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Distinguished Clown Corps

The faces of the children along the Parade route light up when the Distinguished Clowns make their way down Woodward Avenue! They truly are a Parade favorite and shining jewel throughout the fall season. Their colorful costumes and perfectly painted faces bringing smiles & memories to millions is the true message of giving back to the community.

2023 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Distinguished Clown Corps® presented by Emagine Entertainment!! 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. Over 2,000 clowns have touched the hearts of millions as they make their annual appearance – passing out the beloved beads and smiles that create magic and memories for so many.

The Distinguished Clown program is active throughout the year, holding committee meetings, speaking engagements, and attending the Rooftop Party & Ford Fireworks in June. During the fall, all members of the Corps are invited to events leading up to The Parade, including the Pancake Breakfast presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and our annual black-tie fundraiser, Hob Nobble Gobble® presented by Ford. The Clown Corps committee also hosts its annual Distinguished Grand Jester’s Reception to kick-off Parade season with all current and potential new members.

The Power Behind The Paint is a documentary short that is a graduate master’s thesis produced and directed by Lena Antoon at Wayne State University. It is a moving story of The Corps, showcasing its tradition within The Parade Company and America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Gardner White. Check out the video on YouTube here!

For more information on becoming a Distinguished Clown, please contact CarolAnn at