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Barnum and Bailey Kill 28 Year Tradition for Rocky Hill Elementary

Yesterday I learned that Rocky Hill Elementary school will not be having its annual Clown Day this year instead opting for a reading celebration. This ends a 28 year tradition. I’m still gathering my thoughts for a letter that will be sent to the administration and another to Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey.

…Clown Day started in 1980 when the first graders read a story about circus children. First grade teachers asked Jim Early to bring in circus performers’ children to visit. Mr. Early came with clowns, not children, and thus began a long tradition at Rocky Hill.

… Last year the local marketing company company, who has been faithful to bring the clowns to school, was replaced by a company in Atlanta. We pursued the Atlanta company (who knew nothing about Rocky Hill) about continuing the tradition and they said the circus was going through changes and the only clowns left did not speak English. She conceded and found two Ambassadors of Hope clowns who performed. This year, emails were not returned and the circus has come and gone.

[Source, Letter to 1st grade parents from the first grade teachers]

Clown Day is a well planned event that incorporates all aspects of learning as well as arts. The first graders spend time learning music, physical skills, and the three Rs are incorporated into the activities. Clown Day is not just a day of play and distraction from education. Instead it is a fun way to get the children engaged in education. My daughter has been so excited about Clown Day that she bought a dress for it at the beginning of the year and has avoided wearing it because she doesn’t want it "messed up" before Clown Day. She will be sorely disappointed in this decision.

This decision also breaks a rhythm at the school. Each grade has something "special" and exciting for the children. The Kindergarten students have Turkey Trot. There is the Wax Museum. (I’m drawing a blank on the others). The first grade is now orphaned and seeking their own unique event.

The cancellation of Clown Day is not only a failure on Ringling Bros./Barnum & Bailey‘s part but on the administration of Rocky Hill Elementary including Principal Cory Smith. Clown Day is a well honed operation that works within the curriculum. They have all the equipment and the support of parents. I am befuddled that they did not turn to the Shriner’s for clowns or ask a local clown to come perform. Shoot, if they just want to entertain the kids for 30-45 minutes, I’d put on a show!

Btw, as much as I love the circus, I think my children and I have seen our last Barnum & Bailey show. We will be quite entertained by the Shriner’s Circus from now on.

Related Reality Me posts referencing Clown Day: The day in reviewClown DayQuoted for Clown DayHealthYesterday was my wife’s birthdayRocky Hill Clown DayRocky Hill Clown Day – a big success!Clown DayClown day updateRocky Hill Clown DayClown day update

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I was in the building with the Shrine Circus!

Narration: [audio:]

Cathy with Amy and Evan, her parents, her sister-in-law with her 3 children, and I went to the Shrine Circus in the newly renovated Thompson Bowling Arena. The renovation looks great! And included everything except signs for the section numbers! You have to guess where your seating is assigned. I am bothered by the gating of the stairs to the upper balcony. Honestly! What is the rationale? Is there anything wrong with wandering up the nosebleed section for a different perspective or camera angle? The renovation included cup holders! Genius! But the seats seem closer to the ones in front of them; I think maybe the actual cushion is larger.

We started the evening off with the children playing in the seats and kicking, hitting, putting feet on, and other wise abusing the nice gentleman in the row in front of us. Amy, Abby, Gave, Evan, and Doug ride an elephant at the Shrine CircusTo give him a break, we took the children down to ride the elephants which also happened to be the first time I rode an elephant. After the ride we returned to our seats to further give the nice family in front of us a thorough pounding. Obnoxiously loud toy guns that speak "Don’t move. Drop your gun. Fire fire fire." were purchased. So at the Shrine Circus, whose mission is to help the children, we have a pretend weapon that encourages blowing away an unarmed person. Evan devours cotton candy Evan devours cotton candy Granddaddy felt the children could use some sugar for the show so cotton candy was purchased. Of course, the nice white shirt of the guy in front of us was begging to be finger painted by a very blue, stick Evan. Got him cleaned in without any damage to the white shirt. The show begins. Dad, Amy and Evan watch the circus And I hold the wild child finally giving in and returning pacifier to mouth. Just to show who is in control, at one point Evan takes his "bop" (pacifier) out and tosses it into the audience hitting the child in front of me smack dab on the head and then it settles on the floor beneath the seats of the people in front of the people in front of me. We replace it with one of Amy’s few remaining ones and he spits it to the floor where it rolls down under the seats in front of us.

Evan wins! To the family in front of us, we had become the family behind us. He is too wacky to remain and I cannot stand to allow the poor family in front of us take anymore abuse. I sacrifice the first half of the show to let Evan walk around the stadium. Evan plays with a baby at the circus Of course, he finds a friend who’s dad happens to sell toys at the circus so they have much to do. Prior to that Evan was running me all over Thompson Bowling Arena including quickly moving up and down stairs. With no section numbers listed, it did not take long to get totally turned around. We were lost but the people in front of us weren’t getting kicked.

Eventually Evan got through his zaniness and we were able to return to enjoy the 2nd half of the show. I highly recommend it…at least the 2nd half; seems I didn’t see the first half.