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Distinguished Clown Corps

You only have to look at the faces of the children to know when the Distinguished Clowns are coming down Woodward Avenue! They truly are a Parade favorite and shining jewel throughout the season. Their colorful costumes and perfectly painted faces bringing smiles and memories to millions is the true message of giving back to the community.

The 2022 America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Gardner White marks the 39th Anniversary of the Distinguished Clown Corps. It all began with business leaders Tom Adams, then chief executive of Campbell-Ewald, and Walter McCarthy, then chief executive of Detroit Edison, who served as the spark in creating a way for leadership to become personally involved with The Parade Company. For three decades over 2,000 clowns have touched the hearts of millions as they make their annual appearance – passing out the cherished beads and smiles that create magic and memories for so many.

The Distinguished Clown Corps is active throughout the year, holding committee meetings, speaking engagements and attending The Ford Fireworks Rooftop Party. During the fall, all members of the Corps are invited to events leading up to America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Gardner-White, including the Preview Party and Pancake Breakfast presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Each September, the Clown Corps committee also hosts its annual Distinguished Grand Jester’s Reception to kick-off parade season with all veteran clowns and potential new members.

The Power Behind The Paint is a documentary short that is a Graduate Masters Thesis Produced and Directed by Lena Antoon at Wayne State University. It is a moving story of The Distinguished Clown Corps that are a treasure to The Parade Company and America’s Thanksgiving Parade presented by Gardner-White in Detroit,  Michigan. Check out the video on YouTube here!