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Face Your Fears: Chicago Clowns Speak Out, Part III

By Karl Klockars in Miscellaneous on Oct 28, 2009 4:20PM

As the city prepares for Halloween on Saturday, there's one thing that almost everyone agrees is scary - clowns. But what do clowns around town feel about their lot in life? We spoke with a few to find out - All this week, learn more about our city's collection of mirth-spreaders and balloon-twisters. Monday: Twinkles Tuesday: Tricky Today:

dimplestheclown1009.JPG Patricia "Dimples The Clown" Koopmann

Clown Career: 15 Years

Clown College or Self Taught? Clown College

Clown Skills: Face paint, balloon animals, comedy magic, music routines

Why did you become a clown?
I've always enjoyed children, I've always been in children ministry in my church. I took my daughters to a festival and there was a clown there that was kinda crabby. I had a thought - I thought, "I can do this, and I can do a better job than this."

I visited in hospitals for the first couple years I was active, and then I became a part of the World Clown Association which provides us clowns insurance - as a balloon twister I have to carry insurance. From then on, I do birthday parties, corporate events, and to be honest with you, very few people are afraid of me.

dimpleshands1009.jpg How do you deal with the people that are afraid of you?
I run into 13 year old girls who've watched Stephen King's "IT." They are afraid of me. And as soon as I make them a fairy princess wand or tease them about, you know, "He's demented, not me," then they like me.

How do you feel about clowns being treated as creepy?
I get a little ticked, to be honest with you. Clowning comes from a good base of trying to make people smile and trying to make people feel good. When you visit people in the hospital and you make them a balloon for their desk or you bring them a little puzzle to do, they're always glad to see you. And I think that Hollywood and the media has portrayed clowns in a completely different light than what clowning has come from.

It has a lot to do with writers like Stephen King, and I often see commercials that portray clowns as just stupid all the time. Not even funny stupid - it's like, they don't have any brains. It just kinda irks me.