Dancing with the Local Stars offers a lot of fun while aiming to hit the million dollar mark in giving to local pantries



by Cynthia Price

Though it has been going on for eleven years now, people seem never to tire of Dancing with the Local Stars (DWTLS), a production that benefits local food pantries.

Sell-out crowds watched last Thursday through Sunday as, modeled on the television show Dancing with the Stars, a dance pro is matched with one or more well-known local people to perform dances in extravagant costumes with humor and talent.

In the first ten years, the event raised more than $923,000 to help such worthy causes as 70x7 Life Recovery (now Fresh Coast Alliance, subject of last week’s Examiner article), First Congregational Church (both for its Saturday breakfasts and its emergency pantry), Every Woman’s Place, Kid’s Food Basket, and Mission for Area People. They are therefore this year expecting to top the $1 million mark in donations.

Not only do people pay to see the glorious show, patrons also participate in auctions, raffles, and direct contributions to their favorite teams. Corporate and individual sponsors also give.
Many volunteer dance pros have been involved since the very beginning, as noted in this article and the caption below.

Sponsored by the Women’s Division Chamber of Commerce, the show has benefited from the steady hand of Mary Kendall all along. The supporting committee consists of about 60 people, and this year Kendall’s co-chairs were Marilyn Forton and Karen Mogdics.

A great number of volunteers make it happen, including the hairdressers and make-up artists who put the glam touch on the dancers.

The dancers rehearse for months and feel a sense of camaraderie that makes the final show of each season bittersweet for most.