By Dawn Krebs
ST. LUCIE COUNTY - Local politicians, business owners and other St. Lucie County residents are strapping on their dancing shoes Sept. 8 to compete against each other with one goal in mind: to raise money for area nonprofits.
The event will take place at the Port St. Lucie Civic Center in Port St. Lucie.
Now in its third year, the friendly competition called "Dancing with Our Celebrity Stars," is the brainchild of Cathy Townsend, owner of Mellon Patch Inn bed and breakfast, and current president of the St. Lucie County League of Women Voters.
"The event is almost completely sold out," Ms. Townsend said. "It keeps getting better and better."
After doing various fundraising events over the years, when the television show, "Dancing With the Stars" first appeared, she thought it would be a great idea as a fundraiser in St. Lucie County.
More than 500 residents supported last year's event at the Fenn Center in Fort Pierce. The proceeds from that event went to the Fort Pierce Police Athletic League.
She said the dancers worked hard practicing their dance routines.
"The dancers have worked with their instructions for weeks now," she said. "This is going to be a fabulous show."
The dancers who will compete at this year's event are: Carissa Zerga, Dan Hafner, Denise Roberts, Guy Hoffman, Jim Maynard, Michelle Sigmon, Rob Pettit, Ryan Strickland, Shannon Martin, Veronica Tempone and Wilson Townsend.
The dancers will be judged on a combination of their performances and how much money they raised.
The community is also pitching in to make the evening a success. Some of the main sponsors for the event are Digital Domain, Traxx Entertainment, Seacoast Bank and the St. Lucie Draft House.
"We've really stepped it up this year," she said. "We are going to have professional sound and lighting, so it's going to look and sound amazing."
For those who can't make it to the event, the opportunity is available to go vote online for your favorite dancer for free, at www.slccelebritystars.org.
"I am really grateful for what the community has done for each other to make this happen," Ms. Townsend said. "I am so humbled, and I really appreciate it."
Tickets to the dinner and dance competition are $50 each. Ticket holders should arrive at 4:45 p.m. Tickets for just the dance competition are $25 each, and that performance is scheduled to begin at 6:10 p.m.
For more information, call the Mellon Patch Inn at (772) 462-6699 or Ms. Townsend at (772) 201-5503.