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How it all Began  


There are several versions of "who had the idea" of National Clown week and

"who convinced Congress" to pass the Proclamation.  We think several people had the idea and several people worked on convincing Congress.  We are glad that everybody succeeded in their goal.  Many thanks to all of them for their efforts.  Here are the most common versions of what happened.

Walt "WABO" Saveage

Considered by many as the person that first came up with the idea of Clown Week way back around 1950. It is said that this week was selected because it was the week that both of his daughters had birthdays.


Frank "Kelly the Clown" Kelly


Clown Week's humble beginnings were in the 1950's. Not much happened 'till 1966 when the first International Clown Week chairman, Frank "Kelly the Clown" Kelly, was appointed by Ray Bickford, president of Clown Club of America.


In 1967 Clown Club of America members were urged to write to their congressmen and senators requesting a presidential proclamation naming August 1-7 as National Clown Week.

Finally in 1969 a resolution was introduced. After clowns met with Senator John McClellan of Arkansas who was chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Observances and Holidays success was finally achieved.


On October 8, 1970, Public Law 91-443 under the 91st Congress, JJR 26 was passed by both the House and Senate and was sent to President Richard Nixon for his signature.



Bill was an original member of Clowns of America when it was founded in 1967 and held membership number 81.  He was named the U.S. Chairman of National Clown Week. 


Because each year a chairman had to be chosen in each state to ask their governor to issue a proclamation honoring National Clown Week, Bill pushed for National Clown Week publicity. 


He convinced Congressman Garmatz of Maryland and Congressman Myers of Indiana to introduce a joint resolution in Congress establishing National Clown Week as an annual event.  He lobbied congress and organized a visit by clowns to the senate building in Washington, D.C. 


The joint resolution was signed into law by President Nixon on August 2, 1971. 

Bill remained International Clown Week Chairman for Clowns of America and Clown of America International until his death.


Bill was honored by induction into the International Clown Hall of Fame in 1996.


Why is it International Clown Week ?

 When COA (Clown of America) changed their name to COAI (Clown of America International), they decided it should be International Clown Week and not National Clown Week. And while International Clown week is celebrated around the world, it's only "officially" recognized in the USA.  Most clowns just refer it to as Clown Week.


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