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Guppo the Clown.

Statue of Guppo the Clown

Field review by the editors.

Wenatchee, Washington

It's not every town whose civic heroes include a circus clown. And of those towns that do, perhaps only Wenatchee had the foresight to erect a bronze statue of its clown, Paul K. Pugh, a.k.a. "Guppo."

Paul, in normal life, was once the principal of Wenatchee's junior high school. But for even longer he's been Guppo, founder of the Wenatchee Youth Circus, which began as an after-school tumbling team that's grown into "The Biggest Little Circus in the World."

In 2003, the Golden Anniversary of the Circus, a three-foot-tall statue of Guppo sculpted by Kevin Pettelle was unveiled outside the Wenatchee YMCA. Paul, now in his eighties, still performs as Guppo, and the statue shows him as he's looked for the past 60 years: baggy pants, giant shoes to contain his clown feet, plaid coat held together by a comically large safety pin, and a giant flower in his lapel whose real-life counterpart almost certainly squirts water.

The plaque accompanying the statue praises Guppo for giving the youth of Wenatchee "the opportunity to grow in self esteem, as well as obtaining team building and responsibility skills." Guppo sounds as if he was a combination personal trainer and Life Coach ahead of his time. Maybe if more of them dressed like clowns, they'd get statues in their hometowns too.

Statue of Guppo the Clown

101 S. Chelan Ave., Wenatchee, WA
SE corner of Chelan and Orondo Aves, along the sidewalk.
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