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Cutting a rug for charity

By RACHEL BRANT

Staff writer

Cowboys and cowgirls will dance the night away next weekend and raise thousands of dollars in the process.

The third annual “Dance for a Wish” event begins at 7 p.m. Friday, March 7, in the President’s Hall at Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Bremerton. Don Frazier, event chairman, leads a group of volunteers affiliated with the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede to organize the fund-raising event.

“Dance for a Wish” started when a close friend was diagnosed with cancer, so the group decided to raise money for her, according to Frazier.

“About five years ago a good friend of ours found out she had cancer, so we decided to put on a benefit and raise money for her and we had a pretty darn good time,” he said.

“Dance for a Wish” has raised more than $70,000 during the past two years to support local charities. Each year the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the NW, Camp Agape near Gig Harbor and the Fisher House at Fort Lewis receive $10,000 each from the charity dance.

Thanks to donations from “Dance for a Wish,” two local children with life-threatening medical conditions are granted their wishes each year.

“We have granted two wishes a year for local kids,” Frazier said. “They get the chance to do something they really want to do and we make sure it’s Kitsap County kids.”

Children with cancer and their families travel to Camp Agape near Gig Harbor to spend time together and donations from “Dance for a Wish” help make that camping trip a reality.

“We thought that was pretty special,” Frazier said.

Fisher House supports wounded military members and their families. While a member of the armed forces is being treated at Madigan Army Medical Center, Fisher House allows the man or woman’s family to live nearby while their family member recovers from an injury or battles an illness. Frazier himself spent time at the army hospital and knows that Fisher House helps a lot of families during difficult times.

Proceeds from this year’s “Dance for a Wish” also will be donated to the Chittenden Scholarships. Former Kitsap County Fair Board Vice President John Chittenden died last spring and $6,000 raised at “Dance for a Wish” will go toward the Chittenden Scholarships. The agricultural scholarships are available to local high school students.

The Olympic College Culinary Arts students will prepare gourmet appetizers for “Dance for a Wish” and Frazier said the event also will donate money to the culinary program.

“(The OC students) do a fine job for us at the dance,” Frazier said.

Frazier said last year’s “Dance for a Wish” drew about 400 people dressed in their best western gear. He added that they hope to see close to 500 people at next weekend’s dance.

“It’s grown every year,” Frazier said. “It’s way more successful then we dreamed it would be.”

Frazier said the dance is an “elegant western affair,” so guys and gals can don their best cowboy hats, Wranglers and dresses to cut a rug with friends.

“It’s a chance for cowboys and cowgirls to dress up a bit,” Frazier said. “It’s just a really neat deal. It’s fun to see everybody.”

A new band will take to the stage at this year’s “Dance for a Wish.” Gus Housen with Gordon Sound in Silverdale recommended “The Warren Brothers Band” play tunes at the event. The same band has played at the past two charity dances and Frazier is excited to change it up a bit.

“We decided we’d make a change in the band this year to keep the dance fresh,” Frazier said. “We’ve heard nothing but positive things about this band so we’re pretty tickled to have them.”

A live and silent auction also will be featured at “Dance for a Wish.” Nearly 15 items will be available during the live auction including a NASCAR trip, a Seattle Mariners suite, tickets to rodeos, a National Finals Rodeo (NFR) leather jacket and hard-to-find NFR tickets.

“There’s just a lot of interesting stuff and stuff you can use,” Frazier said.

“Dance for a Wish” tickets purchased in advance are $35 each or $45 at the door. For more information, visit the Kitsap Fair & Stampede Web site at www.kitsaprodeo.com.

“The most important thing for people to know is we want them to come and have a good time,” Frazier said. “We want you to have a good time and that’s what it’s about.”

Dance for a Wish

Friday, March 7

7 p.m. — 1 a.m.

President’s Hall

Kitsap County Fairgrounds

Advanced tickets $35

At the door $45

Visit www.kitsaprodeo.com for more information.

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