Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay Clown Club to highlight positive side of clowning at It premiere

Thunder Bay's Clown Club is spreading a message of positive clowning at the city's movie theatre Thursday night.
Members of the Thunder Bay Clown Club will gather at Silver City on Thursday Sept. 7, prior to the opening of the new adaptation of Steven King's It, to share information about the positive side of clowning. (Thunder Bay Clown Club/Facebook)

The Clown Club in Thunder Bay, Ont. is spreading a message of positive clowning at the city's movie theatre Thursday night.

Members of the club will gather outside Silver City at 6 p.m., about an hour before the first screening of the new adaptation of Steven King's novel It, which features a sinister clown named Pennywise.

But Clown Club president Dan Baxter is quick to point out that the planned gathering is not a protest, nor is it designed to deter people from seeing the film; rather, it's an opportunity to share information about professional clowns and what they really do.

Not protesting the movie

"We just plan to hopefully be there and share greetings, like 'welcome to the theatre,'" said Baxter, who performs under the name Daffy the Clown. "We're not protesting the movie. We hope people go, enjoy it."

"We just want to show the positive image."

The clowns will be handing out leaflets that include information about what professional clowns do, as well as business cards, Baxter said.

Bill Skarsgård plays Pennywise the Clown in the big screen adaptation of Stephen King's 1986 novel, It. The film opens Thursday night. (Warner Brothers)

"A professional clown is someone that has ... learned different aspects of clowning," he said. "How to do balloons, how to do face painting, how to apply their makeup properly, how to make or purchase proper costumes."

"It takes time to learn all these different things, and you can become a magician with that, you can become a juggler. There's so many ways that a clown can entertain and keep people happy."

'Providing entertainment'

But the scary clown phenomenon — whether it be monstrous clowns in films, scary clown Halloween costumes, or the creepy clown prank encounters reported around the world — can cast clowning in a negative light, and the Thunder Bay Clown Club wants to try to balance that out, Baxter said.

"That's not what clowning is about," he said. "We're about providing entertainment."

"We're not about getting in someone's face or being scary."

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