Mark Owen of Halbur and daughter Marissa, 4, dance at the Fairytale Ball last Friday night at the Carroll First Church gymnasium. Seventy-five girls along with 65 dads, grandfathers and uncles attended the inaugural event. <em>Daily Times Herald photos by Larry Devine</em>
Mark Owen of Halbur and daughter Marissa, 4, dance at the Fairytale Ball last Friday night at the Carroll First Church gymnasium. Seventy-five girls along with 65 dads, grandfathers and uncles attended the inaugural event. Daily Times Herald photos by Larry Devine
Fairtytales can come true. Little girls can wear tiaras and be princesses in dad’s eyes.

Just ask the 75 girls and 65 guys — mostly dads but also a few granddads and uncles — who escorted them to the first Fairytale Ball last Friday night at the Carroll First Church gymnasium.

The girls and guys were treated like royalty, beginning with the grand march.

Each girl was introduced with the title “Princess.” So entering the Ball, which featured a fairytale motif of castle, and horse and carriage, were Princess Avery, Princess Chelsey, Princess Marissa, and scores of others, each wearing a tiara.

Girls and guys were dressed up and had proud smiles as they stepped through the castle door, while moms and others in the crowd snapped photos.

Following the grand march, the girls, dads, grandfathers, uncles had the gym to themselves for the next two hours for an enchanted evening filled with music, dance, treats, picture-coloring and a storytime (“The Princess and the Kiss”).

The Fairytale Ball, intended for girls ages 3 to 12, was organized by five moms: Dayon Kjellberg, Sara Gyolai, Emily Ferneding, Jenica Raney and Breanne Sims.

Kjellberg, whose husband, Brent, accompanied daughters Ella, 8, and Rachel, 6, said the Fairytale Ball was modeled after similar evens in Pella and the Des Moines area.

“We had seen it done in other communities and thought it would be great here. … We thought it would be a good connecting time, an opportunity for one-on-one time,” Kjellberg said.

She said of the event, “It’s important for little girls to be treasured in their dad’s eyes, and not only their early dads, but we also want them to know they’re precious in their Heavenly Father’s eyes too.”

The girls received mementos, including a carnation, a party-favor bag of Hershey Kisses and Hugs, and a snowflake ornament with a note that says, “God made you unique just like a snowflake.”

Although Fairytale Ball event was held at Carroll First Church (formerly First Assembly of God Church) on U.S. 71 North and some of the organizers are members of the church, this was not a Carroll First Church event.

Ken Murray of Carroll, who took 5-year-old daughter Samantha to the Ball, said, “I thought it was a great bonding experience.”

Murray made an even bigger evening of it for Samantha, buying her a corsage and taking her to dinner beforehand at Charlie’s Restaurant.

“She was pretty thrilled,” he said of Samantha’s reaction.

“Other than renting a limousine. I was trying to make it as special as I could for her.”

Kjellberg said, “It’s probably harder for dads to relate to their girls. They kind of hang out with their boys and do sports and things. So I think this was kind of a neat idea for them to spend time together with their daughters.”

Murray said the organizers did a great job from the decorations to the grand march to the princess theme.

Judy Winkelman made the decoration props. The recorded music ranged from Disney show numbers to such participation favorites as “The Hokey Pokey,” “The Chicken Dance,” “Macarena” and “YMCA.”

“I think they did a great job,” Murray said. “It was cool with the dads all dressed up. And they were there for their daughters. That was spectacular.”

He added, “To me the biggest thing was seeing that every dad was very attentive to their little girl’s needs and making it very special for their daughters. Sometimes the persona is that mom is the caretaker and dad mows the yard and parallel parks. But it was nice to see the dads there and everybody having a good time.”

Kjellberg said of her daughters, Ella loved everything about the Ball, especially getting her hair curled and getting to wear a tiara, and Rachel enjoyed singing and dancing to “YMCA” with her dad.

Kjellberg said she was overwhelmed with the attendance: “We’ll need to have a parking attendant next year and possibly move to a bigger location, because I heard so many good things about it. People would like to do it again.”

Murray said he’d be cautious about the event turning too big but added, “I hope they do it every year.”

Cost was $10 per couple. Hy-Vee provided the carnations, and Carroll Broadcasting helped with promotion.