Lions Club Show

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Going Strong for 69 years

The 69th Annual Lions Club Show is just around the corner and is guaranteed to provide an evening full of variety-show type entertainment for a full 90 minutes of fun. This year’s program features a salute to the Armed Forces. Started in the pre-World War II era, the showboat style program is produced solely by the local Lions and is the major fundraiser for the year. Complete with an Interlocutor, End Men, and Storytellers, the show has 32 talent acts performed by the various members. Show Director Jerry Hanszen says, “We’ve been very fortunate. We’ve got local people that have been supporting us for years, and it’s kind of neat to look out there and see familiar faces sitting in the front row. We also have a lot of people from out of town that attend. They’ve heard rumor of how fantastic the show is!”

A crowd favorite for the show is the walk-on ads. These ads were added during the early ‘80s and were such a hit, they have been part of the program ever since. Companies pay a premium for their live commercial. The ad committee, led by Tate Barber this year, puts the ads together and the main rule is, “There is no rule! We poke fun at everyone!” The Lions Club Band, led by pianist Sherry Willoughby, provides the music for the different numbers. “We normally have a Methodist quartet and a Baptist quartet to perform,” says Hanszen, “and they don’t necessarily sing gospel.”

Known as the world's largest service organization, the Lions Club provides resources for the blind and hearing impaired, plus provides opportunities for kids to attend the Lions Camp for special needs children. The local organization sends several kids to camp each summer and also supports the community through local organizations, school programs and provides three $2,000 scholarships for high school seniors. The doors to the Civic Center open at 5:00pm with Bud Worley's TSA students selling “Bud Burgers” and all the fixings. The Panola College Jazz Band, under the direction of Mike McGowan, and select members of the Panola Pipers, under the direction of Sandra Bauer, will provide pre-show entertainment beginning at 6:00pm. The Lions Club Show begins at 7:00pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and may be purchased from any Lions Club Member, at KGAS Radio, or at the Chamber of Commerce. Children under 10 get in free.