Mark

The Mark Restaurant is in downtown Bakersfield.

Fathers have the chance to set their daughters' expectations for date night high with an upcoming event at The Mark.

Ties & Tiaras is a father-daughter valentine's dance and dinner happening at The Mark on Feb. 2. It's the first event of its kind that the restaurant has held.

"One thing I always wanted to do was a father-daughter dance," said Kristen White, events manager at The Mark. "I think they're so adorable."

A mother to two teenage boys, White recently had her first daughter and was excited to create an event for fathers and daughters. Getting owner Bryan Oberg on board was easy enough, she said, as he recently had a daughter as well.

"I thought it'd be a great event," Oberg said, adding that he would be taking his daughter.

When planning the event, White wanted to take advantage of something The Mark could do that other father-daughter dance venues couldn't: dinner.

"Usually it's a $10 dance and they usually go to dinner before the dance," she said of those other dances. "What if they could have dinner in the same spot?"

Dinner is included in the $40 ticket price for father and daughter (each additional child is $10). Food options include spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Alfredo, chicken tenders with fries, top sirloin with pommes frites and herbed artichoke chicken with mashed potatoes.

"The way the menu is set up, we made it very kid-friendly," White said, "but we also didn't want the dad to suffer (or) have to eat children's food."

After dinner, guests will be able to grab something sweet to eat from the dessert buffet. 

For the dancing, Stephen Milinovich of SK Entertainment will DJ, but don't expect to hear any club bangers. Children's favorites like "Baby Shark" will be on the playlist, thanks to Milinovich's co-DJ for the night, his daughter.

There will also be a photo booth so families can take home a souvenir that night.

The response to the event has been good so far, White and Oberg said, with about 20 reservations already made, many of them fathers bringing more than one daughter. Attendance will probably be capped around 200 to 260, Oberg said.

"With the way it's so popular it might (sell out)," White said, adding that it was already exceeding her expectations. "I was just hoping for maybe 25 dads."

While father-daughter dances might conjure up images of little girls dancing on their daddies' feet, White said it is an all-ages event. She's even heard from one father who is taking his adult daughters. And any father-figure is welcome: grandfather, stepfather or even a single mother who fills both roles.

"The idea of fathers taking their daughters out on dates, I think it's the cutest thing in the world," White said. "Dads taking their daughters out on dates shows them what to look for in a man in the future. It teaches daughters how they should be treated."

White and Oberg said they see this becoming an annual event, possibly even holding it twice a year, if there's enough interest in it. They have also heard from people wondering about a mother-son event and said they would be happy to hold an event like that if people would go to it.

In addition to giving local fathers an opportunity to spend some quality time with their daughters, The Mark team also wanted to host an event like this to show the community that the restaurant is family-friendly.

Oberg, who bought The Mark with wife Mikela back in July, and White both said they are looking forward to doing more events at the restaurant. With The Park at The Mark outside and the banquet hall in the West Room, the restaurant has plenty of space for events.

February will be a busy month for The Mark team, with Valentine's Day specials for couples, a singles event and a special couples' dance event all on Feb. 14.

On Valentine's Day, the restaurant is offering three different meal specials for two (a steak special for $109, a steak and shrimp special for $139 and a steak and lobster special for $159). Reservations are highly recommended, as spots are quickly filling up. Dinner will be served from 4 to 10 p.m.

The Singles Only Mix N' Mingle is also happening that evening, from 7 to 10 p.m. The $20 entry includes one drink, passed hors d'oeuvres, access to a cash bar with specialty drinks and music from SK Entertainment.

"It can be a sucky day of the year," Oberg said of Valentine's Day for singles. "It's an opportunity for them to have something to do."

And, as White said, "they could meet their future someone."

The third event happening on Valentine's Day is Kern Dance Alliance's Two to Tango, which will feature three courses paired with fine wine and a tango lesson. Tickets are for KDA members are $100 for a couple or $50 for a single person; for nonmembers, admission is $110 for a couple or $60 for a single person.

Kelly Ardis can be reached at 661-395-7660. Follow her on Twitter at @TBCKellyArdis.

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