Dancing the night away

Kaden Clay and Ella Sparks were crowned the prince and princess of the Sweetheart Dance held Feb. 11 at the West Jefferson Community Center. This is the second dance the village has hosted for youngsters. The first was a winter formal which took place last year.

(Posted Feb. 14, 2022)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

With the deejay music flowing, approximately 200 youngsters danced the night away at West Jefferson Parks and Recreation’s first-ever sweetheart dance.

The event, open to children in kindergarten through fifth grade, took place on Feb. 11 at the West Jefferson Community Center. While it was the village’s first sweetheart dance, it was not its first dance and likely won’t be its last.

“We did a winter formal last year, and it went really well, too,” said Shelton Stanley, West Jefferson’s special events and recreation manager. “Seeing the amount of kids who showed up and seeing them have fun is great. It’s just been a great thing for the community.”

Adults might get a chance to get in on the fun, too. Stanley said he is looking into the possibility of holding an adult prom sometime in May.

“We’ve had a bunch of people in the community asking about it,” he said.

The winter formal and the sweetheart dance both included a charitable element. Participants had the opportunity to donate $1 for admission and make donations to purchase concessions. The winter formal raised $900 for West Jefferson’s Adopt-A-Family program at Christmas. The sweetheart dance raised $900 for the Humane Society of Madison County.

“Whenever we do things like this, it’s nice to be able to give to different types of organizations in need,” Stanley said.

Coming up this spring, the parks and recreation department will host two Easter egg hunts. A sensory-friendly hunt, reserved for children with special needs, will take place on April 2 at the community center. Information about registration will be released soon. The community Easter egg hunt is set for 10 a.m. April 16 at the Jack “Rock” McDowell Athletic Complex (Converse Park).

In addition to the possibility of an adult prom, May will bring the opening of the municipal pool on May 30. The village is currently taking pool rentals for parties.

Lunch & Learn returns this summer. Open to all children younger than 18 years old, the program provides learning activities and free lunch three days a week. This year’s schedule will run on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, June 6 through early August.

Friday Night Uptown returns to the summer schedule, as well. Initiated last year, the activity brings live music and food vendors to the area behind Huntington Bank on Center Street with hours of 6-10 p.m. On June 10, the entertainment will include an Elvis impersonator and the Lee Gant country music band. The food options that night will be Fuller Flavor (hamburgers, fries, etc.), Guelaguetza (Mexican food), and Rolling Oasis (ice cream). The village likely will hold a craft vendor night on this date, too.

On July 15, the Friday Night Uptown entertainment will feature Pandora Effect, a band out of Cincinnati that plays music from the 1980s and ‘90s. Food options will include The Crabby Girl (seafood), Guac & Roll (Mexican food), and Miller’s Ice Cream. On Aug. 5, North To Nashville will perform country music, and the food vendors will be Three Flame BBQ, Roadside Lunchbox, and Layla’s Sweet Treats.

Stanley is excited about the events planned for the spring and summer.

“We’re just waiting for the weather to break so we can get everybody out and about and having fun,” he said.

For more information about upcoming events, programs, shop hop vendor spaces, and pool rentals, call Shelton Stanley at (614) 307-6543.


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