LUMBERTON — There are no seats left for the Robeson County Dancing with the Stars, but there is still time to cast a vote that will help the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program put a book in a child’s hands.
Voting ends on Thursday for everyone except those who attend the event. Online votes will be accepted until noon on Thursday, and in-person votes will be accepted until 5 p.m. at the United Way office at 202 N. Chestnut St. To vote online, visit www.unitedwayrobeson.org. Each vote costs $10.
“The last time the votes were tallied was last week,” Sandra Oliver, executive director of United Way of Robeson County, said this morning. “We are lagging behind, it appears, but we’re hoping that people are going to vote a lot more this year during the show.”
There will be five volunteers at the event who will be taking votes by cash, check, credit or debit card.
The second annual event will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center, where 18 couples will join to support child literacy by dancing as a pair. The couple with the most votes will win the competition. Dance teams have each been assigned a goal of $10,000.
The event raised $146,000 last year.
The Dolly Parton Imagination Library was established in 1996 by the country singer. It provides children age 5 and under with books each month, regardless of their family income. Tickets were sold for $30 each, enough to sponsor a child for a year.
“We started this program in hopes of reaching as many children as possible in that age range,” Oliver said. “It helps parents get their children ready to enter kindergarten, so that when they start school they will be prepared and stay on grade level.”
On Friday, there will be a full show and on Saturday, there will be a show and dinner.
Three judges will decide winners in the “Best Dressed” and “Best Dancer” categories. This year Robeson County Superior Court Judges Frank Floyd and Greg Bell, and Donnie Douglas, editor of The Robesonian, will comment on the dancers’ performances.
Partnering up are Carolyn Watson and Johnny Hunt; Melissa Wober and Patrick Cummings; Alicia Moody and Don Ward; Cheryl Page and John Robinson; Robin Peace and Emmett Brown; Ruby Jackson and Grady Pardue; Victoria Huggins and Joseph Martin; Kewanda Merritt and Leland Fuller; Kellie Blue and Gary Patrick; Tina Bullard and Rick Gregory; Rebekah Lowry and Bruce Mullis; Brooke Britt and Daniel Walters; Kristen Stone and Pedro Massol; Jennifer Hickman and Kenny Biggs; Olivia Oxendine will be dancing with Mickey Locklear and Ron Brown; Stephanie Kinlaw and Woody Beck; Victoria Hunt and Greg Bryant; and Jameson Terry and Harry Warriax.
There about 10,500 children 5 years old and younger eligible for the program in Robeson County, said Oliver. There are more than 1,500 children registered to receive books.