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Serious clowning – Rose City Clowns recognizes Giggle Britches’ hard work

By Melissa Wagoner

Becoming a clown wasn’t actually Bonnie-Jean Brown’s idea.

“My mommy made me do it,” she laughed, when asked how she – recognized by most as Giggle Britches the clown – got her start.

She’s not exaggerating. From the very beginning her mother, Glendora DeSantis, has had a hand in what would eventually become her daughter’s life-long passion – from signing her up for her first clown class in Salem in 1982, to reigniting her interest in the field in 2011, to inspiring the name “Giggle Britches” when Brown finally launched her career.

Bonnie-Jean Brown, a.k.a. Giggle Britches  the clown.
Bonnie-Jean Brown, a.k.a. Giggle Britches
the clown.

“I wanted a unique name,” Brown said, recalling the night, on the way to the Mooseburger Clown Camp in Minnesota, when her mother stumbled on exactly what she’d been looking for.

“I had on rainbow pants and a rainbow wig,” Brown remembered. “And we were clowning around when my mom said, ‘What have you got, giggles in your britches?’ I said, ‘That’s my name, Giggle Britches.’”

But it’s not just a name, Giggle Britches is an entirely separate persona, replete with her own backstory.

“Giggle Britches is a five to eight-year-old child, ready to explore the world and find joy,” Brown described. “And her favorite food is peanut butter.”

She is also the reason Brown, who defines herself as an introvert, is able to overcome her shy tendencies, acting silly and playful in public.

“When I’m a clown I do things I would never think of doing,” Brown said. “I’ve got a license to stretch.”

Performing at parties, picnics and community events from Homer Days to Oktoberfest, Brown is kept busy nearly year-around doing the thing she loves best.

“I’m just out there to make people smile,” she said.

And she’s good at what she does, winning this year’s coveted, Ambassador of Clown Award, from the Rose City Clowns for “representing clowning in its best light and being a wonderful example to other clowns” – a difficult achievement considering the amount of time she spends in the public eye.

“Once you open that car door you never know who can see you, so once you’re out of the car you’re on stage,” Brown said, describing the long hours and emotional energy that clowning takes. “I have so much fun playing with the kids, I don’t realize until the moment I get home, I am so spent.”

But she really wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s that magical moment when you connect with a child or an adult,” Brown explained. “The joy I can give to people…Like PT Barnum said, there’s no better enterprise than bringing happiness to others.”

Giggle Britches

Clowning for parties, picnics and community events

[email protected]. 503-996-1065

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