Lee Cruse to help United Way kick off fundraising drive

·3 min read

Sep. 22—One of the funniest men in Kentucky is coming to the Virginia — and it's all for a good cause.

The Lee Cruse "Sharing Smiles" Campaign Kick-Off for the United Way of South Central Kentucky will take place Tuesday, October 18, with the goal of helping one of the area's most prominent non-profits succeed in their mission of charity.

"Instead of the traditional banquet like a lot of fundraisers do, we decided we want to do entertainment," said Crystal McKnight Cox, Executive Director of the United Way of South Central Kentucky, the local arm of the international agency, covering 10 counties around Lake Cumberland and in the surrounding area.

"Our board started throwing around ideas on doing a new and different type of campaign kick-off this year," she added. "Some of our board members really liked the idea of doing comedy. Everybody enjoys laughing."

That truth also led to the theme of the event — "Sharing Smiles." As McKnight Cox noted, laughter leaves you smiling, and so can donating to help others.

"We do what's called a campaign every year, and that is our pledge and fundraising drive to raise money to budget and plan for our impact work the following year," she said.

Cruse became a stand-up comic in 1995, and also serves as host of "LIVE with Lee" on News Talk 590 WVLK. Described as working "clean while maintaining an edge to keep audiences guessing," Cruse has more than 25 years of entertaining in comedy clubs, colleges, theaters and other events and venues.

"Lee Cruse is a Kentucky entertainer and comedian," said McKnight Cox. "... When you think of comedy in Kentucky, a lot of people think of Lee Cruse because he's been on TV for so long and he's done a lot with Comedy Off Broadway, he's also done corporate comedy events and fundraising events. He's just kind of a household name for Kentucky for comedy and entertainment, so we're excited. It'll be a good family-friendly comedy event."

The United Way raises funds and helps distribute money to other community organizations that benefit from it, making it a sort of charitable hub organization.

Tickets are on sale currently for the event at the Virginia Theater and can be purchased online at givelively.com (https://bit.ly/3Q1deta). Tickets for first floor seating including diner are currently $50, and balcony seating without dinner is $25. There are a limited number of tickets available, with it being in the Virginia. Prices go up $10 for both ticket options on October 10. There are also options to purchase different levels of sponsorships.

Dinner starts at 6 p.m., and Cruse's comedy show at 7 p.m.

The bar at the Virginia will be open to attendees over age 21, noted McKnight Cox.

Part of the event will include a 50-50 raffle; tickets for that are expected to go on sale October 1, noted McKnight Cox. For more information, follow the United Way of South Central Kentucky Facebook page (@UWSCKY) and its "Events" tab, with details to be posted later.

Presenting sponsor is the Alton Blakley Family of Dealerships.