Although some might consider the prospect frightening, more than 100 clowns from seven states are gathering in eastern Iowa today. The Midwest Clown Association is opening its 41st annual convention in Davenport.
Event spokesclown Angie Gonzalez says for some members, clowning is a full-time job, while many others just consider it a hobby or vocation. “It brings out your creative side,” Gonzalez says. “Creative people are really into clowning because it lets you create a character. If you’ve ever been in drama or a skit or any kind of performance art, clowning is a great new avenue to exercise those creative skills and talents that you have.”
The convention will feature continuing education classes that range from make-up and costuming to juggling, balloon sculpture, magic, slapstick comedy and even how to “clown” in parades. Gonzalez calls herself a “ministry clown” and goes by the name of “Q-T Pie.” “I do a lot of hospital clowning,” she says. “You go into those places and see people who are so sick and so hurting and you can make them smile and their mother says, ‘That’s the first time I’ve seen my child smile since they’ve been in the hospital,’ it just brings such joy to my heart and continues my calling to do it more.”
She admits there are a few people who are scared by clowns, mostly due to some books and movies. Even though it’s not recognized medically, Gonzalez and other clowns call it coulrophobia and they also teach their members how to handle it. The Midwest Clown Association Convention runs through Sunday at the Clarion Hotel Conference Center in Davenport.