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TRADITION: Dad takes his daughters to Father Daughter Dance for almost three decades

Going on year 27!
A family tradition.
Posted at 6:44 AM, Jan 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-30 09:44:24-05
  • One local man has been taking his daughters to the Valentine Dance for almost three decades.
  • In this video, 23ABC's Ava Kershner finds out why the tradition is still standing, despite the daughters now having families of their own.

“We haven’t missed one yet,” said Bill Galbreath.

Bill Galbreath started taking his daughters to the father daughter dance when they were teenagers.

And 26 dances later-

Emily Winther, one of Galbreath’s daughters, said,“We used to dress fancier, but as we get older, we like if I’m gonna be dancing.”

“I'm going to be wearing flats,” Erin Mcardle, one of Galbreath’s daughters, chimed in.

The tradition started in the 90s, and according to the sisters you can tell.

“And the hairdos, those were definitely the early 90s,” said Mcardle.

The only years that broke the streak were the dances canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But in 2024, this is set to be their 27th father daughter dance.

“Those teen years, sometimes kids can get embarrassed of their parents. Did you guys ever go through that with your Father Daughter Dance?” I ask.

 “Not with the Father Daughter Dance but with the embarrassment yeah, all the time. That’s part of my job is to embarrass my children,” said Galbreath.

Over the years, the family finds themselves explaining their tradition more and more, because:

“As you’re getting older… Then they stop showing up because the kids are grown up and got married and moved out of town, and I’ve had guys say ‘Oh I’m really sorry I can’t find a daughter or granddaughter to bring because I miss that,” said Galbreath.

Meanwhile from old ticket stubs to family photos, the Galbreath dining room table is covered with memories.

When asked why he takes his daughters to the dance every year, Bill says:

“Well, we’re family. And it’s important to me that we keep in touch,” said Galbreath.

The dance is intended to provide an example of what a healthy relationship with a male figure looks like, and how girls should be treated by their future partners.

Despite the sisters already having families of their own, they keep the custom, because:

“Dads and sons will do stuff, and moms and daughters will do stuff but just to kind of, like, emphasize that dads and daughters need to spend time too,” said Winther.

“We’re going to be here until we can’t be here just because it’s not necessarily tradition, but it's important,” said Mcardle.

The family tells me that their favorite song to dance to is the one that always closes out the night- Louis Armstrong’s “What a wonderful world.”

For more information on the Father Daughter Valentine dance, click here.

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