Boogie with the Stars success tops $35,000

Boogie with the Stars, which took place at the Civic Centre on New Year's Eve, saw about 300 people attend to raise more than $35,000 for the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation.

"We were so surprised and grateful when we found out the total," said Peter Weedon, one of the event organizers. "It's amazing the amount that was raised and there's more coming."

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The final numbers will be tallied next week.

There were seven teams that danced during the Boogie with the Stars competition that took place during the event, which included dinner and dancing for everyone as well.

First place went to Dale Jarvis on team IDL. Jarvis is the project manager for IDL Projects Inc., who danced with instructor Leslie Farella.

Second place was Team Enbridge who was supposed to star Janet Holder, leader for the Northern Gateway pipeline project, but due to some personal health concerns, Holder was unable to attend and was replaced by Jana Phillips, who danced with instructor Zeki Basboyuk.

Team UNBC starring Thomas Nowak, a third year commerce student at UNBC and captain of the UNBC JDC West Team, came third. Nowak danced with instructor Janis Smith.

To honour the City of Prince George's 100th birthday there was a display that spanned the width of the stage during Boogie with the Stars that was flanked by two murals. One was the image of train and the other an image of a boat in the river beside a train on its track.

The murals are of historical significance to Prince George and were created by artist Harold A. Pym who was commissioned to do the work by the Delta hotel chain that originally owned the Coast Inn of the North. Pym produced 10 murals for the Red Garter Room. The boat mural has #2 of 10 on the back and the train and boat mural has #3 of 10 on its back.

Dance team Cariboo Prince George featured Todd Doherty, newly elected Conservative candidate for the federal riding of Cariboo Prince George, who danced with instructor Paz Milburn, who was co-organizer of the event..

Doherty was intrigued by the murals as well.

"The artist was fairly famous, did an amazing amount of work in the 60s and 70s, did war posters as well and it's interesting for me to find out how it came about that he did the work," said Doherty.

"And how did they end up in Prince George? I think the murals are amazing and I'd like to know where the rest of them are."

Although Doherty did not place in the top three he really enjoyed the experience despite the nerves that came with performing.

"I've presented to thousands of people, heads of state, royal families, but that was by far the most nerve-racking three minutes and 38 seconds of my life," said Doherty, who performed the Argentine tango and a little bit of disco during the contest. "It was something else. The pressure was on with Paz being the three-time champion."

Doherty was in the middle of the election for the riding nomination up until Dec. 13 and said he was a little preoccupied with that but the very next day he tried to make up for lack of rehearsal by doing two practices a day. It wasn't enough to win but that wasn't really the point anyway, he said.

"At the end of the day, I was so happy we did it," said Doherty. "As a group we raised more than $35,000 for the Spirit of the North Healthcare Foundation and I can't say enough about organizers Peter and Paz's passion for this program. They do it out of the kindness of their hearts and 100 per cent of the proceeds goes to healthcare in the north."

Weedon and Milburn have made Boogie with the Stars an annual event but have decided to take a step back from it. The next event will be held on New Year's Eve 2016.

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