Is your clown ready for the summer parade season? I know right now we are just seeing the last of the snow piles melt here in the Midwest. But if you are going to be ready for that great American pastime you need to start right now!
Need some ideas of how to participate? You have a couple of choices. You can either do pre-parade (where you go along at your own pace before the parade starts) or be a proper unit in the parade (which means staying in your place in line and not dawdling behind).
Why do Pre-Parade?
You have plenty of time! By performing before the parade starts you don’t have to worry about keeping up with the flow of the parade. That means you can have a pocket full of tricks, or one really good one that you can do over and over. There won’t be a queen candidate in a convertible hot on your heels! My clown club loves to do pre-parade. We show up 45 minutes before the parade even starts. That’s when folks are grabbing their spots on the curb with lawn chairs, strollers and portable coolers.
Funny side-story: An out-of-towner marveled at all the blankets laid out on the sidewalks in my home town of Maple Lake three days before our St. Patrick Day’s parade. You know it is a small town, because no one was worried that their lawn chairs would be stolen!!
I love riding my chicken mobile around before the parade starts. I switched to the adult-trike-turned-chicken-mobile to save my circus-sorry-feet. I keep my chicka-le-le in my basket so I can pull it out and sing a couple of songs to any music lovers. (I usually cure them of that idea! Hee hee!)
Try these parade bits for clowns:
Get the ‘Keep this Coupon‘ raffle tickets from Wal-mart. They are cheap! It is fun to ask a little kiddo if they have their ticket to the parade. Of course they will say no. Look shocked! “What? How did you get in here without a ticket! Oh my goodness — here I have an extra one.” Whew! Give them the ticket. You can even pull out a paper punch and punch it for them. The sillier you get, the more worried you seem, the funnier it is. Once you have them set up with a ticket you can perform a little trick or bit. I have more details about using these here.
Pretend to be the official parade photographer. Make yourself a badge or a sign you can put on your hat. A comedy camera is a great prop. Of course the fancy premade ones are cool! Peachey Keene Props made some of the best back in the day. But you can make one out of a box and cover it with craft foam. A tuna can makes a great lens. Find a kids toy camera. Get a rubber duckie for “watch the birdie” A toilet brush or giant comedy comb if fun to spruce people up. (Don’t really touch them). Once you snap the picture you can pull out any funny picture. A monkey is always fun. Two goats for mom and dad! Use your imagination and Google!
Another character is the fashion police. Just get a small note book to carry around. You can write tickets all day, “I’m sorry, sweetheart you are just too cute for this parade! Next look at the dad, “Excuse me sir…Did you dress yourself this morning?” ask the child to keep an eye on him and help him next time. You get the idea.
Be a lost band musician. Dress up in pieces of an old band uniform. If you can’t find a uniform, you can make a funny hat out of an automotive funnel! Decorate a funny kazoo horn and carry some sheet music. You can be looking for your marching band because you missed the bus! “Have you seen my band? I seem to have lost them! They have trombones and drums and girls with flags and…on no I was so busy practicing I missed the bus! See? Here is my music! Could you hold it for me so I can practice?” Have a bunch of pages taped together, make a mess of it. Get three kids together, turn them around and use a clothespin to attach the music to their shirts. Then play a silly little song. “I better go! But when you see me come marching by, be sure to clap for me. Okay?”
I knew a clown that put together a snack tray with fake drinks and popcorn. He would walk up and down the parade route looking for his family. “Where did they go? I told them to wait right here! Have you seen my family?” The kids didn’t really get it, but the parents thought it was hilarious!!!
What to do as a parade unit:
If you have a unit in the parade it is a different matter. The possibilities are endless! A lot of clowns have motorized vehicles for clowns to ride in. My club has a motorized bath tub complete with showerhead. While one of us drives it, the rest of us follow in clown bath robes and shower caps waiting to take our turn! I use a toilet bowl scrubber for that gag, too!
Whatever you choose, it always pays to plan ahead. I have gone to a lighter costume and make-up so I can enjoy the parade season. I make sure my innersoles fit into my converse or PF Flyer tennis shoes! I bring along water. I make sure I start hydrating the day before the parade on hot summer days. I take a couple of ibuprofen before the parade! My doctor told me: once you are hurting it’s too late! A protein power bar for a quick pre-parade snack for energy and I am good to go.
Talk to your club now to see what kind of fun ideas you may have for the upcoming season. You will be glad you did.
Comment below with your best parade bit and share advice with my readers!