Send in the clowns

There was some serious clowning around on the Jukebox Junkie free stage at the North Dakota State Fair on Saturday afternoon by members of the North Dakota Clown Association as they held their annual clown contest.

Ken Gillespie, as Dizzy the Clown, and serving as the master clown of ceremonies, said there are about 60 members in the clown association in the state.

There were two categories in the clown contest, junior and adult. Gillespie said the balloon competition was held Friday night, clown showmanship was held Saturday morning during the State Fair Parade, the costume and makeup competition took place earlier Saturday afternoon and the skit competition took place at 2 p.m.

The adult clowns performed their skits first, most of them conducting absurd magic tricks and becoming progressively sillier. Clowns in the adult category included Dimples, Lucky Lenny, Cloudy, Clumsy and Sparkly.

Clumsy the Clown performed a magic trick involving playing cards where he would pick the two of clubs card out of the pile every time. Three decks of cards and a game of 156 card pick-up later, he quit and exited the stage.

Passing out squares of toilet paper to audience members before the contest, Lucky Lenny asked what peoples’ favorite colors were and promised to make the white paper magically turn into their favorite hue. As he pretended to go into a coughing fit, he pulled out a series of multi-colored sheets of paper out of his mouth and claimed to have succeeded in his trick, much to the delight of the crowd.

Cloudy, Sparkly and Dimples the Clowns each performed their own silly stunts as well, all to the audience’s delight.

Then the contest was turned over to the junior clowns, of which there were only two. Gillespie said the rookie clowns are called the First of Mays in the clown world because May was the traditional time that the circus would go on tour. “So for the whole year they’re called the First of Mays. In other words, they’re rookies,” he added.

A gathering of clowns wouldn’t be a true gathering without at least one getting a pie in the face and this contest was no exception. Glitter the Clown, an assistant to Blingy, one of the two junior clowns, was the unlucky recipient of the whipped cream pie in her face. Vertigo the Clown was also a crowd-pleaser when he performed his group skit with Dizzy the Clown where Dizzy had a sign on his back reading “Kick Me” and Vertigo had a similar sign saying “Hug Me.”

While the judges tallied the scores, the clowns made balloon sculptures for the children in the audience. Less than 10 minutes later, the clowns were asked to assemble on the stage so they could receive their awards. Plaques were awarded to first-place and runner-up clowns. Categories included Single Balloon, Multiple Balloons, Costumes/Makeup, Parade-ability, Single Skit, Group Skit and Best All-Around for 2013, each for adults and juniors.

The adult winners in the clown contest were:

Single Balloon: Lucky Lenny, first place; Dakota Kid, runner-up.

Multiple Balloon: Sparkly the Clown, first place; Dimples the Clown, runner-up.

Costumes/Makeup: Sparkly the Clown, first place; Cloudy the Clown, runner-up.

Parade-Ability: Clumsy the Clown, first place; Sparkly the Clown, runner-up.

Single Skit: Sparkly the Clown, first place; Clumsy the Clown, runner-up.

Group Skit: Lucky Lenny and selected audience member, first place; Dimples the Clown and Dakota Kid, runner-up.

Best All-Around Adult Clown for 2013: Sparkly the Clown.

The junior winners in the clown contest were:

Single Balloon: Vertigo the Clown, first place; Blingy, runner-up.

Multiple Balloons: Vertigo the Clown, first place.

Costumes/Makeup: Vertigo the Clown, first place; Blingy, runner-up.

Parade-Ability: Vertigo the Clown, first place.

Single Skit: Vertigo the Clown, first place.

Group Skit: Vertigo the Clown and Dizzy the Clown, first place; Blingy, Glitter and selected audience member, runner-up.

Best All Around Junior Clown for 2013: Vertigo the Clown.