NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some very important training took place in Midtown for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
About 200 people attended Macy’s Clown University Saturday taught by the stars of the Big Apple Circus.
The goal of the course is to teach the hundreds of new volunteers how to interact with the crowd and get people laughing during the parade.
“You have to be super enthusiastic, really happy and smiley,” one new clown said.
And while it may sound like all fun and games, Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, says it’s serious business.
“The clown group is really the heart and soul of the Macy’s parade,” she said.
Before beginning training for one of the 300 coveted spots as a new clown in the parade students had to take the Clown University Oath of Honor.
“I will not eat, drink, or smoke and wind up on the Dave Letterman show,” students recited.
Giggles and excitement were hard to contain for the Peterson family. This year will be John Peterson’s 10th as a clown in the parade, CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported.
“It’s unbelievable. You see the crowds up in the buildings and the kids on the ground. I love it,” he said.
Peterson recruited his brothers and a cousin to take part in the Thanksgiving fun.
“I knew if we all got together with our cousin here it would be hilarious because we’re all naturally silly,” George Peterson said.
Experts told CBS 2’s Burrell that energy is the key to being a good clown.
“You’re here to give your pleasure to the crowd and connect with them,” Dr. Dibble explained.
The afternoon also included a crash course in dancing for students dressed as sugar plums led by Team Captain Charlie.
In all, 900 clowns will take part in the parade.
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