Clowning around is Susquehanna Township resident Sean … – PennLive

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Susquehanna Twp. resident Sean Straining’s dreamed of becoming a circus clown. And after graduating from Central Dauphin High School, he matriculated to Clown College in Venice, Fla.
Through the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey School, he took classes including pantomime, improvisation, gag development, unicycling, makeup, dance and costume construction.
Straining then “clowned” on tour with The Greatest Show on Earth and delighted audiences as a trampoline clown. A knee injury forced him to leave the act he loved.
He then worked in the restaurant industry for years. Eventually, he became a stay-at-home dad and returned to the Harrisburg area. That’s when the 47-year-old started Clown Around Town Ltd.
His son, Jett, 6, is endless inspiration for his business of clowning, juggling, stilt walking and balloon sculpting. “He keeps me young and up-to-date on all the stuff kids’ love,” Straining said.
And in affirming the ageless appeal of clowns, he was approached by Fran Burkhart, activities director for Elmcroft, a Reading-based senior living community.
Elmcroft in working with Second Wind Dreams, a nonprofit organization that specializes in granting wishes to those in eldercare communities, said that they had an 88-year-old with a dream. Resident Jeanne Hoffmaster wanted to be a clown.
Burkhart had heard about Straining, who had been voted “Best Children’s Entertainment” by Harrisburg Magazine. He was more than a little tickled to team up with a partner to help him do what he does best — tickling funny bones.
“I did my makeup in front of her and she did her makeup in front of me and called herself Maude the Clown in honor of her mother.”
After entertaining the residents, Maude the Clown and Straining climbed into a limousine and took off for St. Joseph’s Hospital in Reading. The pair elicited smiles throughout the hospital as they visited patients in the cancer and pediatric wards.
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