Under a face full of white paint accompanied by big blue eyebrows and a giant red pair of smiling lips rests the huge heart of Ed Barrier — a man who has a love for children.
Barrier, also known as Happy Slappy the Clown, has been clowning around for a cause for 44 years. Originally from Washington and recently from Olney, Barrier just moved to Graham almost two months ago.
He began his clown journey more than four decades ago to raise funds for a Boy Scout troop for the mentally challenged.
“I just decided to do something for (them) for Christmas,” he said. “I went to this store and bought right before Christmas, story books and gag (items) and did a show for them.”
He has done shows for several places in Midland, including the high school and the girls ranch, along with hospitals in the DFW area, with proceeds benefitting research and cures for children's cancer, muscular dystrophy and juvenile diabetes. Additionally, Barrier has put on fundraising performances for children needing operations. He has trained in clowning in Dallas at Clown Alley and has learned a few tricks along the way, he said.
Barrier can make a variety of animal balloons, has a million jokes to tell and loves to do magic tricks.
He also performs at birthday parties and usually starts a birthday show by singing “Old Mac Donald” and making the grandparents or parents make the barn yard animal noises.
“I also have them do jumping jacks, for them to stay in shape a little bit,” Barrier said as he fashioned the body of a bumble bee from a balloon.
Barrier donates half of the birthday show proceeds specifically to the National Children's Cancer Society for the last four months.
The NCCS is dedicated to improving the quality of life for families facing childhood cancer and offers children and their families the strength, assistance and financial support they need to cope with their disease.
Barrier will perform Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4, at Graham Trade Days in conjunction with a performance from Jackie Bibby, the “Texas Snake Man,” Barrier will make snake hats and again put smiles on children's faces.
Read the complete story in Sunday's Graham Leader.