dancing_web.jpgFORT LAUDERDALE — Rehearsing their dance lifts, spins and attitude, five Broward business and community leaders are preparing to face off as The Pantry of Broward and Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Present the fifth annual Dancing with the Stars of Broward, on Saturday, May 4 in Hollywood.

The premier fundraising event for the nonprofit Pantry of Broward helps provide food and other support services to seniors on low or fixed incomes and grandparents raising their grandchildren. Modeled after the popular

national TV show, Dancing with the Stars of Broward pairs each local celebrity with a professional dance instructor. During weeks of tough training, they’re preparing to take the stage at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to perform two dance routines for an audience of about 400 guests.

For the event’s fifth anniversary, the celebrity competitors have already upped the ante: The pair that wins the champion’s trophy must dazzle the judges and audience — and have a strong showing in raising funds for the event.  So as they perfect their dance moves, the celebs are rallying friends and family to “vote” for their teams by making online donations to the charity.

This year’s celebrity competitors are Chef Lee Blakley of Wines for Humanity, Alyssa Lovitt of Timpano Italian Chophouse, JohnMabry of AutoNation, Luke Moorman of Carroll’s Jewelers and Kathy O’Brien of Fort Lauderdale Country Club.

Tickets, $200 per person, are limited and interested guests are encouraged to reserve seats early by calling Terrence Smalley at The Pantry of Broward at 954-358-1481, ext. 113 or ordering online at thepantryofbroward.org

This year’s co-chairs are Gale Butler of AutoNation and Jen Klaassens of The Wasie Foundation, who was a 2011 Dancing with the Stars of Broward contestant and a judge in 2012.

“Guests know Dancing with the Stars of Broward delivers a high-energy evening for a great cause,” said Klaassens. “To celebrate the event’s fifth anniversary, our team is taking costumes, production effects and fun to the next level.”

Judges will be Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank Ortis and 2012 Dancing with the Stars of Broward celebrity dancers Laurina Anderson, Marc Cannon, Johnny Williams and Katrina Wright, who will offer commentary on the performances.  Audience members can also purchase votes before and during the event for $1 each.

“As The Pantry’s major annual fundraiser, Dancing with the Stars of Broward is vital to our mission of helping seniors in need in Broward County,” said Penny Loughan, executive director of The Pantry of Broward.  “This year, through social media, all the contestants’ friends can support their team and be in on the fun.”

Sponsorships also are available by calling Terrence Smalley at 954-358-1481, ext. 113 or Terrence@thepantryofbroward.org. In addition to presenting sponsor the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, major sponsors include Publix, AutoNation and The Wasie Foundation.  Pernod Ricard USA and Wines For Humanity are providing significant support, and other sponsors include BB&T, Bimini Boat Yard, BNETGraphics, Carroll’s Jewelers, FastPrintz Oakland Park, Fort Lauderdale Country Club, Miller Construction Company, Postal Centers International, Quinn Pro Quo, Smith & Knibbs Public Relations, SBBS, Spector Law Offices and Timpano Italian Chophouse.