During a visit to Houston in June 1970, Emmett Kelly (a.k.a. Weary Willie the clown), left, watches local resident Claude Laffoon help Kelly's daughters Monika and Stasia ride "Stardust," a Tennessee Walker owned by Linda Spurgeon. Credit: HERALD FILE PHOTO

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A committee working on the revival of the Emmett Kelly Clown Festival in Houston is seeking sponsors as it plans a multitude of activities from Thursday, April 28 – Saturday, April 30.

The festival honors the world-famous clown who was raised on a farm east of Houston and held his first performance at the Old Settlers Reunion in Houston. His career brought him to TV, stage and film, as well as a run with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. He passed away in 1979. A local park is named in his honor.

This year is the relaunch of the festival that was last held in 2008.

Honored guests for the event are Stasia Kelly, the daughter of the clown; and Chris Berry, an authority on circuses. They are included in an evening presentation and dinner planned for Thursday, April 28, at the Houston Storm Shelter. Video shows and news clips describing Kelly and the American circus are planned.

Among the other activities planned are:

•A Friday night showing of the “The Greatest Show on Earth” that includes Kelly, Charleston Heston,  Jimmy Stewart, Betty Hutton and Dorothy Lamour. The Cecil B. DeMille movie won two Academy Awards in 1953, including best picture.

•A 5K race and fun run, as well as classic car show on Saturday, April 30.

•Vendor booths and food trucks in the downtown for Saturday, as well as live music and Dutch oven cooking demonstrations.

•A business decorating contest.

Organizers say they are looking for the sponsorships to provide for special guests attending, prizes for an art contest at the school district, the movie presentation, promotions and money to grow the event for next year.

Here are sponsorship opportunities available to help:

•Students art contest ($150)

•Dinner with Kelly and Berry ($150)

•A clown at a business ($200)

•The movie at the Melba ($300)

•A musician on stage ($100)

•5K/fun run ($200)

•Car show awards ($300)

All the opportunities will result in recognition in advertising, printed publicity and at events.

Persons interested can contact Shannon Jordan, community development and outreach coordinator for the city at 417-967-3348 or email ec.dev@houstonmo.org.

Members of the volunteer committee are: Brenda Senter, Marci Rodriques, Rachel Strickland, Jodie Avery, Ann Tottingham and Rene Shimp.

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