KIDSGAZETTE

Wait, we have a National Clown Week?

It was started by President Nixon and is the first week of August every year

World Clown Convention attendees wave to fellow clowns at the annual gathering in Bloomington, Minn. (Washington Post ph
World Clown Convention attendees wave to fellow clowns at the annual gathering in Bloomington, Minn. (Washington Post photo by Michael S. Williamson)
KIDSGAZETTE ARTICLES

11:00AM | Mon, September 21, 2020

10:30AM | Mon, September 21, 2020

View More KIDSGAZETTE Articles

Almost 50 years ago, the president of the United States signed an official proclamation, heralding “those who bring such moments of quiet splendor — who redeem sickness and pain with joy.”

He was talking about clowns.

Seriously.

In August 1971, President Richard Nixon signed Proclamation 4071 and declared the first National Clown Week, which was held from Aug. 1 to Aug. 7 that year.

(If you’ve heard of Nixon, you probably know he resigned the presidency because of the Watergate scandal. That much less silly part of his history came later, in 1974.)

Nixon’s proclamation thanked clowns for “the laughter of a child” and the “sudden delight on the face of a lonely man.” While his writing seems a bit dramatic, it can be nice to recognize the people who make us smile. “For surely the laugh-makers are blessed,” he said, “they heal the heart of the world.”

Our country is the only one that has officially recognized National Clown Week, though clowns all around the world recognize the week, according to internationalclownweek.org. They celebrate the first week of August every year.

No one really knows whose idea it was to convince Congress and President Nixon to pass the Clown Week proclamation. Some people think a clown called WABO came up with the idea and timed the weeklong celebration for his daughters’ birthdays.

Others think Kelly the Clown, who led a successful letter-writing campaign to members of Congress, or a clown called Boom-Boom, who convinced critical congressmen to join the movement, deserve the credit.

Whoever started the movement, they gave our country a pretty funny official national celebration.

Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

KIDSGAZETTE ARTICLES

11:00AM | Mon, September 21, 2020

View More KIDSGAZETTE Articles

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.