Bizarre ‘clown bazaar’ supports noble cause

If you haven’t walked through a “Clown Garage Sale” – you’ve missed an interesting experience. The clowns didn’t buy squirting lapel flowers with their proceeds – find out about the virtuous charity they were supporting instead …

Physical comedian, clown, and street performer Angel Ocasio juggles an armful of merchandise with which he says he’s willing to part.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
At the bazaar held at Portland Habilitation in outer NE Portland, one almost expected to see a real elephant – not a white one – as the annual Clown and Street Performer’s Garage Sale got underway on November 8.

Looking around the room, we saw tables laden with red rubber noses, trick flowers clown costumes and makeup, magic props, and juggling apparatus.

But more entertaining than the merchandise were the individuals offering them for sale.

You might recognize the event’s organizer, Angel Ocasio – he heads the Portland Rose Festival’s Clown Character Corps. “There is a lot of wonderful stuff here. We’ve had many new performers come and get good buys on all kinds of props,” he said.

Albert Alter, an SE Portland resident, demonstrates (and reluctantly offers for sale) his valuable merchandise at the clowns’ bazaar.

Another well-known physical comedian and circus-arts teacher, Albert Alter, said he wasn’t sure if he’d sold more items than he’d purchased. “It a way, it’s like a swap meet. One performer’s discards are another’s delights,” Alter said.

This bizarre bazaar had a special purpose, Ocasio said. “Our table sales are donated to a group called Clowns Without Borders. They provide laughter to relieve the suffering of all people, especially children, who live in areas of crisis – including refugee camps, conflict zones, and territories in situations of emergency.”

The group sponsors professional entertainers to travel and bring cheer, contemporary clown/circus oriented performances, and workshops into communities “so that they can celebrate together, and forget for a moment the tensions that darken their daily lives,” Ocasio said.

  • For more information about Clowns Without Borders, CLICK HERE.
  • To learn more about the wacky world of Angel Ocasio, CLICK HERE.
  • And, to discover the physical comedy of Albert Alter, CLICK HERE.

© 2008 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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