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Monday, Jul 16, 2018
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Have a (Disco) Ball At Tampa's Hip New Family Find

TAMPA - You can endure a giant rodent entertaining terrified toddlers only so many times before your pizza-bloated soul cries for more adult fare. Baby Loves Disco could be your salvation. It's Tampa's newest and, possibly, coolest event for stroller-pushing moms and dads who crave just a bit of their old grown-up lives amid play dates with their newly created little lives. Come Feb. 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the ultramodern Blue Martini will transform from chic nightclub to hip playground for parents with children 6 months to 7 years old who long to boogie the afternoon away while sipping from cocktail glasses.
Or juice boxes. The event will feature a live DJ spinning classic retro dance music (think Bee Gees and Donna Summer) while parents and tots do their best John Travolta trot. Aside from booty-shakin' on the dance floor, kiddies will enjoy bubble machines, face-painting, balls and other toys while parents can partake in the chill-out room with pillows and tents. A modern moms' lounge offers massages, and there will be "fabulous" diaper-changing stations, says Tampa organizer Marisa Langford of BluePrint Event Group. Healthy snacks from local organic markets, kid-friendly cupcakes, and a cash bar will be available for nondriving parents. "Sunday afternoon is the new Saturday night," Langford says. The 29-year-old stay-at-home mom of 4-year-old Jake and 3-year-old Mia discovered Baby Loves Disco in an article on Orlando's first event last year in "Parenting Magazine." "This is what Tampa needs," Langford thought to herself. A mom-and-pop venture, Baby Loves Disco is the brainchild of Philadelphia mom Heather Murphy Monteith, a professional dancer and choreographer who used to entertain her offspring by groovin' to '70s and '80s tunes in her living room. Murphy Monteith invited friends from her playgroup to join and eventually organized a monthly event at a local nightclub. It has sold out since its debut in 2004. Baby Loves Disco caught the attention of Brooklyn dad Andy Hurwitz, who, along with Murphy Monteith, started the party in New York City in 2005. Since then, the event has spread to nearly 30 cities nationwide and eight countries. Langford and business partner Candice Bernstein were eager to get their own party started here in our disco-deprived little city. They chose International Plaza's Blue Martini because of its convenience, space and ample parking. "This is for young moms ... working moms ... for everybody," Langford says. Dads are welcome, too, of course. "We're staying true to being an adult," Langford says, "but doing something child focused." Tickets for the Valentine's Day Ball (only 275 will be sold) cost $15 each for adults and children (except for infants who aren't walking, yet) and can be purchased online at www.babylovesdisco.com. Day-of-show tickets at the door (if any are left) will cost $18. Parents must have a child in tow. Older siblings are welcome. Upcoming events are March 15, Grandparents Month, and an April 12 Earth Day Celebration.

Reporter Sherri Ackerman can be reached at (813) 259-7144.

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