By RICK HAYES email@example.com
---- — MT. VERNON — A social event that creates community excitement and serves as a fundraiser for a worthy organization will be held Saturday.
The fifth annual Dancing With Our Stars fundraiser, sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois, will kick off at 5:30 p.m. with a social hour at Krieger’s Convention Center, 222 Potomac Blvd. Dinner begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by celebrity dancing at 7:30 p.m. After the stars take to the floor, guests can dance to music from disc jockey Fred Klapetzky.
“We have six routines that are going to compete this year, so that’s up from last year,” said Tricia Higgins, Communications and Marketing Manager for the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois. “We have everything from a solo routine up to a group of 13, so we have a wide mix.”
Last year’s event was won by Rachel’s Off Broadway Dancers, the mom’s group from Rachel’s School of Dance.
Higgins said the community has been supportive of the last four events.
“A large part of the event’s success has to do with our community members who are willing to participate in the event as dancers. It’s one of those events that people talk about early on and the feedback we get from the community is great. We hope to have a good crowd on Saturday night,” she said.
Tickets for the event are $45, which includes dinner and an evening of dancing. Table sponsorships are available for $500 and includes a table of 10.
Jo David Cummins of Community First Bank of the Heartland will serve as the host; Brandon Bullard will serve as co-host. Mike Beard of The Insurance Store, Mary Beth Mezo of Mt. Vernon Township High School and Brian Mooney of Studio B will serve as celebrity judges.
The judges’ scores provide the first element to the dancers’ scores. The second element adds a dash of audience participation as dancers accrue points with each donation from their supporters. At the end of the competition, the mirror ball trophy goes home with the team with the highest overall score.
“Proceeds go to help provide the Girl Scout leadership experience,” Higgins said. “It provides funding for our program development to improve our camp properties and training our volunteers. We also provide financial assistance so that no girl is turned away from Girl Scouting due to an inability to pay.”
Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois serves 14,000 girls and nearly 5,000 adult volunteers in more than 40 counties in Southern Illinois.