MEXICO CITY (AP) — Clowning is serious business.

More than 500 clowns from Latin America are in Mexico's capital to enter competitions, exchange experiences and hold workshops to brush up on their clown techniques and learn new tricks.

Wearing oversize shoes, colorful wigs and red noses, the clowns lined up to register on the first day of the 17th International Clown Convention at a theater in Mexico City.

As they stood there, organizers asked that the clowns raise their "official clown rulebook" since not having it could mean they couldn't register. Many showed their small booklets but others could only raise an imaginary one while making a sad face.

During the four-day event, the clowns competed in best makeup, improvisation, best group show, juggling and, of course, best balloon shaping. The event's main sponsor was a balloon manufacturer.

Tomas Morales, whose stage name is Payaso Llantom, said the goal of the convention is to professionalize clowns in Latin America and highlight the need for a School of Clown Arts in Mexico.

On the third day of the convention, the clowns headed to a park for a group photo and a 15-minute laugh-a-thon against violence in Mexico. They sought a world laugh record but no Guinness official was seen present and they fell short of 15 minutes anyway.

But the clowns sure seemed to have fun trying.

 

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