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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/03/2022 (358 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Boasting an unbelievable 40-year career in the entertainment industry, Royal Manitoba Winter Fair icon Doodles the Clown is grateful to be back on stage doing what he does best — bringing joy to children and families.
Doodles, a.k.a. Shane Faberman, has been performing at the Royal Manitoba Winter Fair and Manitoba Summer Fair for almost 30 years. Now, he’s back at the Keystone Centre after two years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Doodles has forged strong friendships in the Wheat City and it has been a joy for him to watch fans he entertained in their youth now bring their young families to his shows.
“It’s such a thrill. When I walk around, people will come up to me, and I just want to do photos and have fun with everybody.”
Doodles described himself as an “unbelievable accidental clown.” He was a restaurant busboy when a friend inadvertently recruited him to clowning. He was immediately enamoured with the art of performing and knew he had found something he loved.
He considers himself lucky because he fell into a profession he adores.
“People do this for two reasons: they perform just for the money or they perform for the money and the love,” Doodles said. “I’ve been doing this for over 40 years professionally, I love what I do. I look forward to putting on the makeup. I look forward to making families smile.”
With a bulbous red nose and goofy painted smile, the persona of Doodles is totally opposite from Faberman’s personal life.
When he is out of makeup, he is more private, reserved and gentle.
“As the clown, I’m loud, crazy, obnoxious.”
To this day, he never takes any performance for granted and looks forward to being asked to return to different events each year.
Performing is a tough business that wears your body down. He spends about half the year travelling, staying an estimated 160 days in hotels before the pandemic.
“My summers are on the road, but I make friends … and they become lifetime friends.”
On a typical day, Doodles will wake up in the early morning. It takes about an hour to get ready, apply makeup and be in costumes for a show from beginning to end.
Doodles gives himself time to do a walkabout at the Keystone to recruit audiences to stop by his show. As he traverses the winding hallways, he is often greeted by fans shouting his signature catchphrase, “Unbelievable.”
He estimates he hands out at least 1,000 balloons each day during the Winter Fair.
Doodles has collected great memories at the Winter Fair over the years, including working with some of his childhood heroes: Al Simmons, Fred Penner and Sharon, Lois and Bram.
His career has taken him around the world where he has forged powerful friendships and connections. Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was in Egypt, Israel and Jordan on a hospital tour. The year before that, he toured Australia and spent time touring Thailand.
During the winter, he has been working at resorts in Jamaica for the last 20 years.
He praised the Winter Fair for fostering a great work environment that enhances the energy he brings to the stage. It is an unbelievable crew to collaborate with — while the faces have changed over the years, he loves how they have maintained a positive and welcoming environment each fair.
They bring a kinetic energy that fuels performers when they are on stage, Doodles said, and helps performers feel like rock stars.
“We just want to leave them with a good memory.”
Allison Curle has been coming to the Winter Fair since before she can remember — her favourite memories all involve Doodles. He was her favourite part of the show every year growing up and she has been coming to his shows for almost a decade.
“He’s seriously the highlight. I love coming here just for Doodles,” Curle exclaimed. “I grew up loving him and now everyone else that’s just young is getting to enjoy him, too. It warms my heart.”
She has always loved the clown and is glad to see him back at the Winter Fair.
She described his show as unbelievable and praised his ability to include volunteer audience members on stage.
“I really love being up there on stage with him and having fun memories every year.”
She has missed the Winter Fair and Doodles for the past two years, she and is eager to introduce the clown and his infectious energy to her two-and-a-half-year-old brother, Asher Eorys.
“It was my childhood, and now my baby brother gets to experience it. That just makes my day,” Curle said. “My favourite part was seeing Asher enjoy Doodles the Clown.”
Alexander Borland and her family journeyed from Portage la Prairie for the 2022 Winter Fair. On the list of must-sees for her young children was Doodles.
Borland visited the fair every spring break when she was a youth and is now restarting that tradition with her young family.
Thursday was her birthday, and the family celebrated the day with a trip to the fair and taking in a Doodles the Clown show.
It was especially exciting because clowns are becoming an increasingly rare sight to behold, so it offers a unique opportunity for her kids.
“Now that we’ve got young kids, we figured it’s time to start … to build fun family memories.”
» Twitter: @The_ChelseaKemp