Clowns laugh despite troubled times

Sept. 21, 2005 at 11:41 AM

WESTON-SUPER-MARE, England, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Despite all the trouble in today's world, a bunch of clowns gathered in England say they are needed more than ever to "put the smile back on people's faces."

Some 100 people put on red noses, wild outfits and colorful makeup at the weeklong International Clown Festival in Weston-Super-Mare on the southwest coast of England.

Finding clowning late in life -- often as a cure for depression and divorce -- was a common theme of attendees, including former Birmingham, England, factory worker David Vaughan, whose clown name is Conk.

"There's so much trouble in the world today, we are needed to brighten things up and put the smile back on people's faces," Vaughan told The Independent newspaper.

"One day, this clown just popped out of me," said Shobhana Schwebke, 68, of California. Shobi-Dobi sees clowning as a "spiritual path" that lightens her life.

"Some days I don't have a clown job but I still get dressed up to go shopping," Schwebke said.

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