Many kids have threatened to "run away and join the circus" but how many actually do it? Most kids eventually grow up and go on to lead normal lives. But there are always a few adults who refuse to lose that dream of being a clown in a circus.
Lily Lake resident Jack Kramer attended the 17th anniversary of Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp in Buffalo, Minnesota, July 23 - 28, 2013. Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp is a one week intensive clown school designed to meet the needs of those folks who want to learn to be "real" clowns. Not all clowns are in the circus, though. Many are brightening the halls of hospitals and nursing homes, walking in parades, performing at birthday parties, or showing up wherever a smile is needed.
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More than ninety campers came from all over the United States, Canada, and Scotland. They are from all walks of life, and they range in age from 17 to 77. They come from almost every profession you can imagine: doctors, college deans, CEOs, firefighters, pastors, and even an NFL photographer. A great many are active or retired teachers. Kramer has been retired from the technical education field at AT&T for fifteen years. Some came to camp just to satisfy their curiosity and some came with specific goals to improve their clown business or gain circus skills. Kramer has been entertaining as a clown at festivals and in nursing homes for the past two years, but came to enhance his skills in what is referred to as the "Caring Clown" ministry with a specific focus on entertaining in nursing homes.
The camp has been running since 1996 and is one of the oldest and most comprehensive clown arts training camps in the world. Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp is designed so beginners and experienced clowns can learn and work side-by-side in a challenging and inspiring environment. Classes are taught on a wide range of pertinent subjects. Besides attending classes, the campers are also personally coached by the staff to prepare for their graduation performance in "The All Star Clown Show". This show is the only one of its kind in the country: Almost 100 clowns on stage performing classic circus skits and magic tricks in front of a live audience. Kramer had the role of a side show barker in a skit called "arm wrestling". As they say at Mooseburger Camp: 'You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!' "