The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 18, 2010

Smiles shine as circus performers visit children's hospital

DANVILLE -- It meant only one thing when people in red noses and goofy-looking pants roamed the halls of the Janet Weis Children's Hospital on Friday.

The circus was in town.

Sort of.

Although the circus is two weeks and 70 miles away, in Wilkes-Barre, at the Mohegan Sun Arena, dozens of children and parents scurried to find seats in the lobby of the hospital for the arrival of two clowns from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Mike Canaan, of New Hampshire, and Marykelly Rayel, of Bucks County, stopped by in full clown getup to treat the children to a once-in-a lifetime experience.

The clowns performed juggling acts and amazed the crowd with tricks for about an hour.

"This is the best part for me," Rayel said. "I love visiting the children and making them smile."

Circus performers from Ringling Bros. traveled the region over the past week entertaining, reading and handing out gifts to children in schools and hospitals.

"This is something we do all over," Rayel said. "Some of the kids can't get to the show, so we bring a bit of it to them."

Rayel and Canaan stunned the children while juggling and tossing bowling pins back and forth to each other.

"They are awesome," said 14 year-old Eddie Heim, of Auburn. "This is the first time I ever got to see clowns."

Other children agreed.

"This is so much fun and I am happy they came," said 10 year-old Josh Paul, of New York. "I'm having such a good time."

Canaan was energetic as he spoke to the crowd.

"I need everyone to clap along with Marykelly as I perform this highly skilled trick," Canaan yelled. "We are trained professionals."

Canaan purposely dropped the balls he was about to juggle, then picked them up and performed a juggling routine that had the children clapping and gazing in awe.

"This is so great," Canaan said. "I love coming to these places and giving these kids a special day."

Anne Dabroski, 12, of Sayre, had a different take on the clowns.

"They are amusing but very interesting as well," Dabroski said. "I like watching to see how they do what they do."

For Faith McClelland and her daughter Grace, 14, of Sayre, the day was one to remember.

"They were so much fun and I am glad they came here for the children,' McClelland said. "I am so happy Grace is having a good time."

The circus runs from Oct. 28 through Oct. 31. For more information visit

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