Wearing a jacket declaring him the Clown of Crunk, Jamarr “JMan” Woodruff shuffled onto the stage at Garrett Elementary School on Friday.
The noise he made as he stomped while juggling three balls resembled a train, the same type of train the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will ride in on when it comes to town next month.
The school was one of at least nine visits Woodruff will make around the area this weekend to proclaim the arrival of the circus.
“I am the Ambassador of Laughter, coming to spread the news,” the Atlanta native said. “This is actually a tradition that P.T. Barnum started of sending posters out in advance of the show way back in the 1800s. So now, continuing the tradition, Ringling Bros. send their best posters – the clowns – to tell of all the good news of the upcoming shows.”
Wide-eyed, and many wearing red clown noses, the pupils who filled the auditorium squealed as JMan juggled straw hats. They sat quietly and raptly as he juggled three large knives – while solemnly promising never to try this at home, at school or grandma’s house, of course.
Woodruff pulled second-grader Lovelii Hayes out of the audience to be his assistant during the hat juggling trick.
When it was over, he turned a colorful napkin into a rose just for her.
Lovelii said she was nervous on stage, but her favorite part of the show was “when he juggled the knives.”
Principal Doug Frierson said the show was exactly what he hoped it would be, a great time for his students.
“Everything I like to do around here is community-based. This is just one more way to involve kids in the community,” he said. “When the circus comes to town, everybody forgets troubles, worries, race, creed, color. They just go to the circus and have a good time.”
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be held Feb. 6-9 at James Brown Arena.