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Twelve local celebrities are strapping on their dance shoes, preparing for the second annual Dancing with the Belmont Stars fundraiser for the Belmont Woman’s Club, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the historic 1853 William Flagg Homer House.
The competitors will be hitting the dance floor Friday, Oct. 2, at 6 p.m., at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. The Belmont Woman's Club has purchased five lessons from Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Belmont for each of the 12 celebrity dancers who will be paired with professional instructors from the studio.
Those participating are Belmont Media Center Executive Director Jeff Hansell, Board of Assessors member Chuck Laverty, Rancatore’s owner Joe Rancatore, Lions Club member Stephen Rizzuto, Chenery Middle School health teacher Monica Frender, Police Sgt. Kim Hurley, Belmont Citizens-Herald Multimedia Journalist Joanna Tzouvelis, Select Board Vice Chair Roy Epstein, Vice President of the Belmont Garden Club Sarah Caputo, Capital Budget Committee Chairman Anne Marie Mahoney, Belmont Youth Coordinator Tiana Watson and Public Works staff member Henry Manuel.
“I'm excited to dress up and have a good time,” said Mahoney. “I bought some silver, sparkly shoes and a dress with a sparkly top. So, even if the dancing is awful, I'll dazzle the judges with sparkle.”
Similar to the television show, "Dancing with the Stars," the dancers will compete for the famed Mirror Ball trophy. The judges include former Dancing with the Belmont Stars competitor and two-time World Marathon Challenge champion Becca Pizzi, acclaimed USO performer Sylvia Whitney, competitive dancer Frankie “Fish” Celi and 2019 Dancing champion Ellen O'Brien Cushman. The event will be emceed by NBC evening news anchor Jennifer Catherine Monahan.
This is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the Woman’s Club. Last year, Dancing with the Belmont Stars raised over $15,000. This year the Woman’s Club has set its fundraising goal for the event at around $20,000, according to Maria Papadopoulos, Belmont Woman’s Club co-president and event organizer.
The Woman’s Club is still welcoming business sponsors for the events program books.
“Everybody had fun. Everybody came together,” said Papadopoulos referring to last year’s competition.
The Woman’s Club is celebrating a historic year as 2020 marks its centennial anniversary making it one of the oldest organizations in Belmont.
“Dancing with the Belmont Stars is an opportunity to bring our community together for the simple purpose of having a good time,” said Belmont Woman’s Club co-president Wendy Murphy. “Too often we come together over controversies and challenges, but this is an event where we can just enjoy each other’s company while watching people dance.”
Tickets are on sale for $40 each at the Toy Shop of Belmont in Belmont Center and Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Cushing Square. Attendees will enjoy a buffet of hors d'oeuvres and cash bar. Ticket holders also have the option to schedule a complimentary dance lesson at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Cushing Square.