Daddy-Daughter dance really takes the cake


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SAYREVILLE — An annual Daddy-Daughter dance got quite the dessert upgrade, thanks to a reality television show.

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Greg Wyzykowski of the South Amboy-Sayreville Rotary Club said the club was contacted a few weeks ago about its dance by the “Cake Boss” show because the show was looking to do a Valentine’s-themed cake, and the annual dance, always held in February, has that same theme.

“Cake Boss” features baker Buddy Valastro, who creates unique custom cakes in his Hoboken shop, Carlo’s Bakery. The show airs on the TLC network.

Wyzykowski said it was fun to have the event filmed on Feb. 3 at the Sayreville VFW. Fathers and daughters had to sign waivers to appear on the show, so at the dance, crew members walked the buffet line handing out forms and taking pictures of attendees with their forms. Wyzykowski served as deejay, as girls and their fathers, uncles and other important men in their lives shared many a dance.

Also taking to the dance floor was Mauro Castano, Valastro’s brother-in-law. Castano danced with his own daughter, which was filmed for the episode as well.

But what about the cake?

Kenny Smetana, who attended the event with his daughter Elizabeth, said that when the cake was brought out, Wyzykowski paused the music in anticipation of the big reveal.

“All the girls were very excited for its arrival! They even began chanting, ‘Cake, cake, cake, cake!’”

Smetana said the girls were all ecstatic to be filmed with the possibility of being on TV, and he heard many say “the cake was the best cake” they have ever eaten.

Wyzykowski said he liked the design of the cake, which featured the words “I Love You, Dad” and had a little girl holding balloons.

Also for the show, Wyzykowski and Rotary President Michael Poll traveled to Jersey City to be interviewed.

“It was interesting,” he said of the interview process.

However, he said he had to put his acting skills to the test while eating the cake — not because it wasn’t delicious, but because he needed to keep ad libbing over and over so producers could get the content they needed.

Wyzykowski said it will be a while before Sayreville gets its “Cake Boss” air time, as the producers told him the episode would likely air in about six to eight months.

Wyzykowski said he hopes the publicity will help attract members to the club as well as attendees to the dance. The event has peaked at about 300 attendees, but in recent years has declined. He said he thinks that is in part to similar events being held in the area. He said those events carry a lower ticket cost, but the Sayreville event is much more formal with a dinner and a professional photographer taking portraits of the dads and daughters.

Jennifer Zollo, branch manager for the Sayreville Columbia Bank, who was also in attendance at the dance, said for many of the girls it is a big night and they get their hair and makeup done.

“They get so excited to come,” she said. “They’re so cute.”

Money raised from the event benefits rotary initiatives, including scholarships, school supplies to families in need and the free dictionaries the Rotary provides to Sayreville and South Amboy third graders.

Wyzykowski said the dance would not have been a success without his secretary, Maryann Smetana, Kenny Smetana’s mother.

“Each year she fields phone calls with inquiries, makes herself available for last-minute registrations and is responsible for compiling the registration list for our Rotary,” he said.

The South Amboy-Sayreville Rotary chapter meets 12:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Ocean Bay Diner on Route 35.

Anyone interested in joining the Rotary can contact Wyzykowski at or 732-721-0400.

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