LETTER: The Big Apple comes to Richmond County

To the editor:

Three hundred and five tickets sold, 70 volunteers, 17 restaurants, eight dancing duos, three judges, two performing couples, one fantastic playbill and an amazing amount of support from our community allowed us to raise $24,000 for hospice care at our First Annual “Taste of the Sandhills, showcasing Dancing with the Stars.”

The evening began with the “Taste of the Sandhills” where the restaurants presented their best food items for sampling. We are so thankful for Captain George’s Seafood, Chapman’s Food and Spirit, FATZ, G. Charles Bakery, Half Baked Creative Catering by Melissa, Henry’s Uptown Café, Hickory Tavern, Hidden Treasures Catering, Los Cabos, Mi’Casita, Oliver’s Hometown, Pattan’s Downtown Grille, Peking Wok, Plaza Jalisco, Taco Loko, Wing Queen Café and Smithfield’s Chicken ‘N Bar-B-Q for their delicious dishes. The guests mingled through the streets of “New York City” and enjoyed sites such as the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.

After trying the various menu items, guests then moved to the “Majestic Theatre” with its Broadway décor to enjoy the Dancing with the Stars Competition. Vying for the mirror ball trophy were eight dancing duos cheered on by their admiring fans and scored by national dance competition judges.

Kenneth and Claudia Robinette shagged to “You’re the One That I Want;” Crowell Poplin and Melissa Billingsley hustled to “Waiting for Tonight;” David Smith and Gayvin Powers danced a foxtrot/cha-cha blend to “All That Jazz;” Alex Kelly and Onequa Crump sambaed to “Magahlena;” Dennis Quick and Trish Hodges cha-cha’d to “Conga;” Terry Greer and Calendra McDonald swing danced to “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy;” Tavares Bostic and Jenna Staub tangoed to “Cellblock Tango;” and Matt Harrelson and Mary Kate Lambeth discoed to “Knock on Wood.”

Additional entertainment was provided by our 2012 Richmond County Hospice Dancing with the Stars returning champions, Sharon and John Hutchinson, and nationally recognized Shag champions, Kyler Bynum and Sydney West. Although all the dances were truly wonderful, three winners had to be chosen.

The Hospice Choice Award went to Crowell Poplin and Melissa Billingsly, the People’s Choice Award went to Kenneth and Claudia Robinette and the Judges Choice Award went to Matt Harrelson and Mary Kate Lambeth.

Thank you to all the dancers, food vendors, in-kind donors, volunteers, sponsors and Richmond County Hospice staff. This amazingly successful event would not have been possible without any one of you.

Julie Woody and Kristina Leyden

Richmond County Hospice

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