“The Fonz,” better known as Stan Fargher, strolled offstage with the mirror ball trophy at the fifth annual Dancing with the Gorge Stars competition Friday in The Dalles.
“Ayyyyy,” he said of the victory.
Fargher and Bailey Steffen, his pro partner from the Utah Ballroom Dance Company, captured top marks from the judges and audience. Their routine involved lively swing jazz steps to the theme song from “Happy Days,” a TV series that ran from 1974 to 1984.
“Stan, out of all the accomplishments of your life, how would you rate becoming the winner of Dancing with the Gorge Stars?” asked Mark Lowes, owner of the dance company, who acted as master of ceremonies for the Friday evening event in auditorium of The Dalles High School.
“I’m not sure where I would put that,” said Fargher,an early morning DJ for Y102 Country radio and owner of Maupin Hardware Store.
“My next question is, Where would you put the trophy?” asked Lowes.
“On the front of my motorcycle,” said Stan, taking a “Fonzi” stance.
Before each of the six amateurs and their partners appeared on stage, they were shown in a comedic video that presented the rationale for why they should win audience votes.
In his video, Fargher said what he loved most about being involved with the competition was the ability to help the Mid-Columbia Community Concert Association raise funds to bring cultural enrichment opportunities to five counties.
“We are going to win but, even if we don’t, it’s for a good cause,” he said.
Dean Dollarhide, an agent for State Farm Insurance, one of three judges. He ruled from the bench that Fargher had “shook it and moved it.”
“Did you drink some Red Bull (energy drink) before you came onstage?” he asked.
“I drank something, but it wasn’t Red Bull,” replied a straight-faced Fargher.
Although he won, Fargher captured only two more votes than contestant Ellie Webb-Timinsky, who performed a passionate Salsa dance with partner Alex Galvan to the “I Dream of Jeannie” theme.
“I’m a dance mom and now it’s my turn,” said Webb-Timinsky in her video.
She was dressed as “Jeannie” and told Lowe after her act that she had “just put a spell on everyone” so she expected their votes.
Judge Tonya Brumley, a former contestant and community affairs manager for NW Natural, seemed to be under her spell.
“Wow, that was one spicy salsa sister and I’m going to give you a 10 (perfect score),” she said.
Also taking the role of judge was Addie Case, general manager of Cousin’s Country Inn.
Prior to the announcement of Fargher as the winner, Webb-Timinsky was asked by Lowes how she would deal with the demands for autographs and attention of the paparazzi as a celebrity.
“It won’t be much different than regular life,” responded “Jeannie” with a toss of her ponytail.
“And the award for most humble would definitely go to you,” Lowes replied.
Dollarhide wore a black robe and white powdered wig to emphasis the seriousness of his role.
“Are you wearing anything under that robe?” asked Lowes.
“Depends,” replied Dollarhide, a former contestant.
“I wish I could dance. I wish you could too,” he told Joe Morales after his performance of a polka to the tune of “Gilligan’s Island” with partner Heather Shinsil.
“He might be a better dancer than you are a judge,” interjected Lowes.
Morales, owner of Blue Angel Handy Man Service, summed up the completion of his dance without mishap in two words. “I’m relieved.”
Dollarhide wove statements involving each contestant’s profession into his critique of their performance.
For example, he told Stan Wray, a cook at Mid-Columbia Medical Center, that the “missing ingredient, I felt, was rhythm.”
“I felt it was criminal and I’m sentencing you to 10 years,” said Dollarhide.
Wray was the first contestant to show his moves. He made an appearance dressed for the part of “Andy Griffith” and danced a Two Step to that theme song with Steffen.
Also on deck Jan. 12 was: Wendy Wham, manager of Petite Provence, who was dressed like one of the “Baywatch” beauties for a Cha Cha with Bannon Frank; Mary Morehouse, owner of a bookkeeping and tax service and coach of a youth cheer league, who danced a Quickstep dressed as “Wilma Flintstone” to the show’s theme song with Seth Ward.
Lowes told the audience before the dancing began that each contestant had spent five days practicing for “the longest 90 seconds of their life.”
Patti Blagg, founder and organizer of the event, was unable to give her customary introduction due to a medical emergency. However, she stopped in during the evening to check on how things were going.
Ronnie Smith, president of MCCCA, took over for Blagg to make announcements. She told the audience that three concerts remained in the 2017-18 season, so the $70 individual and $150 family pass was still a good deal. She said the new season involving five performances began in May.
Coming on April 2 are the Quebe Sisters, followed by Steven Vanhauwaert on April 23 and Good Co on May 18. All three performances take place in the auditorium of The Dalles High School. More information is available at midcolumbiacommunityconcerts.org.
Smith said DWTGS was the sole fundraiser of the nonprofit organization and thanked the audience of several hundred people for their support.
Lowes said the stop in The Dalles was the first of a 45-event tour for the dance company.
“You know what they say, always save the best for first,” he said, thanking community members for offering the dance company great hospitality.