The Free Press, Mankato, MN


January 31, 2014

Song and dance: Dancing fundraiser draws humorous banter, serious competition

Dancing fundraiser draws humorous banter, serious competition


Joe Galli, on the other hand, knows a little something about moving around the dance floor.

At 70 years old, the legendary owner of Dairy Queen West is the event's oldest-ever competitor. More than half of it he's spent dancing with his wife, Vicki.

"We've always enjoyed dancing," he said. "We've been married 46 years. ... I'm a good follower."

That skill, he said, will serve him well with partner and MSU dance student Brenda Martinson. He said they've crafted a "jitterbug" sort of dance but he'll leave the heavy jittering to her.

"I'm too old for cartwheels," he said.

Mitzi Roberts, director of Dance Express, which organizes the competition, said last year's event filled the Kato Ballroom to capacity — even before the public had a chance to buy tickets. This year's event was moved to the Verizon Wireless Center to accommodate a larger crowd and Roberts said more than 1,600 tickets have been sold already.

"It's a lot of fun to see these local celebrities out of their comfort zone," she said. "It's definitely a great family event."

Additional participants include: Buster's Sports Bar and Grill owner Matt Little and Whitney Waugh; Bedpost Furniture owner Mark Weinstein and Amy Wilson; Mankato East assistant principal Kory Kath and Heather Mueller, director of teaching and learning for Mankato schools; Scheels Sporting Goods assistant manager Wade Fischer and Dana Enfield; Mankato Area Young Life director Travis Bowen and Meredith Martin; physician Rich Peller and Nicole Mueller; chiropractor Kevin Hardesty and Jessica Alstad; real estate agent Angie VanEman and Travis Shafer; and OZ Family Dentistry owner Dan Osdoba and Gretchen Osdoba.

If You Go What Dancing with the Mankato Stars When 7 p.m. on Saturday Where Verizon Wireless Center Tickets $15 tickets, $25 VIP/dancer section. Available at Verizon Wireless Center box office and, also by calling 507-625-3865. Note Voting for a favorite team costs $1 per vote.

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