ENON — There was a lot of laughter and giggles from a delighted group of students at Enon and Hustead Elementary Schools as Ms. Skeeter, the “advance clown” with the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus, shared her unique style of clowning as she promoted the circus that is coming to the village Mother’s Day.
The Enon Police Department is sponsoring two, 90-minute performances at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, May 11 under the big top at Indian Valley Middle School, 510 S. Xenia Drive. According to Enon Police Chief Lewis Wilcox, the circus event is one of several community events planned during 2014.
Dressed in blue knickers, a red vest, a blue-and-white striped shirt, and oversized shoes, Skeeter sported a bright red bubble-like nose and polka dot cheeks as she put on a show that included several magic tricks and music with a slide whistle and a recorder, two instruments that the clown said have always been a part of the circus. Skeeter even taught several students some circus magic using “Macaroni,” a long peacock feather that the students learned to balance on their fingertips.
The clown implemented American Sign Language and foreign language during the assembly. Her act also included a little bit of history of the big-top circus which is celebrating its 221st. birthday this year.
“There is nothing that has grown up with America like the circus,” said Skeeter. “The circus has been around just about as long as our country has.”
Known as Tina Bausch when she is not performing as part of the big-top circus, the Ohio native grew up in Grove City and got her start as a clown in 1985 at the early age of 9-years-old. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in broadcasting from Oberlin College. After working seven years for Time Warner Inc., Bausch attended the Ringling Clown College and graduated with a MBA, Master of Buffoonery Arts degree.
Since her start as a clown, Skeeter has performed with several American circuses, including the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, the Toby Tyler Circus, Circus Chermera, the Carson and Barnes Circus, Kelly Miller Circus, Jordan International Circus, and the Hartford Circus.
“There were 39 circuses when I started out 29 years ago. Now, there are only 12 big-top circus shows in America,” the clown noted.
Skeeter has spent much of the last 19 years traveling around the country ahead of the circus performers and animals, meeting people in the towns and cities where the circus plans to visit.
According to the clown, each circus season lasts 32 weeks.
“One season we will perform in the Midwest as far east as Ohio. During the next season, we perform in the western states as far east as Colorado,” explained Skeeter.
Advance discount tickets for the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus performances are on sale at the Enon Government Center, Enon Rite Aid pharmacy, and Wesbanco Bank, with adult tickets priced at $10 and children, ages 2 to 12, priced at $6. Tickets for children under 2 years of age are free. Tickets can also be purchased at the gate on circus day for $7 for children and $13 for adults.