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'Dancing with the Stars and Stripes' to benefit homeless veterans

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In an effort to raise funds for homeless and at-risk veterans, the nonprofit Veterans Resource Centers of America is hosting its fourth annual "Dancing with the Stars and Stripes" fundraiser in Santa Rosa on Saturday, April 13.

Modeled after the popular “Dancing with the Stars” TV show, attendees will watch as 11 ballroom dance teams, made up of professional dancers paired with local volunteers, compete at Sonoma Country Day School’s Jackson Theater, starting at 7:30 p.m.

“Dancing with the Stars and Stripes will help raise awareness and much-needed funds for our agency so we can continue to address the unique needs of the veteran community,” said VRC President and CEO Peter Cameron in a statement.

The last three fundraisers netted $150,000, according to event manager Barbara McChesney, and the agency, which serves veterans in California, Arizona and Nevada, expects to raise even more this year thanks to a new VIP reception.

Here's how it works: Teams raise $1 for every vote they receive online. Three trophies are handed out as People’s Choice awards — based on how many votes and donations the team received — and three awards are given based on the judges’ scores. The team with the most votes/donations and highest score from the judges goes home with the grand prize trophy.

Attendees also have a chance to win raffle prizes, including a three-night stay at Laguna de Santa Rosa; a group sailing trip around the San Francisco Bay; a five-night stay at Hale Pupukea Country Cottage on Oahu; a four-night stay at Napili Kai Beach Resort on Maui; or the grand prize of eight nights on Maui at two beachside resorts. Raffle tickets cost $10 each.

Light snacks and refreshments will be available for purchase for general admission ticket holders. VIP pass holders will enjoy a pre-show reception at 6 p.m. with live music, in addition to food prepared by chefs Carlo Cavallo of B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille, Ed Metcalfe of Sushi Moto’s and former executive chef Josef Morphis.

General admission is $40 and VIP passes, available until April 7, are $80.

For more information and to meet the dancers, go to www.dancingwiththestarsandstripes.org or contact Barbara McChesney at 707-477-1518.

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