People packed into Karrer Theater at Paris Junior College this weekend to see the likes of Gene Simmons, Ozzy Osbourne, The Beatles, Sonny and Cher and more. No, it wasn’t the concert event of the century — it was the sixth annual Can-Can Follies.
In total, 36 acts performed Friday and Saturday evenings, mostly consisting of lip syncing, dancing and other comedic musical skits. Event organizer Lisa Spann said this year marked the highest number of acts the show has ever seen.
Spann also said this year’s program enjoyed stronger than normal attendance.
“I’d say the theater was three-fourths full on the first night, and then we had a full house, which is about 300 people, on the second,” she said.
“It’s always a great time,” said participant Chuck McMasters, who has taken part in the last four Can-Can Follies. “The best part is going out there and hearing the crowd laugh and cheer you on, and just knowing that they really liked what you were doing.”
The crowd erupted into laughter when several law enforcement officials, including Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley, walked onstage to perform Guns N’ Roses hit song “Sweet Child O’ Mine” while dressed as babies.
“It’s pretty silly,” Hundley said. “The skits can get crazy, but that’s a big part of the fun.”
While many people on stage over the weekend have become seasoned veterans of the Can-Can Follies, there also were first-time participants, including North Lamar ISD Police Chief Mike Boaz.
Boaz said he was a bit nervous before heading on stage, though all nervousness evaporated once he was performing.
“It was so much fun, I definitely want to do this again next year,” he said.
Another first time participant was Andy Fasken, who performed a skit from the old television show “Hee Haw.” Fasken said he was happy with how his skit turned out.
Roger Stripland, who performed with three other local musicians to deliver a rousing tribute to The Beatles, was part of the only act to perform live music.
“It’s exciting, and it’s a lot of fun to see the people react to you,” he said. “You play for the crowd, and you play off of them.”
The event served as a fundraiser for The 100 Club, a nonprofit organization that provides financial support to the dependents of law enforcement officers and firefighters who are killed or severely injured in the line of duty.
“This support means so much to us, it’s hard to put into words,” 100 Club President Amanda Willows said. “Obviously, we hope the money never needs to be used, but when the unthinkable happens, it can be such a huge relief for the families to have this support.”
Spann said she won’t have the total amount calculated for a few more days, but she expects it to be a strong outing.
“Just from sponsorships, we raised $11,000 this year, which is more than we made last year from both sponsorships and ticket sales,” she said.
“The 100 Club is a great cause, and I think what they do is just fantastic,” Boaz said. “It was a pleasure to be able to take part in something like this that does so much good.”