The youngest vendor at the Cinco de Mayo Carnival at Fort Gordon on May 1 was 15-year-old Matthew Whittaker.
Matthew Whittaker makes a balloon sword for Jayden Turner, 4, while Jayden's mother watches. Jayden was celebrating his fourth birthday at Fort Gordons Cinco de Mayo carnival.
Photo by Lynn Davidson
Matthew, who lives in Grovetown and runs his own clowning business, stood on his stilts high above the crowd.
The chief clown of the Fabulous Fun Clown Co. was attracting a lot of attention selling balloons, face painting, and glow necklaces.
"This is awesome. It is a lot of fun - it's cool," Matthew said about the event.
Matthew's father, Sgt. 1st Class Mike Whittaker, said he and his wife home school Matthew and his two brothers. As part of their schooling, Whittaker teaches entrepreneurship and encourages his sons to turn their hobbies into a business.
"He's been a clown for 15 years," Matthew's father said, "but last year, he asked his mother to make him a clown suit, and we decided to turn it into a summer job and approach it like a business."
Matthew's father supplied the money to buy a canopy, tables, face paints and brushes, balloons and glow necklaces. Then, he and Matthew attended a clown convention in Covington, Ga., in March.
At the convention, Matthew said he "learned so many great things." Matthew's two friends, Christa and Charlotte Royal, are "sort of co-partners" in his business.
Matthew's clown name is BoBo, Christa is Flutterby and Charlotte is Bubbles.
"I juggle, make balloons, do stilts and clown around," Matthew said. "They do the face-painting, I don't do face-painting."
His first event was at the Grovetown Heritage Festival on April 24, and it turned out very successful, Matthew said. The Cinco de Mayo Carnival, his second event, was turning out even better. He said business was good during the day.
With the sun setting and the crowd sitting to watch the fireworks, Matthew pulled out his glow necklaces and began dancing around with them. He sold every one he had, along with all of his balloons, he said.
"By the end of the day, we were tired, but the glow necklaces gave us a real boost of energy," he said. "Then, I made a flower out of a balloon, and all the little girls really liked it and wanted one. It was great."
The Fort Gordon events coordinator asked the Fabulous Fun Clown Co. to return to all the Army Moral Welfare Recreation events.
"My Dad has been my inspiration for this whole thing," Matthew said. "My Dad's the backbone of what I've done. Now, I'm becoming the official clown of Fort Gordon. It's a good thing, because you can always use a laugh."
In addition to events, Matthew said he also clowns for birthday parties. For more information, call the Fabulous Fun Clown Co. at 210-1566.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.