The 200 members of the Detroit Distinguished Clown Corps take their clowning seriously, as do Lena Antoon who teaches public speaking at Wayne State University by day. She and the other members march along Woodward Avenue in their clown suits as part of Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The colors they wear have special significance, changing for each five years of service in the Corps.
Antoon, who is now in her eighth year, emphasizes that the changing colors have significance for each five years of membership. Members of the Clown Corps pay a thousand dollars each year for the privilege of walking in the Thanksgiving Day parade, with their yearly dues going to the Parade Foundation.
Even though Antoon admits she would rather stay in bed on Thanksgiving morning, she says it’s all worth it to see the smiles on the children’s faces as they hand out colorful Mardi Gras beads. She says that the work is made easier by having everything prepared from the night before.