Bribe the judges to vote for favorite act at April Foolies

Now in its seventh year of raising funds for local nonprofit agencies, this year’s April Foolies promises to be the best event to date. The talent show will be held on Saturday, April 10, at 7 p.m. at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College Campus. Tickets are on sale now for $10 each at New Hope, United Way, Blount Today, The Clayton Center Box Office, Dandy Lions and Southland Books.

Guests who want to arrive early can enjoy a hamburger or hotdog dinner at 5:30 p.m. for just $5 per person

The line-up of performances offers some new and some returning favorites. Each act has contributed $300 to buy their time on stage, and it becomes the audience’s responsibility to help their favorite talent win by bribing the judges with monetary contributions during the show.

The judges who will meander through the crowd to solicit funds will be Archie Anderson, Joy Bishop, Sherri Gardner Howell, Joe Huff, Ed Mitchell, Amy Morton, Senator Doug Overbey and Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor.

The object of the Foolies is not only to showcase talent in our community (or in some cases the lack of talent), but also to raise as much money as possible for three local nonprofit agencies - New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center, United Way’s Success by Six and, new to this year’s event, The Gate -- Gateway to Independence. The method is very simple...the act that raises the most money during the evening is the winner, but the real winners are the nonprofits and people they serve.

The Foolies being held at the Clayton Center for the Arts allows for a bigger audience, a bigger production and, it is hoped, a bigger fundraiser all around, say event organizers. In the past the show has raised between $12,000 and $15,000, but the goal is to exceed that mark this year. To help get everything off to a good start are the following sponsors: Alcoa Inc, Burkhalter & Associates, Mary Beth West Consulting, Kellems Recycling, Green Bank, Marriott Business Services, Merchant & Gould, Blount Memorial Hospital, McNutt Oil Company and Calloway Oil Company.

Returning to emcee once again will be Walker Johnson and his sidekick Barney Fife (aka Sammy Sawyer), who have been involved with the production for six of the past seven years. Walker will even bring his band, Mountain Folk Reunion, on stage as a Foolies act.

The ten acts of the 2010 April Foolies are:

• Steel Kickin’ (but just barely) with special guests - sponsored by Debrah Whaley, Realty Executives

• Trash Can Band of Loudon Middle School - sponsored by the Ten Dollar Club

• Aaron Tracy Band - sponsored by Don and Debbie Tracy

• Ghawazee Dancers, lead by Cynthia Turnage - sponsored by Broadway Academy of Performing Arts

• Pictures on Exhibition - sponsored by an anonymous “Friend of the Foolies”

• The Tribute to Aaron and Jacob’s Tribute to Jarrod and Josh’s Blues Brothers Tribute - sponsored by Ruth Harper’s Purseworks

• The Gate Crashers: The Gateway to Independence - sponsored by Southland Books

• Larry, Darryl & Darryl - sponsored by Personal Care Choices

• Thriller Dancers: The Greg Carney Project - sponsored by Broadway Academy of Performing Arts

• The Mountain Folk Reunion Band - sponsored by Johnson Properties

• Pistol Creek Catch of the Day will return to perform as the house band for a special treat

For the past five years, Leslie Rader and Edward Harper have co-chaired the event along with their committee of “village idiots.” The two took part in the first meeting for the first event over seven years ago and have continued to enjoy their work for the Foolies, said Harper. Rader and Harper will pass their duties to Brian and Lisa Tuggle who will take over as co-chairs for the 2011 April Foolies.

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