by: Tiffany Kilpatrick, This year's Rose Festival will feature Estacada's Lisa Brookshier in her first year as a clown.

With the Portland Rose Festival upon us, Estacada's Lisa Brookshier may seem a bit unrecognizable to some friends and family.

That's because Brookshier has traded in her usual volunteer work for the chance to clown around.

Growing up around her Uncle Randol, who has been a clown for Shriners Children's Hospitals for 30 years, Lisa decided it was time to let her "clown" out.

'I saw the news story about the Rose Festival Clown Corps and knew it was for me,' she said. 'Most of my volunteer work uses my business management and leadership skills, which is very fulfilling, but I knew it was time for a change, and I knew clowning was going to be fun.'

It's the three-ring Rose Festival, where participants keep their day jobs while living out the age-old fantasy of running away to join the circus.

The Rose Festival Character Clown Corps, presented by Amtrak Cascades, has quickly become one of the festival's favorite features. Bringing a special brand of love and laughter to the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade as well as other event appearances, these ordinary-folks-turned-extraordinary-entertainers reflect both the historic traditions of clowning and the contemporary culture of the region.

Named one of the best educational programs in the world for festivals and events during its inaugural year in 2008, this year's edition of the Character Clown Corps will add 16 new colorful personalities to the group, ranging in age from 14 to 65.

They represent a wide range of backgrounds, including a sculptor, a mortgage banker, an actor and playwright, and a past rodeo princess. In fact, it's Brookshier who is the rodeo princess from La Pine.

Contract Publishing

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