FARMINGTON — The stars are coming out as businesses and organizations show their support for this year’s Heat Dance III.

The dance will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7, in the North Dining Hall at the University of Maine at Farmington.

Local businesses, churches and organizations have been asked to help sponsor the dance by giving $150, $250, $500 or more. Hollywood Stars are featured in the United Way window at 232 Broadway for each sponsorship received to date. Each star is a thank-you for the contribution and support to help local people struggling to pay fuel bills.

Sandy River Charitable Foundation has again offered a grant of $5,000 to be matched by sponsorships and donations. Organizers hope to raise more than $15,000 to provide fuel assistance to hundreds of Franklin County households, said the Rev. Susan Crane, ECU HEAT coordinator.

People really care about their neighbors and don’t want them to be cold,” Crane said. “Thousands of dollars are being given, and thousands have already been spent, with weeks of winter yet to go.”

Since Nov. 1, 250 households have received 50-gallon deliveries of heating fuel through the ECU HEAT SHARE program. With temperatures dipping below zero, 50 gallons doesn’t last long, Crane said. Each household is limited to one delivery per heating season, she said.

The number of applications for ECU HEAT SHARE does not seem to be letting up,” said Judith Frost of Western Maine Community Action, which administers the program.

The change this year to ECU HEAT SHARE means households help contribute to the 50-gallon delivery by paying $50. The rest is paid by the program.

The Franklin County Ecumenical Heating Fund provides an equivalent amount of fuel for homes that are primarily heated by wood, pellets or propane.

The ECU HEAT SHARE program has made it possible for more families to be served than ever before,” Crane said. “So far this winter, no one has been turned away for lack of funds.”

The local band, Shepherd’s Pie, will play for Heat Dance III as a benefit for the ECU HEAT fund. Band members Tim Wallace and Jodie Gunther are key members of the planning committee.

Tickets are $10 in advance and are available at the Calico Patch and Devaney, Doak and Garrett Booksellers. Special “gold-plated” tickets are also for sale in those locations. A gold ticket includes dance admission, plus free champagne at the Homestead Bakery and a limousine ride to the dance. The Homestead will provide a Hollywood-themed menu that evening.

Tickets at the door will be $15. Free baby-sitting is offered at the dance by members of a UMF honors society.

Those attending are invited to come dressed for the Academy Awards. Aramark, the college dining service, will offer hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at the dance.

During the first band break, Oscars will be presented to Hollywood Legend Sponsors by Tom Saviello, master of ceremonies. During the second band break, three local celebrities will take part in a modified “Jeopardy” game, all about heating in Franklin County.

ECU HEAT is a ministry of the Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry and is a United Way Community Partner.

Businesses who would like to help sponsor Heat Dance III are asked to contact Crane at 778-2163 or by email at [email protected] for more information. Donations also can be sent by check to ECU HEAT at PO Box 147, Farmington, ME 04938. A cardboard version of an oil tank will be on the ticket table at the dance for donations.

[email protected]

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