The Boys and Girls Club of Bristol Family Center hosted the third of four signature events – the Mommy and Son Valentines Dance, on Friday.
The Club’s Teen Director, Nicole Stere, said that she and other BBGC staff members put a few months’ ofpreparation into each of the signature events because they try to see what “we can do that’s new and fresh” every year. In Stere’s mind, the added attractions must be working, as “this past year we’ve been getting more people coming.”
“I know a lot of the moms and their sons, they sometimes don’t get that quality time together so this is a night for them to come together and hang out,” said Stere.
One mother and son pair, Jacinta Colon and her son Josiah Colon-Allende, 9, at the event at the clubhouse on West Street said the event has become a tradition between them as this was their third year attending.
“It’s a good time, really, it’s different every year, and he really enjoys coming to the Mommy and Son Dance,” said Colon.
And the mothers weren’t the only attendees to feel love in the air.
Owen Lavigne, 8, said he wanted to attend the dance with his mom, Kelly Kilduff, because “she’s beautiful and I wanted to dance with her.”
This year’s event featured a new attraction – the magical stylings and comedy of the Paliulis brothers, Peter and Chris, also known as Presto Pete and Incredulous Chris. Peter Paliulis described their act as “the slap stick of The Three Stooges.”
Chris Paliulis explained that Pete and Chris Amusements have been in business since 2011, and that while this was their first time working with BBGC, they had previously performed at the Imagine Nation, a Museum Early Learning Center.
“[Performing for kids is] our bread and butter, that’s what we love doing,” said Peter Paliulis. “The kids get into it, we know how they think and how they react. We get the kids laughing and screaming, stuff like that.”
Sarah Lucian, Development and Marketing Director with the club, said over 30 volunteers had come to the club to ensure that all attendees had a good time. This included the teens in the Keystone Club, a group of volunteers from Kohl’s in Plainville, a group from Crowe Horwath of Simsbury, community members, and titleholders from the Miss Bristol Organization.
Lindiana Frangu, Miss Bristol’s Outstanding Teen 2019, Maggie Wernicki, Miss Mum City’s Outstanding Teen 2019, and Jaymie Bianca, Miss Forestville 2019, served mothers and their sons apple cider as they made their way to the dance floor.
“It’s just amazing to be here tonight with all the boys and their mothers, getting a stronger bond, and just having so much fun, and it’s just truly amazing to watch it all happen,” said Wernicki.
Frangu and Bianca shared similar sentiments, with Bianca saying these moments were extra special to her as she herself attended the Boys and Girls Club while growing up.
“The club really feels honored to be such a big part of our community, and we’re just grateful to be able to put this on thanks to all of our supporters,” said Lucian. “all the different individuals who support us throughout the year are the reason we’re able to do these kinds of things for our kids and their families.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.
Photos by JANELLE MORELLI