The lights were turned down low, the music was jamming, and balloons were bouncing all over the dance floor.  Everything was draped in purple and gold.  Even the lights on the wall had a hue of purple shooting up to the high ceiling of the hall.  Families entered through a golden curtain dressed in their best.

My children were dressed in suits and ties, or a sparkly dress.  Squirming with excitement their eyes were huge as they took in the sight.  This was our first ever family dance.  What made it even better?  It was with friends AND they could wear masks!  A masquerade ball was just kicking off!

Children of all ages swarmed the dance floor.  Some dancing without a care.  Others grabbing friends by the wrist to chat.  The youngest grabbed balloons and dashed from one end to the other while others stared entranced by the lights.  At one point, there was a train of children of all heights giggling their way around the entire venue.

Parents could be seen mingling from table to table.  Couples were dancing, while some preferred to sit back and watch the evening unfold.

Pitchers were filled at each table with sweet lemonade and iced water.  Plates were filled with fixings from the taco bar, complete with beans, two types of tortillas, and all the cheese my daughter cared to eat.  The child loves cheese.  The unveiling of dessert caused a rush to receive a helping of homemade strawberry shortcake topped with homemade whipped cream.  Dietary concern?  It was gluten free and it was delicious!

Dashing around all evening was the woman of the hour who planned the entire evening, Larkin Trainor.  With her baby by her side, she could be seen all night refilling pitchers, checking on food, chatting with friends and family, and simply making sure everyone was enjoying themselves.

Larkin and her family pulled off quite a night.  From the extensive planning to the washing the last dish from dessert, she executed an event where families and friends could get together for a night of good old fashioned fun!

Now, I know throwing a party can be intensive and sometimes, rather stressful.  This was a Party with a capitol “P”!  How did she do it?  Why?  I had to know.  So I asked.

This is the second time Larkin planned a dance for ENRICHri.  She took on the task because her teenage daughter asked for a dance event.  After receiving board approval, Larkin and her daughter, Kaylee, got to work.

Though Larkin and Kaylee headed took the reins, there were many other people who provided services to create the event.  Julia Arnold, head of special events for ENRICHri, Larkin mentioned, was an asset in planning.  Her husband was helpful but Larkin said her father-in-law was the man who helped bring it all together.  He was able to secure the venue for the dance because “he holds a seat on the board for the venue” as Larkin shared with me.  It’s always good to know a guy.

In true homeschool fashion, planning the dance was an opportunity to learn.  Together, Larkin and Kaylee worked out a menu, decorations, seating, for just over 100 people. As she said “it took some work” even though she has had experience catering.  Larkin admits even if it was challenging to plan dance with four kids at home while juggling making the food (yes, she made all food) and decorations, “watching everyone have such a grand time and hearing how thankful they are makes all the hard work worth it!!!”

Larkin wanted to provide her daughter with an experience.  She made it happen not only for Kaylee but for the ENRICHri community.  I asked Larkin what advice she would give to someone who was thinking about running an event she responded “I guess the best advice I can pass along to others is it’s always a bit nerve-wracking planning events, plan/play to your strengths! And know that the enrich community, board members and members alike, are extremely supportive and will do everything they can to support and help!”

As she and her family recover from the weekend of excitement, Larkin has already begun brainstorming for next years dance.  She and her family look forward to the dance, they always have a good time.  Larkin mentioned “I think I am doing a pretty good job filling the void of a ‘school dance’ for my teenaged daughter”.

Pretty good?  I would say pretty fantastic!  Thank you Larkin and Kaylee.

by Beth Daley

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