SIOUX CITY | Sara Kreutz always tries to keep her arsenal of equipment close by.

Reaching into the back of her car, the Holstein, Iowa woman pulls out a plastic plate attached to a stick, a camera made of foam and comically oversized footwear.

"These shoes are meant for walking," Kreutz said, putting on her multicolored clown shoes. "However, they're not very good for driving."

A preschool and special education teacher, she has also been a clown-for-hire for more than 25 years.

"I play a character named Special K'z," Kreutz explained. "I've entertained at birthday parties, festivals, parades, you name it. If you need a clown, I'm your girl."

In addition, Kreutz is a member of the Sioux City Sillies Clown Alley 185, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Clowns of America International (COAI). So is David Chobar, a retired Morningside College adult education associate professor who goes by the clown name of Joyfull.

"I also go by the name of Dr. Bonehead," Chobar explained. "You see, Dr. Bonehead literally wears a hat that is shaped like a bone."

Chobar, Kreutz and six of their Sioux City Sillies colleagues will entertain at Clowns at the Museum, a free event set for 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday at the Sioux City Public Museum, 607 Fourth St.

The presentation is part of International Clown Week. A week-long celebration held the first week of August, the holiday began as National Clown Week when it received a Presidential Proclamation in 1971.

"For some reason, it seemed oddly appropriate that Richard Nixon was the president to sign Clown Week into law," Chobar noted with a laugh.

Describing himself as stressed-out student pursuing a doctoral degree at Kansas State University in the 1980s, Chobar was introduced to clowning after a female student suggested he give it a try.

"My friend knew I wasn't having much fun," he remembered. "As soon as I got in front of a mirror, put some makeup on, I was hooked."

Since then, Chobar has performed everywhere from children's parties to nursing homes.

"When in costume, I feel like I'm an entirely different person," the accomplished organist and puppeteer said. "For a time, David doesn't exist and it is Joyfull who is in control."

Kreutz nodded her head in agreement.

"Special K'z can say and do the things that Sara cannot," Kreutz, a musician and balloon animal artist, acknowledged. "The clown characters we create for ourselves are often an exaggeration of who we really are. It's who we are, only on steroids. It's very freeing."

Indeed, Chobar said clowns have been around in some form since the days of the royal court jester.

"Clowns allow us to laugh at ourselves and to take life less seriously," he said. "When I'm David, I may have a few aches and pains. As Joyfull, those aches and pains always go away."

According to Kreutz, people still find her side gig to be surprising.

"I'm sure they think I'm going through a midlife crisis or something," she said. "I've been doing this so long that people can let go of that theory."

In fact, Kreutz is proud whenever she gets to wear her frizzy yellow wig and bulbous red nose.

"I love making people laugh and seeing them smile," she said. "It's hard not to smile when you see a clown."

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Food and Lifestyles reporter

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