Supporting the Ballarat Foundation, more than $200,000 was raised to help our city's most vulnerable on Saturday night.
Just over $100,000 was raised by Larna Gull, who was awarded Dancing With Our Stars champion - a final burst of more than $10,000 from her sponsors arrived just after she hit the floor.
Fhil Vella, who danced the samba with his partner Emma Learmonth, won the judge's choice award and was talked into a thrilling encore, ahead of Ms Gull and her partner Scott Cornwill, and Sean Weir and his partner Rochelle Kirkham, who won last year.
Randhir Sewgolam's Viennese waltz with his colleague Alicia Wang Sheludko, who competed last year, won the people's choice award.
The Courier's own Emily Sweet also competed - heading back to the green room after her dance, she said it was a "relief" to get it out of the way after weeks of training.
"Walking out, I had to concentrate and get to the dancefloor, I didn't want to look at anybody or lose my momentum and train of thought," she said.
"I had to put all my faith in (dance partner) Mark (Vanderkley) and know that he's got me, and trust the process, everything we've done over the last couple of weeks, and not overthink it, it paid off.
"We're doing it for such an important cause in the community, raising money for the disadvantaged - I think anyone can see at the moment, when they look around Ballarat, how hard people are doing it, they're seeing it on Facebook, and the fact that we're able to do a bit of dancing, totally out of our comfort zone, and raise that much money, to be able to fund those programs, it'll make a huge amount of difference.
"The money doesn't go overseas or anything like that, it stays here and helps people you see every day."
The event has raised almost $400,000 across three years, with all money staying in the city helping Ballarat people who need it most.
The Foundation supports several programs, addressing food security, literacy, and the L2P program to teach young people how to drive and gain independence.
Ms Gull said she was still pinching herself the morning afterwards.
"You don't realise how much work has gone into these things until you see behind the scenes, it's just staggering," she said.
"The money I raised specifically is for (the Foundation's) Ballarat Reads program with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (and) I think that program will effectively continue for years through the Ballarat Foundation with that many books to go out, and it's all thanks to businesses and individuals and families.
"Everyone felt very united over that cause, early education is key, and I think everyone resonated with that.
"For everyone to be that generous, I feel we were so lucky to have so much support, and it goes to show that places like Ballarat, they're built on their local communities."
It's still a nerve-wracking experience - Ewen Fletcher was first up, dancing a cha cha with his Vanessa Powell.
"We got to go out, set the tone, then enjoy the night," he said. "I'd like to thank Shelley Ross, she is amazing, and this program wouldn't happen without her and her dance studio, she's often the quiet one in the background but she should be in the limelight."
The Foundation's chief executive, Andrew Eales, said planning was already under way for next year's event.
"What we do, as a small team, is create a big impact, it's something I'm really proud of and our team has worked really hard to find ways to support the community," he said. "We've got a lot of programs we're continuing to operate in the community, and there's great opportunities for people who want to get involved with the foundation on a longer term basis, we're really trying to build that aspect of our business, delivering long term sustainable change for Ballarat.
"We've still got significant challenges in our community from the pandemic, but what you're seeing is everyone pulling in the right direction, and those that have the capability to support those struggling is a great indication of the power of the Ballarat community when people come together like that."
Check out our full gallery of all the dancers here, and follow their journeys - and see clips of the dances - below.
You can also donate to the Ballarat Foundation online here to support their amazing work.
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