November 13. It’s 7:30AM. On a Saturday. And my birthday…
As I make my way to the subway, I wonder what I should expect. A 2-hour orientation at 9AM – WHY?! And then I think, because! I’m training to be a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade CLOWN!
I arrive at the huge Big Apple Circus tent in Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park in Manhattan, and it’s like a maze inside – there are lots of balloons (strategically arranged), many signs with arrows pointing the way, and… popcorn? Mmmm.
I finally reach the class. And get a little excited taking photos. But hey, you’ll see why, totally worth getting carried away. The zany Circus Master and his trainers are the Big Apple Circus clowns-of-renown, and after we participate in some interesting body and facial exercises, we rush into the circus ring for more shenanigans. No animals present, in case you were wondering…
After some prep work/improv with our Supreme clown commander, we are approved to be her “Spacey Clowns.” Qualifications to pass? Being goofy, cheerful, and a tad imaginative. Oh, and I should mention that the Birthday clown commander surprised me when she and her group of 20 clowns-in-training suddenly surrounded me and sang “Happy Birthday!” loud enough for everyone to hear. At least they didn’t go on to sing “How old are you now?”
And NY1 even showed up, but not for me. “Being a class clown was a point of honor for those who were in training for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Saturday. … Once the volunteers learn skills like etiquette, comedic timing and gags, they will become full-fledged parade clowns and receive their coveted fake noses.” Hear more of what they say here.
According to I LOVE NEW YORK, “Every year more than 2.5 million people are in attendance and another 44 million tune in to watch … it’s the most spectacular Thanksgiving holiday celebration in the world.” As some of you may know, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924, and this Thanksgiving tradition will not only kick off the holiday season with celebrities and floats, but will also be green with those reused BIG balloons. They also reclaim all the helium in their balloon program so that it can be reused as well. Did you know that Macy’s ranks as one of the Top 100 greenest companies in America!? To learn more about their year-round initiatives, click here.
So what can I say? I couldn’t have thought of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to attend Macy’s Clown U! This Thanksgiving, our mission will be to make everyone smile and laugh – rain or shine – and as one of the paraders, I can’t wait to entertain you all with some funny routines and espresso-influenced high energy on Thursday, November 25th. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of my rubber chicken, floppy shoes, crazy make-up, and orange NASA costume.
To infinity… and beyond! That’s right Buzz Lightyear, I’m quoting you!