MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

September 25, 2007

Shrine circus coming to town

Shriners clown around to promote event

Gary Dunlap took time off from selling real estate Monday to help clown around at Muskogee elementary schools.

But it was for a cause. Dunlap, a member of the Bedouin Shrine Temple, drove clowns Sparky and Hi-Bi to schools throughout Muskogee to entertain kids and spread the word about the Shrine’s circus coming Friday to the Muskogee Civic Center.

“It was wonderful going in and see the kids and their surprised faces,” Dunlap said.

The clowns visited several elementary schools in Muskogee Public Schools, plus the MPS Early Childhood Center, Hilldale and Oklahoma School for the Blind. He said he expected to visit eight schools.

Early Childhood Center teacher Robin Allen said the 4-year-olds at the school had a lot of fun with the clowns.

“Hi-Bi is always saying something crazy or losing his pants,” Allen said. “He had kids who were going to go to the circus raise their hands.”

Allen said the clowns visited each of the 18 classrooms in the building.

The annual Shrine Circus raises money for the Bedouin Shrine’s general fund, said Ray Caviness, Chief Rabban for the Shrine.

“It helps us to keep our lights on so we can keep on doing what we do best — to help kids,” he said.

The local Shrine provides transportation for children with medical needs and their families to get to any of the several Shriners Hospitals. The hospitals provide children with specialized care for orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate. All services are provided at no charge.

Muskogee will be the third town to host the Shrine Circus this week. The circus will be in Poteau tonight and in McAlester Wednesday and Thursday, Caviness said.

He said the Bedouin Shrine, which covers eastern Oklahoma south of Pryor, expects to raise about $60,000 from the circus.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at 918-684-2928 or Click Here to Send Email

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