Back in 2019, Mary Vasquez, the owner of Mary’s Morning Mix-Up in Brookfield, decided to take some dancing lessons. Three years later, she’ll get the chance to show everyone her best moves while competing against nine other members of the Brookfield Chamber of Commerce during Dancing with the Chamber on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. at Riverside-Brookfield High School, 160 Ridgewood Road in Riverside.
Vasquez and Brookfield Chamber Treasurer Amy Weinert broached the idea of a “Dancing with the Stars”-type event back in 2019.
“I said, ‘Let’s do it! It’d be so much fun to get all the businesses involved,” Vasquez said.
The chamber had quietly planned to roll out the contest in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic quashed that effort. But 2022 will be the year.
“It will be a fun event where we can put the spotlight on businesses and give advertising opportunities to others who otherwise might not be able to reach such a large audience,” Weinert said.
The 10 contestants include Vasquez, Jason Baumann of Boxless Media, Chris Borzym representing Betty’s Flowers & Gifts, Mike Doerr of A Sound Education, Doug Fiala of Douglas Auto Body, Riverside-Brookfield High School Principal Hector Freytas, Charles Hitzeman of Hitzeman Funeral Home, Annette Pardun of Fill My Jar, Aaron Pesek of Beach Ave. BBQ and Abby Snow of Brennan Massage & Spa.
They’ll be judged by a three-person panel that includes Chicago dance studio owner and Brookfield resident Teresa Swanson, Brookfield resident and Parks & Rec Commissioner Mary Vyskocil and Riverside-Brookfield Landmark Editor Bob Uphues.
According to Weinert, who will emcee the show in the auditorium of the high school, each contestant will perform one number accompanied by a professional dancer.
“We are putting these 10 business owners in a really foreign situation,” Weinert said. “We’ll get a chance to learn a lot about these people, and I think it’s fantastic.”
Swanson, who runs Sway Dance Studio in Chicago, choreographed all of the routines. Dancers are busy rehearsing at Riverside-Brookfield High School for the big reveal on Oct. 1.
“I’ll do the best I can and that’s all,” Vasquez said. “[On Aug. 31], I did a double [rehearsal]. I want to be the best!”
The auditorium at RBHS holds 692 people, and Weinert has given each contestant 60 tickets to sell, which still leaves some room if those sell out. Both Vasquez and Borzym sold their quotas almost immediately and are looking for more, so it looks like it could be a packed house.
Tickets, which are $20 apiece, can be purchased at the following locations: Boxless Media, 9041 Monroe Ave.; Betty’s Flowers & Gifts, 9138 Broadway Ave.; A Sound Education, 9433 Ogden Ave.; Douglas Auto Body, 4015 Eberly Ave.; Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 31st St.; Fill My Jar, 3726 Prairie Ave.; Beach Ave. BBQ, 3453 Grand Blvd.; Brennan Massage & Spa, 3700 Grand Blvd.; Mary’s Morning Mix-Up, 9110 Broadway Ave.; and First National Bank of Brookfield, 9136 Washington Ave.
Of the money raised from ticket sales, $1,000 is going to RBHS for hosting the event and $1,000 will go to a charity chosen by each judge. The rest will fund scholarships the chamber gives annually and for programs that support businesses in Brookfield.
“We’re doing this to be out with the community, to show support for our businesses and to give back to the community,” Weinert said.