This year’s Emmett Kelly Clown Festival features performances by the famous clown’s grandson and his family.
The Joey Kelly Circus returns to downtown Houston for the event. This year, Kelly says the show will feature new rigging, new routines and a new appearance. All of the activity is featured in a 30-foot ring that once belonged to his father, Emmett Kelly Jr.
The centerpiece is a tripod aerial rigging that towers 20 feet tall. Each pole has a wooden shoe and is connected collectively with 20-foot steel cables. By design, Kelly says the downward weight stabilizes the rigging in all three directions, allowing performances outside or inside without the need of guy wires or driving stakes in the ground.
Among those performing are the Kelly children:
*Bethany performs an aerial ballet. She also does a trapeze routine.
*Lindy serves as ringmistress and will open this year’s show with a new comedy bell routine, which will be her first-time performance. Bethany and Nate had their “First of May” last year, a first-time performer.
*Nate will have a new act with many new tricks. He juggles among other things, pins, balls and rings.
“With him handling the skill toys and his sister floating like an angel overhead, The Joey Kelly Circus is growing into a very nice, little family circus,” says Joey Kelly.
Also on stage will be Penny, the Pomeranian trimmed like a lion.
Those attending will see Joey Kelly perform “The Bird,” one of three signature routines created in the 1980s. He’ll also have a tribute to his grandfather, an adaptation of the elder Kelly’s famous “spotlight” routine.