983 Holly House, a group home for eight children dealing with disabilities, with some funding provided by Civitan International.

Ann Maness, group home manager, thought Durango should have a Civitan Club, both to support the group home and to have a Civitan presence in a town where service is a community value. (The name is derived from the Latin “civitas” for citizenship.)

Two charter members remain active in the club, Lon Erwin and Lonn Andrews, who live in Cortez. The group has met just about everywhere with food and meeting space, Erwin said – the Strater Hotel, the Holiday Inn, Lori’s Family Dining, Christina’s Grill & Bar, the DoubleTree Hotel and these days, Francisco’s Restaurante y Cantina.

One thing these folks do very well is provide volunteer support for other organizations and events, including Special Olympics, Relay for Life, Festival of Trees, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, highway and Andrews Lake cleanup, Taste of Durango, Manna Soup Kitchen, Project Merry Christmas, Salvation Army bell ringing and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Bloomers Sales.

They also raise money for their own projects, including a recent donation to the Durango Adult Education Center for a scholarship for a student seeking a GED diploma.

It may not be April anymore, but that doesn’t make the need for awareness of this dedicated group any less important.

To learn more, email President Janet Oliver at And next year, for your silver anniversary, I promise to do it up big!


Forecasters say it’s going to warm up Friday, just in time for the Mountain Middle School Golf Tournament, which starts at 9 a.m. that day at Dalton Ranch Golf Club.

Billed as “Golf Under Par for Education Over Par,” it costs $125 per person, $500 per team, which includes all the necessities for a good day on the course.

If you’re a complete duffer or nongolfer like me, you can still support the public project-based-learning charter school at the Mexican dinner and silent auction at Dalton Ranch Pavilion at 6 p.m. The cost is $25 for adults and $12.50 for kids.

Call 769-0404 to book the last slots at the tournament today.


Trees are abloom for the anniversaries of Joe and Daphne D’Agostino, Don and Ann Briscoe, Roy and Janie McLaughlin, Clark and Caroline Kinser, Rob and Maria Kolter and Randy and Molly Bondow.

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