January 15, 2024 at 10:55am

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Elena Ferrarin

Article by Elena Ferrarin

Communications Coordinator
Northbrook Park District


For the past three years, Andrew Landau and his 8-year-old daughter Nora have looked forward to putting on their fancy clothes and boogieing the night away at the annual dance organized by the Northbrook Park District.

This year, the father-and-daughter duo again will be among families making joyful, fun-filled memories at the Light Up the Night Family Dance taking place Feb. 2 at the beautiful Hilton Northbrook.

“It’s very special,” Andrew Landau said. “It feels very much like going to a prom, a homecoming or a wedding, where you get really dressed up and enjoy yourself. I really feel like Nora is a princess, and I am taking her to Cinderella’s ball. It’s a lot of fun.”

Nora said she encourages other children to attend. “It’s really fun and I think they would like to go,” she said. “They can do a dance contest, or they could watch. And the food is really good — there’s a lot of sweets.”

Previously known as the Daddy-Daughter Dance, the heartwarming event has been a community favorite for years. The name change reflects the park district’s desire to be inclusive and ensure all families feel welcome, Recreation Manager Nancy Eschker said.

“We have always welcomed dads, moms, uncles, aunts, grandparents and other relatives who inquired about coming with their little boys and girls,” Eschker said. “This year, we wanted to make sure everyone felt included by knowing this is a family event open to everyone.”

The dance will feature a live DJ who will play kids’ favorite songs along with tunes that adults are sure to enjoy, and dancers will make sure the party never stops. “The dancers are really helpful for the kids and grownups, because you can get a role model for what to do,” Andrew Landau said. “The dance floor is upbeat and fun the whole time.”

Besides plenty of dancing, there will be contests, carnival-like games and appetizers, such as chicken skewers, sliders, fruit and desserts. All participants will receive a beautiful corsage or boutonnière upon arrival. The children also will receive a special gift when they depart at the end of the evening.

“This is a great opportunity to dance the night away while enjoying great food, contests, games and prizes,” Eschker said. “Every year, we hear how much families love this event, and we are excited to bring it back year after year.”

One of the best things is a photo booth that allows families to capture and preserve their memories of this special evening, Andrew Landau said. “It’s great that we get professional pictures of the event. We always display them around the house,” he said.

Nora’s mother, Julie, said her husband and daughter always come home from the dance in a great mood. “I can tell they just had a really special evening together,” she said. “It’s a really good opportunity to have special one-on-one time with a parent.”

Before the dance, families can enjoy a delicious, discounted dinner package at Allgauer’s on the Riverfront, located inside the Hilton. The $50 dinner for adults includes a choice of appetizer, and a main course of either Atlantic salmon, New York steak, stuffed filet mignon or chicken Stroganoff. The $25 dinner for children includes a choice of appetizer, and main course of macaroni and cheese, pizza, burger, spaghetti with meatballs or chicken fingers. Both include an ice cream sundae for dessert.

Light Up the Night Family Dance takes place 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Northbrook Hilton, 2855 Milwaukee Avenue in Northbrook. Tickets for each adult-child pair are $155 for residents and $195 for nonresidents.

For tickets or more information, visit nbparks.org/familydance or call (847) 291-2993.