Dancers will be putting on the Ritz at the seventh annual Dancing with the Vernon Stars Friday at the Vernon Recreation Centre auditorium.
This year’s fun dance competition, which raises funds and awareness for the North Okanagan Hospice Society (NOHS), has a diamonds and pearls theme to recognize the society’s 30th year of providing palliative care in the region.
The vision of Lorna Robb, of Vernon’s Cheek to Cheek Dance Studio, Dancing with the Vernon Stars continues to give back to the community and the NOHS.
Robb, who also trains the dancers for competition, has experienced the NOHS operated Hospice House in Vernon firsthand.
“In March 2011, my dad died at Hospice House in a peaceful, respectful, comfortable way,” she said. “We are so fortunate to have this wonderful place in our community.”
Dancing with the Vernon Stars has already raised more than *$60,000 (latest update) from the sale of tickets, online votes, and sponsorship, and this is even before dancers have hit the dance floor.
“This is a very big celebration for us and we want to encourage everyone to attend, vote for dancers online and dress to impress,” said NOHS executive director Ruth Edwards, adding, “We are very grateful for both Lorna Robb and her colleague Ruth McGrath for coaching all the dance couples and getting them prepared to heat up the dance floor. They teach with such passion and you will definitely see that throughout the event.”
This year’s dance competition features 10 couples and follows in the same vein as the popular reality TV show, Dancing with the Stars.
Voting for favourite dance couple has already begun online at www.nohs.ca, and those attending the event can buy more votes to ensure their favourite couple wins.
Two coveted trophies will be given out at the event, including the community favourite, for those who secure the most votes, and judges’ favourite, determined by a combination of the judges’ scores.
“Not only do we have fabulous sponsors but we also have A-list judges on the panel,” said Jennifer Strachan, NOHS event manager and consultant. “I just love our community, and especially the people in our community who consistently work together as a team to give back to such a worthy and valuable cause. Everyone has been incredibly supportive and working together to make this event a success. Our entire community will be shining bright like a diamond on Friday night.”
This year’s competitors include Lloyd and Erma Main, who work at Vernon Toyota and Interior Health respectively; Jonathon McMurray of A&W Restaurant with Sun FM’s April Lyn Kimble; Kari and Tim Gares, of MHC Mortgage House and Fix Auto Collision respectively; business consultant and VantageOne Credit Union board member Bruce Acton and his partner Jill Acton, a psychiatrist; Vernon city councillor Juliette Cunningham and her actively retired husband Dave Cunningham; Hayden Fitness owner Marie Hayden and her partner Shawn Hayden of Hayden Contracting; Century 21 realtors Kim Heizmann and Jason Neumann; Curves Fitness owners Angela and Warren Yablonski, Lori and Dan Anderson, owner of North Okanagan Skin and Laser and Sterling Appraisals and Machinery respectively; and motivational speaker/author Sarah Gabriel with sales consultant Richard Beauregard.
Judges include Galina Labun of VantageOne Credit Union, who with her partner Daniel Labun were the 2012 winners of Dancing with the Vernon Stars, 2013 Good Citizen of Year Akbal Mund, Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster and Tracy Holly, a renowned dancer from the Okanagan.
While the local celebrity dancers are perfecting their dance moves, the event planning is in full swing behind the scenes. Many sponsors have stepped up to help promote the event including Silver Star Mountain Resort as the presenting sponsor.
“It’s a terrific opportunity to support such a unique, community event. We have heard wonderful stories about hospice and how well received the event was last year, hence we wanted to be a part of it. And, it’s rather fitting, and ironic, with the diamond and pearl theme and the whole Dancing with the Stars to have Silver Star involved,” said Anne Haight, Silver Star’s director of marketing and sales..
This year’s diamond sponsors include Wayside Press, VantageOne Credit Union, Sproing Creative, The Morning Star, Kiss FM, Terra Life Lease Housing, Catherine Gardens, and Cheek to Cheek Dance Studio.
The event also includes an auction, appetizers, music by The Legendary Lake Monsters and a cash bar.
* The NOHS is reporting that tickets for Dancing with the Vernon Stars are now sold out, Those who missed out on event tickets can still cast votes for there chosen dance couple here: http://dwtvs2014.kintera.org/faf/home/default.asp?ievent=1115297