Hermiston saw a lot of star power on Saturday night, when six local business and community leaders competed for the title in the fifth annual Dancing With the Hermiston Stars event.
State Representative Greg Smith took home the top prize, dedicating his winnings to the Hermiston Warming Station. Local businesswoman LuAnn Davison was the runner-up, with her funds going toward Hermiston Campus Life, a mentorship and Christian organization for local teens. The other contestants were city councilor Clara Beas Fitzgerald, county commissioner Bill Elfering, retired firefighter Spike Piersol, and business owner Eva Swain.
Smith and his partner Trina Morago danced the Paso Doble, with a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” theme. Davison and her partner Anthony Whipple danced the Cha Cha with a hard rock twist — to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”
The six contestants raised a total of $11,347 for their charities — though earnings for each charity have yet to be announced. Last year the event raised about $15,000 for charities, event director Mary Corp said.
The crowd loved the dances from both the stars and the professionals of the Utah Ballroom Dance Company, cheering mid-song and clapping along to songs they knew.
“I was shocked to win,” Smith said after the announcement. “I just came out to have a good time. Everyone who danced was phenomenal.”
Smith said he felt raising money for the warming station was important now more than ever, with the unusually cold winter, and thanked all who contributed to the event.
Smith had spent several hours this week driving back and forth between Salem and Hermiston for rehearsals — but said it was worth it.
“It was a blast,” he said.
The event is organized by the Desert Arts Council, and was sponsored by the Hermiston Breakfast Kiwanis Club.