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Salvation Army events highlight the joy of giving
The first ever Turlock Dancing with the Stars fundraiser for the Salvation Army will be held on Sept. 20 at the Assyrian American Civic Club. - photo by Photo Contributed

Fundraising for the Salvation Army is taking a new turn in Turlock as the days of bake sales and car washes are being replaced with upcoming nights of drinks and dancing to support the several initiatives of the Turlock branch of the national organization. 

“We’ve been trying to think outside the box for ways to fundraise for the Salvation Army and we’re really excited about these upcoming events,” said Coordinator Kristin Bettencourt. “What’s really great about getting behind the Salvation Army is that 92 percent of the money raised stays in the community and there are so many needs it fills.”

This month locals can make a difference in the lives of those in need by making their way to Pageo Farms for an evening of Moonlight and Margaritas at the fourth annual event. However, margaritas are not the only thing locals can enjoy under the moonlight as sangria and microbrews will also be available to accompany dinner catered by La Morenita. With a silent and live auction as well as dancing to live music by the band LIVIN, locals can enjoy good food, good drinks and support a good cause.

“This is our fourth annual event and this year we’re adding a couple special touches in memory of our friend Jane Vilas who was on the Advisory Board and was one of the Salvation Army’s biggest supporters with her time and monetarily,” said Bettencourt. “But, like usual, this year we are expecting a good time with friendly visiting, good food and hundreds of people.”

Less than one month after Moonlight and Margaritas locals can make their way to the Assyrian American Civic Club for the first ever Turlock Dancing with the Stars fundraiser, based off of the popular television show. Conceived of by Bettencourt after an online conversation with friends who suggested she aim to put on an event inspired by the show that has run for 18 seasons, Bettencourt did some investigating, formed a committee, and made the idea a reality. On Tuesday, the selected group of participating ‘stars’ and ‘pros’ gathered for a meet and greet and will soon begin practicing for their big debut on Sept. 20. 

“It’s a lighthearted and good spirited event that we are going for – it will be competitive but fun. We expressed to our dancers that we don’t want them to feel pressure but to enjoy themselves because this is an event for a good cause,” said Bettencourt.

Locals will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite star at voting booths around town where tickets are sold, as well as on a website which will go live on Aug. 11. Contrary to the popular television show where low-performing couples are voted off as the show goes on, all of the couples will perform the night of the event and be evaluated by a panel of judges. Audience members will also have an opportunity to vote at the event as there will be two winners: the couple with the highest combined score between the judges and the audience and the couple who raised the most money.

Locals can purchase tickets for the Moonlight and Margaritas at Yonan’s Jewelers and First Cal Mortgage. Tickets for the Turlock Dancing with the Stars event will be available Aug. 11 at Geiger’s Jewelers, Yonan’s Jewelers, and Jura’s Pizza Parlor.