Male dancers returning to Funkstown fire hall

March 10, 1997


Staff Writer

FUNKSTOWN - Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. might have lost some supporters last year when it brought in male strippers to raise money.

But the success of last fall's sold-out show - which featured Chippendales-style male dancers - has prompted the fire company to plan a repeat for later this year, said Funkstown Fire Chief Kyd Dieterich.

"It was a good fund-raiser in spite of some people's negative reaction to it," said Dieterich, who viewed the show as harmless entertainment not available anywhere else in the area.


The one-night event required little effort on the part of fire company members and made about $7,000 profit, said Funkstown Volunteer Fire Company President Larry Iseminger.

Increased competition in standard fund-raising efforts like bingo and Christmas tree sales has fire companies looking for other ways to make ends meet, Iseminger said.

The fire company received several critical calls and letters, most of them anonymous, he said. Some threatened to stop supporting the fire company.

But the outcry didn't seem to significantly hurt fund-raising, Dieterich said.

The fire company sold 923 tickets for last September's show at the Ramada Inn in Hagerstown.

The dancers were members of Billy Dean's Male Dance Revue, a Long Island, N.Y.-based group that travels the country and performs mostly at fund-raisers.

Dieterich said he and other fire company members helped out that night by working the door and providing security for the dancers.

Meanwhile, firefighters from Sharpsburg manned the Funkstown station, he said.

Local women as well as women from the Frederick, Md., area, West Virginia and Pennsylvania made up most of the audience, Dieterich said.

Dancers performed choreographed routines, stripping down to G-strings - baring no more of their flesh than you'd see on a beach, he said.

"I, of course, had never been to something like that," Dieterich said. "It was kind of funny just watching the reactions of the women."

Fire officials from other companies in the area offered only support for the Funkstown fund-raiser, Dieterich said. Some praised it as a creative way to raise money.

The fire company relies on fund-raising activities to cover almost 80 percent of its roughly $200,000 annual budget, Iseminger said.

Bingo is the biggest source of income, grossing around $65,000 annually, he said.

Every year, the fire company solicits support in the form of contributions and volunteers through a mailing to residents, businesses and property owners, Dieterich said.

Other fund-raising efforts include renting out the fire hall for parties and meetings, setting up a food stand at the Maugansville-Longmeadow carnival in June and selling Christmas trees in December, he said.

The decision to stage another male dance review was made last week, Dieterich said. No specific plans have been made yet.

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