TAMPA — Keith Riggins said he came to Stu's Sixth Annual Father-Daughter Dance to create a lasting impression.
With daughter Raven, 13, hobbled by a sports injury, the two stood in the back of the dining hall Sunday night bouncing gingerly to Michael Jackson's Bad.
That was fine with Raven, who smiled throughout, leaning on a chair and a crutch under her sequined right arm.
"I tried to get tickets last year, but waited too long," said Riggins, 47, of St. Petersburg. "She still can't put weight on her knee, but she can enjoy herself. Hopefully, we can create a memory of her dancing with her dad."
More than 400 fathers and daughters attended the annual dance at the TPepin Hospitality Centre in Tampa. Organized by WBTP-FM 95.7 music director Stu Robinson, it's a mix of fun and father-daughter bonding.
Robinson, who danced with his daughter, Tyeisha Harston, 14, said he wants the event to showcase positive father-daughter relationships and dispel stereotypes about absentee or deadbeat dads. The event started with 200 fathers and daughters in 2007 and has grown each year.
The children donned frilly princess-style dresses. Some wore tiaras.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Michael Clayton, now with the New York Giants, danced with daughters Madison, 10, and Michaela, 5.
"It's an opportunity to get out with my princesses and treat them the way they should be treated," Clayton said.
Earlier, he recited a pledge echoed by fathers in the audience to provide guidance and be available to their daughters through life's struggles.
Corey Harris, 29, of Tampa, said the event was a nice finish to a Father's Day that started with pancakes in bed. He attended the dance with daughter Naomi, 3.
"I thought it would be a nice positive event," he said. "They did a nice job. It's very classy."