EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) The Warrick County Klowns usually paint faces during the fall festival, but they couldn’t this year because of COVID.

The face painting stand they’ve had for years has been replaced with a souvenir stand, where people can get things from putty to light up swords. While the Klowns are back this year, it still feels like something’s missing to them.

“We always paint faces down here. That’s always been our hallmark,'” said Jim “Sunny Jim” Shekell of the Warrick Co. Klowns. But because of the pandemic, they decided not to have their hallmark attraction this year.

“Without it, it’s missing something down here,” said Rex “Pokey” Goodman of the Warrick Co. Klowns.

“It’s not nearly as much fun. The kids don’t get nearly the enjoyment out of it,” adds Shekell. Members say the face painting brings in four to five thousand dollars each fall festival, money that goes to Hadi Shrine. But Shekell says they’ll be happy to break even this year.

“This was, strictly, ‘Let’s find something to do’ because we’ve already paid our rent. We’re already here. We want to be here. We’re going to be with the kids and we wanted to find something to do,” he said.

“We’re going to be happy if we break even for the novelty stuff, we wanted to do something out here and still have the kids and stuff,” adds Goodman.

Group members say things have been going O.K. so far this week, with some days better than others. But they are also happy to be back putting smiles back on kids faces after the festival was canceled last year.

“We always get a smile, get a handshake, give out a sticker. If we’re lucky, mom and dad will want something for a souvenir,” Shekell says.

The Warrick County Klowns add they are unsure whether face painting will be back next year. That will depend on if the pandemic’s gone away.

(This story was originally published on October 8, 2021)