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Caloosa Clown Alley to note National Clown Week

By Staff | Jul 28, 2015

Get ready to celebrate National Clown Week, set to kick off Saturday with a pair of events. On Saturday, clowns from the Caloosa Clown Alley will visit the North Fort Myers Library from 2 to 3 p.m. in an event that will feature skits, pocket magic and balloons.

The event has traditionally been well attended by kids of all ages.

Michelle Ayers, who goes by the professional name Mitchie the Clown and is president of the Caloosa Clown Alley, said the club was started 40 years ago by Shriners whose wives wanted to be clowns, but rules wouldn’t allow them to be.

Clown week was started by proclamation by President Richard Nixon in 1971.

“We usually go around and volunteer at different places. We’re going to Calusa Harbor (in Fort Myers) before going to the library,” Ayers said. “We’re not doing things every day because we have a lot of older clowns and they’re having health issues.”

The clowns will also entertain at a Fort Myers Miracle game on Thursday, where they will do face painting and balloons, and, next, Friday the clowns will go to Coral Trace retirement home before hitting the Downtown Fort Myers Art Walk. They will warp up at the Edison Mall. from 10 .m. to 2 p.m. next Sunday, Aug. 8.

Ayers said the age of its members has been a challenge for their group. There are 25 clowns on their roster, but many don’t attend meetings because of age. They have been trying to bring in younger clowns to replace the older ones, but they aren’t coming in fast enough.

“Our ranks are getting thin because of the age of our clowns, so I thought this would be the perfect chance to get more clowns. I have an alley and we certainly need more of them,” Ayers said.

The Caloosa Clowns are members of the Clowns of America International, a worldwide nonprofit organization which aims “to share, educate, and act as a gathering place for serious minded amateurs, semiprofessionals, and professional clowns.”

The Caloosa Clown Alley meets on the second Thursday of the month at Lee Memorial hospital.

For more information, call 218-1057 or e-mail turkleberry@yahoo.com.