Diggin’ and Dancin’
Did you see the results of last week’s 8th edition of Dancing with our Stars? You do know about Dancing with our Stars, don’t you? Unless you’ve been off the grid for the past month, you’re surely aware of the annual dance-off fundraiser for the U.P. Hospice Foundation, presented by Upper Peninsula Home Health and Hospice.
This is one event that certainly shines in the public spotlight. Promotion is everywhere, including, but not limited to… TV6. Appearances on Upper Michigan Today by those involved were to be expected, but the local broadcast powerhouse also had a couple other reasons to get behind the event. General Manager Rick Rhoades, a past dancer along with wife Jamie, was a judge this year, while News Director Andrew LaCombe, along with dance partner Meagen Morrison, was in the competition.
The point I’m trying to make is… you’re likely already aware of the fundraising record the event achieved this year… well over $100,000 when it’s all counted. What you might not know is what one team of competitors, the team of Pat and Alyssa Digneit, totaled in contributions… a DWOS record of more than $30,000!
Dave Aro, UP Hospice Foundation Executive Director, usually pretty even-keeled, came up with some superlatives… “Wow, Unbelievable, Incredible, Superhuman! Apart from the money raised, they were also very supportive to the other dance couples before and during the event.”
The photo above shows Aro presenting the Digneits with a personal gift of appreciation for their outstanding contribution to the event.
Aro also points out that the Digneits weren’t the only couple to help fill the coffers. “We had 5 couples that raised over $10,000 which has never happened before, but they all worked hard with the time they had to commit to that aspect. The events the couples put on as fundraisers were also the most creative and fun I have seen.”
Though the dancers are the stars, event co-coordinators Lindsay Hemmila and Kori Bjorne are largely responsible for bringing it all together. According to Aro, “This year’s event was successful on all fronts. We don’t have all the bills in but it was definitely the most successful financially, and the show itself, based on the feedback I received from attendees and long-time crew members, was one of the best.”
On a personal note, I’ve been involved with the event for six of the eight years, none, thankfully, as a dancer. I hesitate to call anything the “best,” but Dancing with our Stars is certainly one of the best run fundraisers in town.
And what about those funds? According to Aro, the money will be put to good use. “Whether it’s to provide equipment or supplies, respite, a ‘Make-a-Memory’ experience, or even something as small as flowers on their birthday – we will be able to do that for them. Three years with no event [due to Covid] definitely impacted our bank account and this year will help a lot in restoring it.”
More DIGS News…
Some of you may be wondering when, and if, the DIGS Beach will ever reopen. The beach is that outdoor area behind DIGS downtown gastropub, featuring a bar and a stage, with entry off North Third.
A few of the rules bars and restaurants usually must adhere to were relaxed somewhat during the pandemic. Well… the pandemic’s over, and now the old rules are back, and it seems the DIGS Beach has to make some changes to once again be compliant.
According to co-owner Pat Digneit, they’re working with the various agencies responsible for enforcement and look to be back in action sooner rather than later. “Hopefully by the 4thof July.” With our hankering to enjoy our limited summer, we hope so too.
Speaking of summer…
A while back I wrote about the progress new ownership was making at Marquette Mountain. Though the focus is understandably on winter activities, there’s an effort afoot to make it a summer destination as well.
According to manager Kaet Johnson, there’s plenty on the schedule to fill the days until the snow flies. Here’s a rundown of some of the scheduled happenings…
There’ll be a Launch Party for their new Disc Golf course on June 10th. They have leagues in the books for Volleyball and Ping Pong. The Down Hill Bike Park opens on June 17th, and the MMR Gravity Series Downhill Mountain Bike Racing starts June 18th.
The rest of the summer calendar is littered with events celebrating music, the arts, and of course… outdoor recreation. For more information, visit their website at: marquettemountain.com
Just heard that Smelted Wood Fired Pizza, one of our many popular food trucks, is planning on putting the wheels on ice and moving into the former home of Jean Kay’s Pasties. Though my info is unconfirmed, it would be nice to see an empty storefront taken off the market.
We’d heard talk of this some time ago, but according to a report from TV6, the old Best Buy building in Marquette Township will soon be home to a business new to the area called Ride North, presumably specializing in outdoor rec gear. Again… I look forward to seeing an empty building up and running again.