Opinion: Send in the clown noses

One of the things I do when I’m not slaving over a keyboard at Coast Reporter headquarters is help the folks at Eastlink Community TV with their local government panel show, Talk to Your Local Government.

During our April 4 show, I asked Gibsons Mayor Bill Beamish about the future of Sea Cavalcade. He offered an answer along the lines of what council discussed at its April 2 meeting (“Mayor offers support for Sea Cavalcade,” Coast Reporter, April 5).

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He also said he hoped getting people talking about the issue would generate ideas for a celebration of some sort this summer and maybe encourage some new organizations to come forward, before offering an idea of his own.

“For a thousand dollars we can buy over 8,000 soft clown noses,” he said as the rest of us around the table tried to stifle our snickers. “Let’s just have a day where we give out clown noses and everybody walks around town laughing at each other. At least it will put a smile on everybody’s face – and then we can have fireworks.”

I didn’t want to spoil the moment by asking how serious he was, but I can’t get the idea out of my head. And the more I think about it, the more I like it. I think Mayor Beamish may just have hit on the genesis of something great.

It’s not Sea Cavalcade. You could argue it’s not the festival we deserve. But I’m going to come right out and say it might just be the festival we need.

We’re coming off two years that saw tense provincial and municipal elections and we’re staring into the barrel of a federal election that promises to be a social media trash fire.

It’s getting a bit nasty out there. It’s made some of us mad. It’s made some of us take ourselves too seriously. It’s made a lot of us a little bit depressed.

With the exception of the title character from the opera Pagliacci, who could possibly be mad, depressed or take themselves too seriously with a red foam nose on their face?

As well as distributing clown noses in a choice of colours at Town Hall, we could have the Travel Ambassadors hand them out on the ferry to make sure visitors are properly prepared.

Maybe a few businesses would be willing to offer a modest discount, say 10 per cent, to anyone who makes a purchase while wearing their red nose.

We could give charities the power to “ticket” anyone caught within town boundaries without a nose. A loonie fine would be appropriate.

And talk about the potential for “earned media.” I know my people – nothing will get Gibsons some positive ink in the big city media like the whole town walking around for a day in clown noses.

Parade? No problem. Have everyone gather at Gibsons Elementary and walk in grand procession, clown noses proudly displayed, to Winegarden Park to watch some fireworks.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: People who stay at home a-bed will think themselves accurs’d they were not there, and hold their lives cheap whilst any speaks that walked with us upon Gibsons Clown Nose Day.

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