FARMINGTON — Organizers of Heat Dance, an emergency heating oil fundraiser, said the Franklin County event’s unexpected growth is important during this particularly cold winter.
The two-year-old fundraiser collected $9,000 its first year, $16,000 last year and hopes to top that number this year at their third annual Hollywood-themed dance Friday, Feb. 7, said Tim Wallace, an organizer with the fundraiser.
The proceeds from Heat Dance go toward one-time emergency 50-gallon fuel deliveries for Franklin County residents in need.
“It’s hard to believe, but there are people who can’t come in from a cold day. Their home is as cold inside as it is outside,” Wallace said.
Last winter, the heat delivery service, Ecu Heat, served 255 households for a total cost of $48,382.68.
Ecu Heat is a ministry of Farmington Area Ecumenical Council, which also runs the Farmington warming center on Tuesdays.
Wallace, who is a member of the event band Shepherd’s Pie, said organizers didn’t know how the community would respond to the dance the first year, and the band was shocked to see more than 300 people in attendance.
“We were just looking out from the stand at the crowded room, and I remember we were shaking our heads, we were so shocked,” he said.
The second year of the event, he said, they became more organized and systematic in seeking donations. They had similar attendance and raised $16,000.
This year, the Hollywood-themed dance involves a predance dinner at the Homestead Restaurant on Broadway. Wallace said there will be a limosine service to take dance attendees from the red carpet outside the restaurant to the University of Maine at Farmington, where the dance is held in the North Dining Hall.
Wallace said the dance is scheduled to run 7-11 p.m., but has traditionally run late. He said UMF students will offer babysitting services at the university for the children of attendees. At the dance, there will be music, food and a cash bar.
“It’s fun for people, because it’s really one of the only chances to get dressed up and go out in Farmington,” he said.
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 firstname.lastname@example.org