The present day Anah Shrine Clown Unit began around 1961 when any Anah Shrine Noble wishing to be a member of Anah’s Second Section was asked first to serve for one year as an apprentice clown. The first six clowns were Norman Hatch, Bob Mott, Bob McClure, David Perry, David Cahoon and Ken Day. This practice continued until 1973 when the Anah Shrine Clown Unit first stepped into the spotlight as an official unit of Anah with officers consisting of Director Bob Winchell, Captain Norman Hatch, Secretary-Treasurer Keith Patterson and members George Snedden, Harold Judkins, Ronald Pomeroy, Clyde Dority, John Chase and Floyd Bragg. Norman Hatch further distinguished himself as the first Anah Clown to serve as president of the Northeast Shrine Clown Association. George Snedden and Ken Wood also served in this prestigious Northeast Shrine Clown leadership role. We are indeed fortunate that George Snedden still graciously shares his wit and wisdom with us about those early days of Anah clowning.
We currently have 35 active clowns, six of whom are apprentice clowns in their first year of service. We also have 48 emeritus clowns who have completed five or more years of service and chosen to step back a bit from the busy pace of our very active unit. All of our active clowns are members of the International Shrine Clown Association (ISCA) with Shrine Clown members in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Panama and the Northeast Shrine Clown Association.
Our clowning around is for the very serious purpose of raising monies to support Shriners Hospitals for Children, which provide world class burn and orthopedic care to children in this area from their facilities in Boston and Springfield, Mass. This care is provided free of charge to children under the age of 18 who need it regardless of race, creed, religion or national origin. We are also proud supporters of the ISCA Red Sneaker Fund, our own Shrine Clown charity, which raises money for burns research that helps to save the lives of children in Shriners Hospitals and beyond.
We also have a long and proud tradition as “the Clowns to Beat” for our winning ways in greasepaint, costume, balloon sculpting and clown skit competitions held as part of the annual Northeast Shrine Association Field Days and Northeast Clown Institute. We rarely leave a competition with fewer than three clowns in the top 10 in any given category of competition and often sweep the first-, second- and third-place positions.
We currently have openings available for apprentice clowns. Inquiries regarding this may be addressed to Kerry (Spiffy) Spofford, boss clown of the Anah Shrine Clown Unit.