A decade of Dancing with the Delaware Stars

Jackson Paradee, a senior at Salesianum High School in Wilmington, with Miss Hockessin 2018 Rebecca Gasperetti, will compete in Saturday night’s Dancing with the Delaware Stars event at Dover Downs’ Rollins Center. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Now in its 10th year, Dancing with the Delaware Stars is going stronger than ever. With tickets selling out in just hours, the annual competition has become a marquee event in the community.

“It’s such a high-energy event, that people can’t help but have a great time and it’s all for a great cause, which is just icing on the cake,” said Terri Brown, chairwoman of the event.

Ms. Brown and fellow organizers planned the first dance competition featuring experienced dancers paired with local celebrities to be a standalone event, with lingering hopes that it may turn into something more.

But after selling more than 500 tickets and being the single-largest fundraiser for Mom’s House, there was no looking back.

“Having a successful event means we can keep Mom’s House running for another year and we want to keep offering this invaluable service to our community as long as we can,” Ms. Brown said.

Mom’s House provides free child care services to single parents pursuing secondary educations such as college or a trade school. Since the fourth year of the event, the Greater Dover Boys & Girls Club has been a co-beneficiary of the event, aiding in getting even more people out to support the event.

The Boys & Girls Club touches serves approximately 300 children in the community with after school programs, summer programs and more.

This year, Saturday night’s Dancing with the Delaware Stars will break an attendance record, having sold more than 1,000 tickets. With record ticket sales come record fundraising. Over the course of the last decade, Dancing with the Delaware Stars has raised more than $1 million.

James Pennewell, of Delaware Department of Education, rehearses with Chana Weeks, of Key Advisors Group, LLC, for Saturday’s competition. (Submitted photo)

“I think that giving back to the community is what keeps the event so popular and at least for me, I like to see nonprofit organizations like these be successful,” said Jessica Moyer, a competitor, who is performing at the event for the eighth time.

Ms. Moyer started off her first year as a star, but with a background in dance, gymnastics and Zumba, she was a perfect fit to become a dancer at the event, and has won twice.

“It’s different every year and it’s fun dancing with new partners because I don’t have a background dancing with a partner,” she said.

This year she’s dancing with Dr. Robert Hartmann, who chose the song “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy.”

“I’m not a country dancer, but I always let the star choose the music so we developed some choreography and we’ve both been learning along the way,” she said. “I really think it’s going to be great this weekend.”

But there is stiff competition between the nine couples with experienced dancers and dedicated stars.

“I think everyone goes out there a little nervous but there really isn’t any pressure because everyone is there just to have a good time and raise money for the community,” Ms. Moyer said. “It’s competitive, but all in good fun.”

Although what happens on the dance floor is the main event, winning the mirror ball trophy takes more than smooth moves. The couples are judged not only by scores at the competition, but prior fundraising and public voting.

Delaware Chief Information Officer James Collins and Brittany Faulkingham won last year’s Dancing with the Delaware Stars competition. (Delaware State News file photo)

Dancing with the Delaware Stars gets underway at 6 p.m. with a VIP cocktail reception at Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. Dinner is at 7 p.m. and the competition starts at 8:15.

Although the main event is sold out, there are still tickets available to the after party, which starts at 11:30 p.m.

There is still also time to vote online for your favorite couple. Voting is open until 7 p.m. today.

To vote or to obtain tickets to the after party, visit DancingDeStars.org.

Dancing Teams

•Jen Allen, First State Manufactured Housing Association executive director and Greg Breitkreitz, USA Dance/Barbara’s Dance Academy;

•Michelle Bergold, M&T Bank branch manager, and Kyle Sammons, Zumba fitness instructor, ZCom;

• Alan and Monica Garcia, owners of Premier Martial Arts;

•Dr. Robert Hartmann, Dedicated to Women, ObGyn, and Jessica Moyer, owner of Purposeful Life & Wellness Coaching;

•Lt. Col. Carlos Jayme, U.S. Air Force commander, 436th Communications Squadron, and Jennifer Jayme, speech-language pathologist teletherapist;

•Jacqueline Mayan, Eastern Shore Natural Gas, senior manager, commercial business and marketing, and Raykeem Ward, founder of Dreams of Hope and ELA teacher, Postlethwait Middle School;

•James Pennewell, Delaware Department of Education, education associate, and Chana Weeks, Key Advisors Group, LLC;

•Jackson Paradee, senior, Salesianum High School, and Rebecca Gasperetti, Miss Hockessin 2018;

•Ron Vascik, CPA, RF Book & Associates managing partner, and Lisa Lamarche, CFP, CPA, Milestone Wealth Advisors, president and senior financial adviser;

•Trey Wallace, Pratt Insurance, account executive, and Mandy Pennington, lead nurse, RN Neonatal Care Unit, Christiana Care.

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