Tuggles take the lead for 2011 April Foolies

Ready for another year of fun and entertainment for a good cause are the members of the April Foolies planning committee. Pictured are chairs Brian and Lisa Tuggle, Kay Overbey, Gerae Messer, Leslie Rader, Trudy Hughes, Jessica Wallace, Christy Walsh, Shanna Veiga, Melony Colquitt, Julie Small, Michelle Woodfin and Aaron Killian.

Ready for another year of fun and entertainment for a good cause are the members of the April Foolies planning committee. Pictured are chairs Brian and Lisa Tuggle, Kay Overbey, Gerae Messer, Leslie Rader, Trudy Hughes, Jessica Wallace, Christy Walsh, Shanna Veiga, Melony Colquitt, Julie Small, Michelle Woodfin and Aaron Killian.

Brian Tuggle likes charities who do more than put their hands out. When it came to chairing April Foolies, Tuggle knew he had a dedicated and willing workforce because of the three agencies who benefit from the annual “talent show with a twist.”

“The beauty of April Foolies is all three agencies participate on the committee. They’re not just sitting back collecting the check,” Brian Tuggle said. “The majority of volunteers the day of the show come from these three agencies.”

April Foolies is a talent show fundraiser for New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center, United Way Success by 6 and Gateway to Independence. The show will be at 7 p.m. Friday, April 1, at the Clayton Center for the Arts.

“All three agencies benefitting are all very worthy,” Tuggle said. “We’ve done this so long, people know it’s a worthy cause, and it’s fun. If I can’t have fun, I’m not going to do it.”

Lisa and Brian Tuggle are the new co-chairs of the April Foolies committee for the 2011 event, a joint partnership that is a first for them. “This is the first time Lisa and I have worked together in this capacity. We are both involved in other things, but this is the first time we’ve collaborated on a committee…and we’re still married,” Brian Tuggle said with a laugh.

Lisa Tuggle, vice principal at Fort Craig School of Dynamic Learning, and Brian Tuggle, owner of Personal Care Choices, have volunteered on the April Foolies talent show committee for several years. When former co-chairs Leslie Rader and Edward Harper stepped down after the 2010 show, the Tuggles volunteered to lead the show.

One change the Tuggles are making is when the VIP/cast party is planned.

“We always had it before the show, but this year, we’ll have it afterwards,” Lisa Tuggle said. “You get to mingle with the cast, so it will be fun. This is a family-friendly event.”

Brian Tuggle said that in 2010 each agency got about $7,100 from the show. “That’s about $22,000 net. We more than doubled what we raised the year before. Lisa and I feel no pressure,” he said facetiously.

Lisa said it can be stressful leading up to the time and day of the event. “Then everything comes together, and you have a ball, and you realize this is something that was worth every minute of your time,” she said. “It’s a great feeling because you’ve done something well.”

Brian said preparing for the show is a full-fledged production. “There’s a lot of preparing and coordination,” he said. “As long as it gets off without a hitch, it’s successful.”

The couple said guests should expect an enjoyable experience for a good cause.

“We are trying to shake it up and change it up. We don’t want the audience to expect the same-old/same-old. Not that it wasn’t a great show, but we want to keep the audience guessing so they wonder what they have to look forward to this year,” Lisa said.

There is a “surprise guest” being teased for the 2011 show, and the chairs wouldn’t reveal who the special guest is. “We have a returning group from several years past who was a crowd favorite for years,’ she said. “They will perform and bring down the house. We’ve also got several new acts.”

The past few years, the individuals participating were more into competing than laughing at themselves, and Brian Tuggle said bringing back more of the laughter is part of the message behind the show’s tagline, “April Foolies: A talent show with a twist.”

Lisa said that while there are many talented people who participate in the annual fundraiser show, there is still room for individuals who just want to have fun and don’t mind laughing at themselves. “We’re trying to get the folks back in Foolies,” she said. “I miss the days when it was silly, and folks made fun of themselves. It is going to be a mix. You’ll have some people with real talent and some with not so real talent.”

Brian said the committee planning this year’s event began meeting in the fall.

“October was our meeting with all three agencies that benefit and the committee. The beauty of this committee is that year after year we know what needs to be done and who it benefits,” he said. “Every person on the committee brings a unique perspective and contributes to group and makes it gel so well.”

The Tuggles said the tough economy has been one of the ongoing challenges for the event that now supports New Hope Children’s Advocacy Center, The Gateway to Independence and United Way Success by 6.

“In this economic climate, raising money is always a challenge, but we have tried and true staff who are always here to help out,” Brian said.

Brian said ticket sales were strong for the 2010 event, and they’re hoping for even more guests this year.

Plain and simple: They want a sell-out. “We sold out last year,” he said.

Admission is $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. VIP seating is $25 each. The VIP tickets go on sale this month. “People need to know this is a sell-out event, so don’t wait,” Brian said. “The tickets, including the VIP tickets, will go quick.”

The show starts at 7 p.m., but doors open at 6:15 p.m. The VIP party after the show will be in the Grand Foyer,” Lisa said.

Tickets are available at the Clayton Center for the Arts box office. Blount Today is the media sponsor for April Foolies.

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