By: Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - Hundreds of West Texas girls made the promise to stay pure this Saturday and it came with a dose of pomp and pageantry.
It's the first event of it's kind in West Texas, and NewsWest 9 was there. On Saturday night Junior High and High School girls joined their dads at the Commemorative Air Force hanger where they had dinner enjoyed a concert and ballroom dancing. Two Midland families borrowed the idea for the purity ball from a similar dance in Colorado.
The emphasis of the night was staying morally pure and making solid decisions.
It's a picture-perfect moment: a snapshot of one of the most glamorous nights in the life of a teenage girl: getting ready for her first big dance.
"I'm just excited for tonight and hoping everything is going to go good!" Ellen Arrington said.
But Ellen Arrington isn't taking her boyfriend. On Saturday night, her father is escorted her.
"Just spending time with my daddy!" she said.
"It's a good time for us to spend together realizing there's going to be these times as she becomes a young woman, that these are special times, these are growing times," her Dad, David Arrington said.
They're going to West Texas' first Purity Ball, an event recognizing the commitment to remain abstinent until marriage.
"A platform for a commitment from the fathers to daughters and daughters to fathers for a spiritual, physical, and moral purity," David Arrington, Organizer for the Purity Ball, said.
Ellen says as she grows, peer pressure intensifies.
"It's very hard because all my friends, they tell me these things and I'm like, 'I don't know about that right now,'" Ellen said. "It's hard, but it's something I know I want to do and keep up with."
Everyone was invited, groups came from a variety of local schools and churches.
"It says a lot for Midland as a community, it says a lot for the parents and it says a lot for the kids too," Father, Steve Wilcox said.
But the Purity Ball wasn't just for Tall City families, dads and daughters came from all over West Texas.
"I think that means there's a lot of people out there, a lot of fathers, a lot of daughters, a lot of families in general that are really trying to express how important it is to remain pure until your married," Colin Wilson, another dad who attended the Ball, said.
What was the best part of the night? Everyone had the same answer.
"There's not another dad I'll have in the world," Daughter, Hannah Wilcox, said. "So this is a chance that I can bond with him.
"She's growing up so fast," her Dad, Steve Wilcox said. "It's the best thing I can think of to do."
Ellen said it was a huge hit.
"I feel like a little kid," she said. "I get to dress up like I'm Cinderella and dress up and have a fun time tonight.
The mark of a true daddy's girl.
"This is all a part of building her character and it's very important for every girl," David said.
Organizers tell us they were overwhelmed at this year's turn-out. Over 350 dads and daughters came out for the Purity Ball.
It gained popularity mainly by word of mouth, with some help from radio advertisements and volunteers who hung posters at churches and schools.