AUBURN, Mass. — After countless hours of practicing their routines, Auburn's local celebrities are nearly ready to take the stage for the 4th Annual Dancing With The Stars on Feb. 9 — and the fundraiser is already sold out.
Proceeds from the event will support the work of Auburn Youth and Family Services, which, throughout the year, offers a holiday giving program, a food pantry, counseling and support groups to the Auburn community.
"It's a huge support for us, and we could not do it without Sally McDermott Dance Centers," said Sheryl Spafford of AYFS. "The owners, Sally and John Heany, are integral, and so are the dancers and choreographers and stars who all volunteer their time."
Spafford said that, in the past three years, the event has raised anywhere from $12,000 to $15,000 each year.
"While it's always been a popular event, this is the first year it has really sold out," she said, adding that residents interested in attending can still be added to a wait list in case seats open up.
"We feel very lucky to be in Auburn, because we get a lot of support from the community, and it's great to be able to help the community that supports us," said Spafford.
Throughout the holidays, couples made up of local dancers and notable Auburn residents have been practicing their dances — which this year incorporate an "International Amore" theme in the spirit of Valentine's Day.
"It's really amazing to see the community members step up and put themselves out there," said Spafford. "I can't imagine that it's an easy thing to do to learn a dance and then perform it in front of 200 people."
While some contestants start out nervous, "Afterwards they all say how much fun they had," Spafford said. "They really give so much of themselves to the event, not only in giving of their time, but putting themselves out there and supporting Auburn Youth and Family Services."
To get added to the wait list for tickets, contact Spafford at 508-832-5707, ext. 10, or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit AYFS at 21 Pheasant Court in Auburn. Hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Dancing With Stars of Auburn will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Sally McDermott Dance Centers in Auburn, 421 Washington St.