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Sugar Plum Ball brings fathers and daughters together, raises money for children


When Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote the “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” for his ballet, “The Nutcracker,” in the late 1800s, he probably did not have Justin Bieber in mind.

But times change and the music of Mr. Bieber and company brought fathers and daughters to the dance floor at the 15th annual Sugar Plum Ball at the Dulles State Office Building Saturday night.

The event, which benefits children’s services at the Watertown Family YMCA and Samaritan Medical Center, is part of the North Country Festival of Trees.

“It’s a way for fathers and daughters to get out and kick off the holiday season. It’s a special event for them,” said Michelle M. Nickles, Samaritan Foundation’s community relations coordinator.

And the event is not only for fathers and daughters.

“We do have some families that come with sons or as whole families,” Mrs. Nickles said.

Louis C. Carlos and his daughter, Allison, have been coming to the dance since Miss Carlos was 13.

“She’s my baby girl,” Mr. Carlos said.

Now 21, Miss Carlos owns a dance studio and works in real estate, but the pair keep coming back.

“Every year he asks me if it’s going to be my last,” Miss Carlos said.

As a dance instructor, Miss Carlos said she has taught many of the young ladies who attended the ball.

“It’s nice to spend time with them outside of the studio,” she said.

Both Mr. Carlos and his daughter said that the best part of the evening was getting to spend time with each other.

“As long as she wants to keep going...” Mr. Carlos began. “He’ll keep coming with me,” Miss Carlos finished.

Just off the dance floor Maj. James R. Stamper, of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division, was keeping an eye on his 6-year-old daughter, Rylee.

“I think it’s great.” Maj. Stamper said. “I’m having fun because she’s having a blast. She’s been talking about it all day.” He said his daughter heard about the ball at school and was excited to be with her classmates.

“She’s already 13 in her head,” he joked.

Maj. Stamper moved to the north country with his family in July, when he was stationed at Fort Drum.

Tickets for the dance cost $70 per couple and $35 for each additional person. With more than 700 people expected to attend and a successful festival thus far, Mrs. Nickles said the North Country Festival of Trees would raise well over $100,000 for area children.

The festival raised $109,000 in 2011 and $125,000 in 2012.

A tree designed by Bernier, Carr & Associates and constructed with a holiday cupboard and wrapped canned and dry goods won the prize as most creative and sold for $6,000.

It was purchased by Watertown Savings Bank, Timeless Frames, Slye & Burrows law firm, Lawler Realty and RBC Wealth Management. The canned goods will be donated to the Watertown Urban Mission, according to Mark R. Lavarnway, Watertown Savings Bank CEO and president.

Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry presented daughters who attended the dance with custom necklaces, which were dispensed from Santa’s Magic Toy Machine — an elf-run system that transformed tickets into jewelry on a conveyor belt.

“It grows every year so we have to make more and more necklaces,” said Kendralee A. Kittelson, who works for Perrywinkle’s.

After Santa arrived and led a version of the Village People’s “YMCA,” Justin Bieber could be heard over the speakers above the stage where Border 106.7 disc jockey Johnny Spezzano was hosting the dance.

“Baby, baby, baby oooh,” Mr. Bieber sang.

The fathers did not exactly run for the dance floor.

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