ST. ALBANS – Girls spun and twirled in circles. The flashing neon lights bounced off their smiles as they danced to pop songs of the 2000s. With one hand, they held tightly to their princess tiaras. With the other, they intertwined fingers with their fathers.

The Eighth Annual Father Daughter Gala was a huge success Thursday night with more than 50 participants grooving on the dance floor, having a bite to eat or bidding on local goodies in the silent auction.

All of the ticket proceeds and money raised through the silent auction went to the organizes, the St. Albans Recreation Department. “The funds raised from the silent auction help keep the ticket costs down because we don’t want the cost to prohibit someone from coming,” director Kelly Viens said.

“I think it is such a special night,” Viens said. “I mean, you look around, and the girls are having so much fun. The dads have fun.”

“I think just the general atmosphere of the father daughter bonding and having a good night out with the girls and seeing them have fun was really cool,” Chris Heald, a resident of St. Albans, said.

Last year was the first time he attended, bringing his oldest daughter, Harper, to the gala. “Last year was a Frozen theme and that’s right up her alley. The second we left there, she was talking about the next year,” he said.

Heald said his daughter loves the music, the food, and the fact she gets “one on one time with dad.” Last night, his two-year-old daughter Chloe joined in on the fun.

“This year we just kind of did hearts and snowflakes,” Viens said referring to the theme. “And we always say princesses are welcome. So we have lots of different Disney princesses cruising around.”

Aaron Reynolds, who attended the event with his six-year-old daughter Ava, said she loves the event because she gets to run around and play with her friends, without any adult interference.

“They get to dress up and go to a place and hang out,” he said. “It’s kind of an evening for her.”

“We have two year olds with their dads and then you have old people like me,” Viens said. “My dad comes every year and my three sisters.”

“It’s just really special,” she said. “It’s my favorite night.”