Officials rock tutus for charity, holiday cheer

Nov 22, 2021

Town officials and business owners are adding a new bit of clothing to their dress codes this month: red tutus.

Along with it being a festive fashion statement, officials are doing so to help raise money for the Friends of Jack Foundation as part of the charity’s third-annual #TutuChallenge. 

Those who are asked to participate are asked to donate $100 to the Mattapoisett-based charity with all proceeds going back to provide gifts for sick kids in need of holiday cheer.

Marion Town Administrator Jay McGrail was among the officials who donned a tutu.

“It was an opportunity to support a great cause,’’ he said. 

He was challenged by Arnie Johnson, owner of Fieldstone Farm Market in Marion. Randy Parker, a member of the Select Board, also participated.

“It was a serious cause, but it’s kind of funny,’’ McGrail said. 

After all, he said, “it’s not every day you get to put on a pink tutu and pose in front of Town Hall.’’

The challenge first began in 2019 out of wanting to find a creative way to get donors involved each holiday season, Jill Fearons, the foundation’s executive director, noted.

“Plus, who doesn’t want to wear a red tutu around Christmas?” she said with a laugh.

While the challenge officially kicks off each November, Fearons begins laying the groundwork in July by reaching out to her “usual suspects” and purchasing their tutus ahead of time. After donning the tutu, the challenge is passed on to the person or organization of their choice.

Even with the preparation, she still needs to adjust for sudden additions wanting to join in on the fun.

“I just dropped [some] off at the Marion police department, and they told me they need more tutus since they want the whole department involved,” Fearons said.

The challenge is not just limited to the South Coast. Fearon notes that challengers have submitted photos from Florida and New York. 

Boston Celtics mascot Lucky the Leprechaun even likes to don the tutu.

“When he got it he was so happy to get it,” Fearon noted. “Lucky has done this every year so far.”

Along with the growing number of tutus, the number of donations has also increased since 2019.

In 2020, the Tutu Challenge raised more than $14,000, with nearly 700 area kids receiving presents.

While the foundation’s donations have been impressive, what especially excites her is the creativity participants have brought to the challenge. Some include dogs in tutus, while others involve entire police departments dancing on TikTok.

“It’s really fun to see how it’s evolved,” she said. “Really shows how the community comes together.”

The challenge runs through Dec. 18. To learn more, visit