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International Clown Week Kicks Off At A Cemetery (Photos)

By Selena Fragassi in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 5, 2015 5:20PM

Well color our nose red, apparently International Clown Week is a thing. Yet while others around the world celebrate Aug. 1 through 7 by pulling off gags, riding tiny bicycles and shoving pies into pie-holes, a local group of professional clowns marked the occasion on Sunday with a more reverent ceremony at Forest Park’s Woodlawn Cemetery. There a special spot called Showmen’s Rest, marked by elephant statues and roustabout headstones, is one of the country’s most well-known resting places for circus artists.

The 16th annual event, organized by a group called the Showmen’s League of America with roots here in the city, included special guest speakers like Forest Park Mayor Anthony Calderone, ceremonial flower placements, kids activities and costumes, trivia contests and featured entertainment by local performers including Sweetie The Clown (a.k.a. event producer and host Susan Hooper), That Juggling Guy Brad French, hula hoop performer Sylvi, and Tom Nehls (Caasi D The Clown) who is the Ecumenical Chaplain to the Circus Industry. Face painting, cartoon bingo, fire performers and balloon animals rounded out the activities that had one stipulation: Bring a youthful attitude. Here are some snapshots of everyone clowning around at the free event.