The much-loved fundraiser will take place Sept. 14-17 and will benefit six local nonprofits 

ATASCADERO — After a two-and-a-half-year break, and four postponements, the long wait is finally over, and Atascadero’s much-loved fundraiser, Dancing With Our Stars (DWOS), is back for its 11th season. This year the competition’s theme is “Prime Time Atascadero: Season 11” and will take place at the Atascadero Lake Pavilion from Sept. 14 through 17.

“The original show was scheduled in March 2020,” said the event’s producer Jeannie Malik. “Following four postponements, we are anxious to share this fabulous event with the community. The dancers are well-rehearsed.” 

Dancing With Our Stars started in 2010 to raise funds to build a new library in Atascadero. In June 2014, the goal was met when the new library opened its doors. In 2017, a few years after the new library opened, DWOS started including other nonprofits in the festivities. This year, six nonprofits (including Friends of the Atascadero Library) will have Community Stars representing them.


Michelle Harms will be dancing for the Friends of the Atascadero Library, Melinda Reed will be dancing for the Templeton Community Library Association, Kate Auslen will be dancing for the Atascadero Performing Arts Center Committee, Steve Robinson will be dancing for the Charles Paddock Zoo, Shay Angles will be performing for Sheriff’s Advisory Board/Atascadero Police K9 Foundation, and Dianna Vonderheide will be dancing to benefit the North County Economic Foundation/Leadership North County.

“The Community Stars are selected in June of each year. The community stars are paired with a pro-choreographer and begin their training. Many Community Stars have little or no dance experience, and they benefit greatly from the professional instruction,” said Malik. “Many Community Stars have learned that dancing is fun, and they continue their newfound passion long after the event. We fondly refer to this as ‘being bit by the dance bug.’”

On top of all the volunteers involved with putting the dancing competition on, there are over 40 dancers, including 10 world-class choreographers and professional dance partners, and past winners featured in vignettes. Everyone donates their time and talent to the show, and Artistic Show Director Molly Comin, who took over for Frank Sanchez in 2018, keeps the show’s vision in place.

“Molly’s current show [‘Prime Time Atascadero: Season 11’] is based on popular TV shows of the past and present, spanning from ‘Mr. Ed’ to ‘Game of Thrones.’ The stage sets, fabulous costumes, and engaging dance performances are top notch,” added Malik. “Assistant Show Director Christina Troxel has fully supported Molly in her quest to keep the show alive during the pandemic since March 2020. Christina has recast several performers and scheduled additional rehearsals to keep the momentum moving forward for a highly entertaining show.”

Fundraising for this year’s DWOS started in August 2019 and will continue until the final show on Sept. 17. In addition to ticket sales, they also sell votes. Votes will be $10 each until 7 p.m., Sept. 12, and will increase to $20 each until the final show. All vote funds will go directly to the Community Star’s nonprofit.

This year, DWOS has a record-breaking total of 88 sponsors, including: 

Diamond Sponsors

Opolo Vineyards Opolo Owners/Winemakers, Rick Quinn & Dave Nichols, Moca Foundation– Mary Bianco.

Platinum Sponsors – $5,000 

Vicky Morse, 13 Stars Media, Mechanics Bank, Julie C. Fallon, M.D., John & Yvonne Webster, The Zappas Family – La Plaza, El Camino Veterinary Hospital, Mike and Lori Bickel – B Loved.

Emerald Sponsors – $3,500

Jean & Joe Kuntze, Malik Real Estate Group, Don & Janey Giessinger-Atascadero 76.

Gold Sponsors – $2,500

Solarponics, BHE Renewables Westar Associates, Grigger & Alice Jones, Central Coast Party Helpers.

Gold Sponsors – $2,000

Don & Helen Jernigan, Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP, SLO County Supervisors- Debbie Arnold & John Peschong, Western Heritage Realty– Cynthia Fisher.

Silver Sponsors – $1,000

Sue Hayes, Twist + Co, Lube N Go, 777 Auction, Dr. Sciortino, Grenda Ernst, DJ Joy Bonner, Wallace Group, Castoro Cellars, Bloom N’ Grow, Highlight Media, Poole & Shaffery, Bank of America, Got You Covered, IDLERS HOME, Bill Gaines Audio, Atascadero News, Charles Bourbeau, The Cooper Family, Ron & Judy Simons, Kim Croft-Compass, The Real Estate Book, K.Jons Jewelry Co., Eric & Carol Gobler, All Tech Services, Inc, Pear Valley Vineyards, STL Orthopedics Ltd., Brecon Estate Winery, Central Coast Brewing, American Riviera Bank, Jacob Lovejoy Catering, Coast Hills Credit Union, Glenn’s Repair and Rental, Music Editor Brian Reeves, Rotary Club of Atascadero, Gary Spinelli-Hunter Ranch, Kiwanis Club of Atascadero, Native Landscape Creations, Dienzo Fine Art Photography, Corvus Wealth Management, Southern California Gas Co, On the Wall Galaxy Theatre Advertising.

Bronze Sponsors – $500

Lori Johnston, Eberle Winery, Greg Vogelpohl, Highlight Media, KelNik Vineyards, CK Farr Dentistry, Wonderful Giving, Waste Management, Delta Liquid Energy, Dr. Nelson Yamagata, Oak Hill Center, LLC, Roy and Janice McKee, Central Coast Brewing, New Times Media Group, William Huiras, DDS, Inc, Reverend K. Cherie Jones, Associated Traffic Safety,Inc., Adler Belmont Dye Insurance, Ken Nagahara-KMN Architect, Jay Walsh- Ravine Water Park, Crystal White – Wayfarer Bread, Manzanita Property Management, and Courtney Morrow- State Farm Agent.