May 1st is special for clowns. It is a birthday of sorts and a name for new clowns. According to the International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center, the term “First of May”, derives from the opening of the new circus season, traditionally on or around the first day of May in the tenting circus days. The term is used to describe newcomers to the circus profession. Clowns in particular made much ado about “joining out” or being a First of May with all the innumerable inconveniences, indignities and splendid joys attendant to being a participant in the ancient and honorable brotherhood of clowning.
Now, many clowns, including those who never worked on a circus, call new clowns a “First of May”.
Skit Competition – Sir Toony and Pelukyta
Sir Toony Van Dukes at Circus Magic
Clowns pose for pictures before the 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Clown on a bike in the 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Miss Tickles before the 2012 Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Katie as Super Clown, the world’s strongest clown
Wikipedia says, “First of May — A term also used in the carnival, meaning a novice performer in his first season on a show. Shows used to leave winter quarters for their opening spot on the first of May, and there are always some new workers hired on the first of May who have never worked shows before.”
Goodmagic says, “First of May — A novice performer or worker in his first season. Shows usually play the season’s opening spot on the first of May, so the term means someone “green” who is new to circus life.”
All About Clowns says, “A clown would begin to create his face as a “First of May,” which is what clowns were called during their first season with a show. By the time he was a “Johnny Come Lately,” (in the second season) he or she might still make changes.”
World Clown Association 2018 Convention
“Ringling Remembered – A tribute to historic Clowns”
March 12 – 16, 2018 Convention
Crowne Plaza Suites MSP Airport – Mall of America
Bloomington, MN http://worldclown.com/2018-convention/
Greg DeSanto, Karen Hoyer and other Legendary clowns who have originally traveled with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Karen Hoyer has also served with the Big Apple Clown Care Unit. Greg DeSanto is currently the Executive Director at the International Clown Hall of Fame.
Early Bird Registration special ends on May 1st, however after that time you may still register at the following schedule:
$180 : Prior to May 1st 2017
$200 : May 2nd – September 1st 2017
$240 : September 2nd 2017 – December 1st 2017
$275 : December 2nd 2017 – February 1st 2018
$300 : After February 2nd
$180 : Overseas – Anytime*
$ 50 : Day Rate
$120 SOC (Spouse of Clowns)
They say that laughter is the best medicine and The Big Apple Circus Clown Care Unit has been helping doctors by bringing humor into their hospitals since 1986. HooplaHa recently spent a day at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland with original Clown Care team member Bill Boots (Dr. Boots) and his partner Matthew Pauli (Dr. Spats). Members of the Clown Care team work with physicians to conduct ‘clown rounds,’ their own version of medical rounds, where the healing power of humor is always the prescription!