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What About The Clowns In Puerto Vallarta?

In defense of clowns, Puerto Vallarta could use more. Their entire function is to make people laugh, to amuse, entertain. We can all use a bit more laughter.

Some smart clown, before he was so designated, decided that to garner attention he could learn to juggle, dance, sing songs and do acrobatics to collect coins in plazas, on street corners, at traffic lights. We see them in abundance in larger cities, such as Mexico City and Guadalajara. In their roadside acts they incorporate fire, sharp swords, living and dead fish and, if balls aren’t readily available, rocks to juggle. When it was deemed that necessity was the mother of invention, Mexican clowns, formerly ordinary citizens who wanted to make a living peacefully, began to paint their faces.

An International Convention gathers in Mexico City annually, which attracts hundreds of clowns from the far reaches of Latin America. There’s no telling how many can cram into a single car for the journey but clowns attend this global event from many countries, including Canada and the USA. Awards are handed out; a lengthy laugh-a-thon is held along with an unrivaled display of colorful costumes of all types and backgrounds, including those reflecting traditional tribal clothing. In December, when communities and organizations make peregrinacions to the revered Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City celebrating the pre-Christmas fiestas, a huge assembly of clowns marches through the streets to honor the virgin.

Clowns Without Borders (No Child Without a Smile) is one of the many organizations found throughout Mexico who promote the relief of suffering and conflict, in metropolitan cities and small villages alike. The key aim of these many clown groups and associations is to protest violence caused by cartels and the war on drugs.

Mexico treasures and honors their clowns. Cepillín (Little-Toothbrush) was revered and many have modeled themselves after the dentist who began to paint his face to calm children that came to him for care. His fame rose after a simple TV interview and Dr. Ricardo González Gutiérrez developed the weekly El Show de Cepillín. His fame grew, bringing educational programs, comedy and international guests to Mexican television.

Though some claim to be afraid of clowns and we have seen small children cower in their presence, Mexicans love their clowns and school age children are only amused and delighted. A person who is inspired to be a clown wants only to make the world smile.

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