Generational hits to rock Parks and Recreation Center

Many events cater to children with their parents simply along for the ride, but some organizations hope to bring these families together while providing fun for everyone who participates, not just those who they market themselves towards.

Elizabethton’s Parks and Recreation will be hosting their annual Dancing Through the Decades event this Thursday and Friday, Feb. 7 and 8.

While Friday is the traditional Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dance, Thursday will host a “Sensory Friendly” dance, in partnership with the Kids Like Us Center.

Programming and Special Events Coordinator Kelly Kitchens said the two groups are making a greater effort to differentiate the two events this year compared to the latter’s introduction last year.

“The flyer for it is a bit wordier,” Kitchens said. “We wanted to make it perfectly clear what it was about and which one was which.”

Dancing Through the Decades is this year’s theme for a dance the department has hosted for at least three years, letting children and their parents rock out to their favorite decade.

“A lot of what we do is tailored either specifically to the kids or specifically to the parents, so we wanted to host something to bring kids and parents together,” Kitchens said.

Both dances will have the same theme, but the Sensory Friendly dance will have a number of accommodations.

“The lights are left on, and the music is at a lower volume,” she said.

That is as far as the differences go, according to Kitchens. Both dances are free to the public and will have food there. Though it is not required, she said costumes are more than welcome.

“People have a lot of fun with the costumes,” she said. “You will see me in my ’50s attire and my poodle skirt.”

The dance has had several different themes over the years, including Superheroes and Frozen. She said the community decides on next year’s theme via a Facebook poll.

“We had an overwhelming result for Rocking Through the Decades,” Kitchens said.

She said the dance is the opportunity for parents and their children to make memories together instead of simply dropping them off somewhere.

“I like watching parents and their kids make memories together,” she said. “This is not your typical dance. They get to experience it together.”

Both dances will take place at the Parks and Rec Center at 300 W Mill St. from 6 to 8 p.m. The Sensory Friendly dance will take place Thursday, and the traditional dance will take place Friday.

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