It seems everyone is a dancing fool this spring. Not only is ABC’s hit “Dancing With the Stars” off and running, but communities across the country have been inspired to use the show’s format as a way to raise funds for schools, organizations and nonprofit groups.

Proceeds from a competition Saturday night at the Spectacular Event Center on the Griffin Road in Bangor will go to the Phillip-Strickland House, a residential care and assisted living facility serving Eastern Maine.

Those participating in the competition include radio personality Ric Tyler, April Giard of The Acadia Hospital, the Rev. Renee Garrett, Dr. George Wright and lawyers Ray Bradford and Dawn Pelletier.

Tickets are $30 per person and attendees may vote for their favorite dancers for $1 a vote. I’ve been told that some standing-room-only tickets may still be available, but if you can’t attend, donations are welcome.

For more information, call Sharon Nickerson at 941-2820 or e-mail

If you can’t make it to the Bangor event, Hampden Academy is at it again, raising money for Project Graduation.

The class of 2009 is sponsoring the school’s second annual “Dancing Like the Stars” competition. The event will be held at Hampden Academy at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 11, and again on Saturday, April 18.

Seven students have paired up with dancers from the Back Door Dance Studio in Eddington, and the eighth couple is two Hampden Academy seniors who are being trained by instructors from the studio. The couples have been practicing for seven weeks and are ready to strut their stuff on the stage.

The first night, they’ll try their toes at swing dancing and will be scored by three judges on their technique and showmanship. Three judges will evaluate the dancers’ technique and showmanship. But the fate of the dancers lies in the hands of the audience.

At the end of the competition, audience members will place money in the jars of their favorite dancing pair. The six couples that bring in the most cash will advance to compete in the second round the following week.

This time around they’ll be forced to get creative and use their own choreographing to put on the best show possible.

The funds will be used for the class of 2009’s trip to Portland for a night out to sea on a Casco Bay cruise ship, where they will enjoy music, food, caricaturists, games and a hypnotist show. Project Graduation is a tradition in many schools offering the graduates a chemical-free celebration of their accomplishments.

Want to brush up on your dancing know-how before the event? Check out how it all started by watching ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” at 8 p.m. Mondays followed by the results show at 9 p.m. on Tuesdays.