Justin Rippey, 4, a pre-kindergartner, helps Dave prepare to pull a rabbit out of his hat at a Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey performance at Bowley Elementary School, Tuesday.

FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Tuesday was a day for clowning around and good laughs as Dave and Cherie, the ambassadors of laughter from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus visited Fort Bragg. The two performed for Soldiers in the Warrior Transition Battalion as well as for students at Bowley and Murray elementary schools to spread cheer and the word that the circus is coming to town.

The visit was part of the free community program Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey provides to inspire joy in adults and children, while also sharing the importance of reading and science.

During their show at the schools, the clowns read a story to the children and performed a few magic tricks. The teachers and the students filled the auditorium with laughter and cheers as Dave and Cherie juggled, frolicked and made a rabbit come out of a hat while telling the audience that blowing your nose is "snot funny."

At one point, Jamari Wilson, 4, a pre-kindergarten student at Bowley, fell over from laughing so hard. He said that he can't wait to go see the circus.

"I want to see them again because that was so cool," said Wilson.

The children seemed to like the juggling the best. Bailey Bowen, 5, a Bowley kindergartner, got to stand between the clowns as they juggled around her. She said she wasn't scared and that the experience was really neat.

The WTB Soldiers used bigger words, but echoed the children's sentiments and seemed to enjoy themselves just as much. Dave and Cherie juggled for the grown-ups too and performed a few card tricks.

Cherie said that she visits a lot of places in the course of her duties, but it is always a pleasure to perform for Soldiers and their Family members.

"It's great to see everyone so excited and we're really excited, too," said the traveling clown. "It's a pleasure and an honor to be among these Soldiers who are risking their lives for us and their Families."

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey show "Illuscination" will be at the Fayetteville Crown Coliseum, Feb. 25 to 28. Tickets are available from the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Tickets and Tours Office in the AAFES mini mall. For ticket prices or more information, visit the Ticket and Tours Web site at or call 396-TRIP (8747).

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16