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A spectacular night of celebrity dancing highlighted the inaugural Movers & Shakers Gala, a benefit for Lakeland College and the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra held May 31 at Lakeland.
This star-studded night featured eight well-known area celebrities in a setting complete with red-carpet glitz, glamour and gourmet cuisine. Lakeland College's Todd Wehr Center was transformed into a beautiful ballroom, including wall-to-wall carpeting, a massive lighting setup and huge video screens that let a who's who of Sheboygan County showcase their best moves.
The celebrities were each paired with a professional dancer, and after months of training they competed to win the support of three professional judges and nearly 500 guests, who were busy buying votes throughout the evening. Yes, these dancers could be bought!
Deborah Wente, chair of the Movers & Shakers Gala and a Lakeland trustee, said the glamorous evening was a rousing success, setting a standard for fundraising events in the region.
"Our first event surpassed our wildest expectations," Wente said. "Our goal was to deliver a night that offered something special and unique, and the feedback we've received is that we certainly delivered.
"There were a number of people attending our event that have been supporting events like this for years in our community, and they can't ever recall experiencing something quite like this. It was very special, and we couldn't be happier with what we have been able to do for these two deserving organizations."
Michael Stayer-Suprick danced the fox trot and took home the first title, topping a field that included some of Sheboygan County's biggest names. Stayer-Suprick is president of West Shore Industries, specializing in consumer displays and exhibits, and a veteran of service to non-profit organization boards throughout Sheboygan.
The other seven dancers were:
It was a full evening that alternated between celebrity dancing, a multi-course gourmet meal and a number of unique live auction items. The meal was prepared by Lakeland's food service and served by over 100 enthusiastic volunteers from Lakeland, the SSO and the community. Guests sat in beautifully-decorated tables surrounding the dance floor.
Live auction items included the opportunity to build a two-room school in Malawi, Africa, win a spot as a dancer for the 2009 Movers & Shakers Gala, take the podium to conduct the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra for a piece during their Christmas Treasures concert this December and win dance packages to Buenos Aires, Vienna and Sevilla, Spain.