Needles Dances with the Stars

Celebrity dancer Barbara Earle, Exalted Ruler of Needles’ BPO Elks Lodge 1608, rehearses with Dance Trax 51 performers Bryar Leivas (front) and Abigail Belt (center) in the troupe’s studio adjacent the Needles Recreation Center. Several celebrity dancers from the community team up with troupe members for competition in Needles Dances with the Stars, a highlight of the annual awards dinner of the Needles Chamber of Commerce. The audience will cast votes for the winners.

NEEDLES — The audience will vote for winners in Needles Dances with the Stars, the thematic dance competition of the annual Needles Chamber of Commerce award dinner Saturday, Oct. 5, in The Red Barn at The Palms River Resort.

Reservations and menu selections, either salmon or a combination beef and chicken plate, must be made by Sept. 15. Contact the chamber at 119 F St., P.O. Box 705, Needles, CA 92363. Call 760-326-2050 between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays or Fridays for reservations. Send email to

Audience members will vote for their favorite community celebrity dancers teamed with young performers from Dance Trax 51 in the competition patterned loosely after the famous TV show. All proceeds from the $1 votes go to Cindi’s Kids, the dance troupe’s non-profit arm that supports the needs of the dance studio for costumes, shoes, scholarships, travel and so-on. The dance team that earns the most dollars wins a trophy and bragging rights.

The deadline for award nominations in the category of Business, Citizen, Educator and Volunteer of the Year is also Sept. 15. Nominations are made through the chamber as well.

Another component of the event that’s become popular over the last few years is a silent auction; a fundraiser for the chamber. Donations for the auction are requested by Sept. 16.

Susan Alexis and her team from the Wagon Wheel Restaurant along Needles Highway have now assumed the catering duties for the event. The eatery began in the 1950s as Lynn’s Broiler and was reopened with its current moniker by Jimmy Jackson and Kenneth (Corky) Wetmore in August of 1978. Alexis and partner Mike Dick purchased the restaurant in 2005.

The menu offers a choice of two entrees: a seared filet of fresh Atlantic salmon served with a side of fresh spinach in a parmesan cream sauce; or herb crusted tender beef medallions drizzled with a shallot and red wine reduction sauce plus a lemon-pepper chicken breast. Both come with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted seasonal vegetables, a classic Caesar salad, and dessert of triple chocolate cake. Water, coffee or tea come with the meal.

The Palms River Resort is the official sponsor of the event; River Front Cafe is the official beverage sponsor and will offer a no-host bar beginning at 6 p.m. accompanied by hors d’oeuvres.

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