It took one little-girl-turned-whirling-dervish to get the dancing started at the 9th Annual Valentine’s Family Dance on Saturday at the Harker Heights Activities Center.
The Lego-themed party, hosted by the city’s parks and recreation department, brought around 200 people together to eat, dance and “Build on Love.”
“We enjoy putting on this event because it’s a time to bring people together, young and old, and families, to enjoy each other,” said Nichole Broemer, recreation and events coordinator for the city. “We want the community to bond and get to know each other.”
The VIP Build Area, with an assortment of Legos in kiddie pools and on tables, was a popular spot with kids and kids-at-heart. Colorful hearts and balloons with a Lego theme greeted people at the door.
The event averages between 150-200 people a year, Broemer said.
Valentine’s Day can have different meanings for everyone, but many people at the event said it’s about more than roses and sweets.
“It’s a day to do nice things for your loved ones, your parents, kids, grandkids and friends,” Nikki Stevens said.
Of course, for others it’s quite uncomplicated.
“It means you get candy,” said Alexa Aguallao, who was there with her mom.
A handful of students from Harker Heights High School were on hand giving their time.
“I love volunteering in general,” said Cassie Greer, a junior. “It’s fun to help out the community and spend time with kids.”
She agreed with Stevens that Valentine’s Day is about expressing love of all kinds.
“It’s a way to show the people you love that you care about them,” she said.
Another junior from Harker Heights High School has volunteered at the event in the past.
“They keep adding onto it each year,” Kevin Green said. “Each year is a different theme, so I like to see what they come up with.”
Each year people vote for the theme of the next year’s Valentine’s dance, and Legos won 75 out of 121 votes last year, Broemer said. On the ballot for the 2019 dance were Western, Under the Sea, Star Wars and Super Hero.
Ashley Wyatt of Killeen was enjoying the event with her 4-year-old daughter and they are veterans of events at the library and activities center.
“We go to many of the family nights; it’s our favorite thing to do,” Wyatt said. “There’s always a craft to do and it’s educational: She’s always learning something.”
Valentine’s Day can be summed up in one word for Wyatt.
“For me, it’s family,” Wyatt said.
The event was made possible by volunteers from Harker Heights High School, Carus Kids pediatric dental office and the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library.