Corny jokes, silly songs and funny dancing are a sure way to get anyone to crack a smile or laugh. For the Cedaredge Clowns, these antics are part of a program they host each month at Horizons, Crossroads and Willow Tree Senior Living facilities.
Each month on the third Tuesday, members of the CC volunteer a few hours in the afternoon to spend 20 to 30 minutes in each facility. During Christmas they go to the North Fork Valley Children's Christmas party, give small gifts and make balloon animals.
"We like laughing and want everybody to laugh. We love fun," said group member Ginny Stohler.
Cedaredge clowns began in the early 1980s. Members of the Cedaredge Methodist Church wanted to do something good for others. "Wayne and Verrette Markley were instrumental in keeping the clowns going and on track," said Stohler. "If that's possible with a bunch of clowns."
Now 30 years later the group is still lively with eight members.
Current clowns are "Corky" Jerry Grasshan, "Pom Pom" Ginny Stohler, "Bam Bam" Paul Ash, "Fancy" Nancy Carlson, "Daffodil" Diane Grudt, "Squeezy" Carolyn Lamm, "Goofy" Marilyn Anderson and "Roe Roe" Rae Sickles. Their costumes support their clown names, too. Ginny Liston was their costume coordinator for a number of years but now they put together whatever parts and pieces that fit together.
Grudt loves changing up her outfits each time. Each one includes daffodils as part of her name but overall she just uses things she has. "The first time I clowned, the only thing I could think to put on was this crown with vines and daffodils and thought the name could work well, too," she said.
Like most of the members, Grudt joined to do something lively and impact the lives of others. She looks forward to the outings and loves seeing the reactions from the facility residents.
"The clowns make everybody laugh, our moods are lightened, they're having a good time and being silly gives a good escape from the problems of life," she said. "When I'm clowning, I'm totally away from my problems and focusing on other people."
One hope for the clowns is to recruit more members. They've had many over the years, but now not everyone can make every show. Several years ago they had a piano player, which Stohler hopes to have again.
Those interested in spending a few hours once a month to bring smiles to the elderly with Cedaredge Clowns can contact Stohler at 856-6082.
Grudt said preparation doesn't take long; she simply has a good stockpile of jokes, maybe needs to learn a song or two and chooses her outfit. Then, the fun begins as they start visiting the facilities.