Sykesville held a virtual dance competition to help fight the “corona blues,” and the Socially Distanced Moms of Howard County waltzed away with the grand prize.
The “Downtown Disco-rona Dance off” started April 25 as a way to get people to have some sense of togetherness during the pandemic.
“We realize they’re really missing that sense of togetherness — it’s extremely hard for people to live in isolation right now,” said Julie Della-Maria. “So we were trying to find a way that would serve that and be doable by everyone.”
Council member Stacy Link participated in the competition as a dance lover and hopes others embraced the togetherness of it.
“We can’t always choose the music life plays for us, but we can choose how we dance to it. This virtual dance competition is just one of many positive examples of a community based response to the pandemic,” said Link. “So much seems to divide us lately, but this dance-off has brought us together. There’s no better cure for the corona blues than the little bit of laughter and positivity found at the end of the day, when we scroll through our social media feeds.”
The Socially Distanced Moms of Howard County, composed of mothers Lisa Baer, Stephanie Barnard, Coke Carey, Pam DeSantis and Marie Welsh, join the competition because of their love for Sykesville.
“We all live in the same neighborhood and as moms of children the same ages we thought it would be fun to participate in supporting local businesses during this crazy time," they said as a group via email. "We also had fun supporting one another by having some fun even though we were socially distancing. It really helped us stay connected. ...
“We hope people see a group of women friends, working together, having fun together, loving where they live, looking forward to getting back to normal when safe, supporting their community and highlighting Sykesville.”
The competition was separated into four different categories: ages 11 and under, 12 to 21, 21 and up and group, which couldn’t be more than eight. Submissions were accepted from Saturday from 8 a.m. to Thursday at 4 p.m. Weekly winners were chosen Friday at 6 p.m. The grand finale was held May 29 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The winners for week one were Chanel Rheubottom (11-under), Gabrielle Barnard (12-21), Stacy Link and Dana Alonzi (21-up) and and Neith Boys (group).
The winners for week two were Lula Anderson and Jamie Neith-Mican (11-under), Keiser Family (12-21) and Currence Boys (group). Week two had so many 11-under category submissions they removed the 21-up category and had two 11-under winners.
The week three winners were Finley Weiner (11-under), Lily Welsh (12-21), the Socially Distant Mom of Howard County (21-up) and the Sweet and Sassy cheerleaders (group).
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The week four winners were Sophia Cost (11-under), Tess Vaccarino (12-21), Ethan Welsh and Amy Upchurch (21-up) and the Naumann family (group).
Weekly winners were awarded $50 gift cards to stores throughout downtown Sykesville. The video submissions of the weekly winners can be viewed on the Downtown Sykesville Connection Facebook page.
The weekly winners for each category had to go up against each other and then those winners had to battle each other for the grand prize: a bundle of 10 $50 gift cards to various stores on Main Street.
The Socially Distanced Moms of Howard County said they were all very excited when they heard the announcement that they had won and decided to spread their winnings of gift certificates in a White Elephant Style-exchange and look forward to spending them in Sykesville.
“Part of the whole thing we were doing was to fight depression and just social loneliness. Then the other portion of it was to support our local businesses during the tough time; a lot of them are small stores that really rely on the local community to support them,” said Troy Welsh, host of the dance-off and event coordinator for the Downtown Sykesville Connection. “So, we wanted to do something for our town as well as bringing our neighbors together as well.”
The judges for the contest were also small business owners in Sykesville. The judges were Dave Neith of Unwined Candles, Mary Vaccarino of Revive and Company, Abigail Dion of Grey Dog Pottery, Jane Linde of Tri Sport Junction and Jennifer Elliott of Market Tavern.
“They’re all volunteers who we reached out to them to see of they’d be interested and they jumped right on it which was really cool to see that, too,” said Welsh.