JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Laurie Yoshinaga, far left, dances with her smiling daughter Kaylie, 3, at the O Lounge as Samantha Wacker, 3, and her sister Alexa, 5, try to keep up.
Shake it, baby
Kids command the dance floor at a special O Lounge party
Droves of people lined up outside the O Lounge for an afternoon dance party, but it wasn't your typical crowd. A mix of toddlers, tweens, babies and their parents had lined up for a special event, "Baby Loves Disco."
THE DANCE CRAZE CONTINUES
What: "Baby Loves Disco"
When: 2 to 5 p.m. May 3 and June 14
Where: The O-Lounge, 1349 Kapiolani Blvd.
Admission: $12 per "walking human"; tickets are available online at www.babylovesdisco.com
The party phenomenon transforms nightclubs across the nation into afternoon discos for children about 6 months to 7 years old, and their parents. Older siblings, family members and friends are also invited to dance along.
The club was altered to create a family-friendly environment complete with diaper-changing stations and a "chill out" room with books, puzzles and toys. There's also a space for crawlers who have yet to master any fancy footwork.
DJ Flip spun and mixed a blend of disco tunes from the 1970s and '80s to get everyone on their feet, especially with the sound of such classics as "YMCA," by the Village People.
Malia Boyd was moving along with her girls, Isabella, 7, and Lola, 4.
"They just ran off to get tattoos together," Boyd laughed, noting that her daughters were waiting in line at the face-painting station.
"It feels a bit weird to have the kids in a nightclub," she said, "but it's a fun environment for both grown-ups and kids. I was surprised, and not unpleasantly, that they were serving drinks."
Constant reminders warned parents not to leave their alcoholic beverages unattended.
HEATHER MURPHY Monteith co-founded Baby Loves Disco in 2004, after tiring of establishments that left her children exhausted and exposed them to "unhealthy snacks and gift shops."
She started dance parties in her Philadelphia home with about 18 friends. As the kids grew, so did the parties, which have moved into popular clubs in dozens of cities across the United States, and England. The new local nonprofit First Years Hawaii brought the dance party to the islands.
Chrystn Eads and her three daughters -- Carter, 7, McKinley, 4, and Monroe, 2 -- were looking forward to the dance party well in advance.
"My girls have been practicing disco dancing for the past week," Eads said. "This provides exercise and is a nice change from the park."
McKinley and Carter engaged in a Hula Hoop contest while "Funkytown" played in the background.
Club-goers also enjoyed an array of snacks, which consisted of Goldfish crackers, animal cookies, fruit trays, chicken, Chex mix, and cheese and crackers. Pyramids of juice boxes and Hershey's Kisses were also arranged around the bar.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Stan Kimura, holding his 8-month-old daughter Sarah, was reflected in a mirror during the Baby Loves Disco party at the O Lounge. The event featured Hula Hoops, egg shakers, scarves, and activities for tots, as well as a full bar and pupu service for the parents, who were also encouraged to get down and boogie with their kids.
Another plus for many of the parents: Each child was issued a bracelet, and the parents received matching numbers, similar to the Chuck E. Cheese setup, a safety measure that ensures that children and parents leave together.
The crowd of about 350 -- including the babies strapped to their parents, keiki who hopped around with egg shakers or waved scarves in the air -- appeared to be enjoying themselves. Attire was casual to dressy, anything goes.
Four-year-old Kalea Magalianes picked the outfit to wear that day, a lavender dress with sequins and feathers. She even chose long Mardi Gras-like beads for her mother, Eileen.
Before having her two children, Eileen said she went out dancing often. "This is the first time we've been dancing since having the kids. ... That was more than four years ago."
She's glad her children now have the same opportunity to express themselves in a safe way. "It's great for them to be able to interact with all of the kids ... get out, dance and be free."