FARMINGTON — Support for Friday’s Heat Dance III is heating up with 21 businesses, organizations and individuals contributing.
The fundraiser is for ECU HEAT, a ministry of the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry and a United Way Community Partner. The program provides heating assistance to needy residents in Franklin County.
It’s the third consecutive year the benefit dance has been held.
“Heat Dance has become an institution,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a welcoming letter addressed to dance attendees. “As a rural, grass-roots initiative that raises significant money for a vital cause, it is distinctive in the State of Maine.”
The Hollywood-style dress-up event begins at 7 p.m. Feb. 7 in the North Dining Hall at the University of Maine at Farmington.
“We are overjoyed at the participation so far and by the recognition from the highest level of state government,” said Susan Crane, a dance organizer and ECU HEAT coordinator. “Tonight, we need a big turnout to meet the big need in the state to help heat homes this winter. Our goal is to set a new standard for Heat Dance this year in terms of fundraising,” she said.
The Homestead Restaurant is hosting a pre-dance gala dinner. Purchasers of the $20 gold-plated ticket are entitled to a complimentary glass of champagne and a limousine ride to and from the dance, as well as admission.
Franklin Savings Bank will feature tellers in Hollywood costumes at their downtown Farmington branch.
All money raised by the dance will help people heat their homes. The need is particularly acute this year, given the unusual cold to date, Crane recently said. The program provides a one-time 50-gallon fuel oil allocation or a contribution of wood or wood pellets.
The dance features hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and music from the popular dance band Shepherd’s Pie.
Tickets are $10 in advance at Devaney, Doak and Garrett, and Calico Patch or $15 at the door. Gold-plated tickets are available at both locations as well as the Homestead Restaurant.
“On behalf of the State of Maine, I applaud the Rev. Susan Crane, the ECU HEAT organization and all the other groups that administer this program for their extraordinary work,” LePage wrote. “Together, they have helped more than 200 homes secure one of our basic human needs: warmth.”
He also applauded Jodie Gunther and Tim Wallace for leadership in organizing the event and their band, Shepherd’s Pie, for playing at the dance. He applauded individuals, businesses, civic groups, churches, health care and educational institutions who have contributed.
These include Farmington Rotary Club, Upright Frameworks, Allied Physical Therapy, Calico Patch, Castle and Cottage, Franklin Community Health Network, Kyes Insurance, Franklin Savings Bank, Otis Federal Credit Union, Sugarwood Gallery, Franklin Area Ecumenical Ministry, Franklin Chrysler, County Seat Realty, Trinity United Methodist Church, Dead River Co., Old South Congregational Church, United Way of the Tri Valley Area via Keep ME Warm, Mr. and Mrs. John Richman, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bjorn, Mr. and Mrs. Rockwell Bjorn and Mr. and Mrs. John Arsenault.