In a normal year, Carol Ann Owens of Riverview would be participating in all sorts of seasonal events as her namesake Carey Ann the Clown.
Of course, 2020 is anything but normal thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought life in most parts of the world to a standstill, forced people to stay indoors and kept those who venture outdoors to stay at least six feet apart and possibly wear masks and gloves.
To add some normalcy to life and help keep spirits high in Riverview, Owens planned a series of events. The most recent, held Saturday, April 11, was the Easter “Drive By, Say Hi!” Parade at Patriot’s Park.
For 90 minutes, Carey Ann, members of her “clown caravan” and a host of other popular characters were in place at 10 separate stations as residents drove their vehicles turned from Sibley Road onto Veterans Memorial Parkway, drove past the Riverview Public Library and Community Center and were photographed with the Easter Bunny – all while remaining in the comfort of their cars, vans and trucks.
The bunny was serenaded by popular Easter songs such as “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” and “Bunny Hop” and gave “air hugs” to children instead of actual hugs, all while the kids waved and “air hugged” back. And then it was on to the next station and the next.
Besides the Easter Bunny, the cast of characters included clowns Carey Ann, Trixie, Blossom and Sunshine; Elsa, Anna and Olaf of “Frozen” fame; Pikachu and Troll Poppy – plus firefighters in a Riverview fire truck. Mayor Andrew Swift and wife Darlene were among those in the “Drive By” procession.
“About 150 families drove through and made our day – as we hope we made theirs,” said Owens, who is in her 35th year in entertainment and her 25th year as adventurous clown Carey Ann.
Earlier in the week, Owens made arrangements for “Community Capers with Carey Ann the Clown” – a further sign of how “COVID-19 has changed our entertainment.”
The “capers” included a “bear hunt,” “wacky window home visits” and “forced perspective photo fun.” All three events, as well as the Easter parade, were advertised on the social media platform Facebook.
Owens said she (as Carey Ann) and the Easter Bunny and Carey Ann visited nearly 200 family homes and senior care centers in the community. They high-fived children and seniors, often through front windows and glass doors.
“This is something I wanted to do,” Owens said. “I wanted to see these kids. You can’t have Easter without the Easter Bunny.”
For more information about Carey Ann’s Clown Caravan, visit the group’s Facebook page.