Don Denman is the new Mr. South Whidbey | KUDOS

Don Denman is applauded by fans after winning his trophy and crown as Mr. South Whidbey 2011 at Freeland Hall.   - Photo courtesy of Claudia Fuller
Don Denman is applauded by fans after winning his trophy and crown as Mr. South Whidbey 2011 at Freeland Hall.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Claudia Fuller

Freeland Hall was rockin’ last Saturday night with the rambunctious sounds of fundraising at the Mr. South Whidbey sixth annual pageant.

Sue Frause hosted an evening of wild entertainment by six candidates, with Don Denman winning the crown for raising the most cash. The event is the main fundraiser for the Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund, and the candidate who raises the most money wins.

Denman came as a trench-coated character who looked like a drunken mixture of Andy Warhol, Albert Einstein and Tim Conway.

“I thought the evening was a bit more raucous than previous Mr. South Whidbey’s, but it sure was a lot of fun,” said one pageant organizer, Claudia Fuller.

Friends of Friends president and organizer Suzanne Schlicke was thankful for the services of the fearless Frause and sound engineer David Malony, and especially to the brave candidates Peter Lawlor, Dean Hatt, Brian Plebanek, Craig Weiner, Larry Dobson and Denman.

“It always amazes me that a few brave men are willing to put themselves out there for our cause,” Schlicke said.

“Their courage and shamelessness is admirable beyond words. We obviously could not do it without them.”

Schlicke said that such participation by community members is key.

“We are all in this together,” she said. “In these difficult economic times we must continue to support the many efforts being made to help those in need.”

Although the pageant was not sold out, the enthusiastic crowd showed its support by adding plenty of applause and cheered wildly all through the talent show shenanigans.

But at $14,000, the event raised only half the amount it did last year. Fuller said the rough economy probably played a part.

“Unfortunately, to date this year we’ve served more people than last year. Clearly, we’ll have to raise more funds to keep providing help to our neighbors who need help with medical bills.”

Schlicke was optimistic, however.

“We will tighten our belts, seek other means of donations and deal with the situation in the most thoughtful, positive way we can,” she said.

Schlicke said every year Friends of Friends considers other money making options, but everybody loves the Mr. South Whidbey Pageant.

“It is a unique fundraiser, where the unexpected is the only constant. After the planning is done, we just have to let go and laugh,” she said.

Tax deductible donations can be made to the Friends of Friends Medical Support Fund at: Friends of Friends, PO Box 812, Langley, WA, 98260 or online at

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