LUMBERTON — The United Way of Robeson County will kick off its third annual “Dancing With the Stars” today by revealing the 16 couples that will participate in the charity event.
Thirty-two local people have signed up, each with a goal to raise at least $5,000 for United Way. At the “Pairing of the Dancers” today, they’ll find out who they’ll spend the next four months with perfecting their dance moves.
Sandra Oliver, executive director of the United Way, expects more than 100 people at today’s event, which will take place at the United Way office at 2512-A Fayetteville Road in Lumberton at 4 p.m.
“Everyone that participates will bond,” said Oliver, noting that past years have brought together local residents of all ages, occupations and backgrounds.
The pairs will first present their choreographed dances on March 28 at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center on U.S. 74. Tickets will be available for $30 for that night’s show after Nov. 18 at the United Way office. Seating will be first-come, first-served.
On March 29, the dancers will perform again and judges will announce the winners in the categories of best costume, best dance and most money raised. From Nov. 18 to Nov. 22, tickets for tables closest to the stage will go on sale for $3,000 each. Tickets for a second group of tables will be available for $2,000 from Dec. 2 to Dec 9. Tickets for remaining tables will go on sale for $1,000 starting Dec. 9.
Each of the 55 tables seats eight people and dinner will be served. Tickets can only be purchased at the United Way office.
“We have sold out every year,” Oliver said. “If you snooze you lose.”
By mid-November, photos and information about each pair will be on the United Way website, where supporters can vote for their favorite couple by making a $10 donation. Votes can be cast online or at the United Way office.
The proceeds will go to education iniatitives, including the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides free books to childen.
“We don’t see that there’s anything more important than preparing our children for school,” Oliver said.
During the event’s first year, it raised more that $140,000. Last year that total climbed to more than $180,000.
“I think it’s such a hit because we bring everyone in our county together. It truly is a united effort,” Oliver said. “Imagine if we did that on a daily basis what we could accomplish.”