Toby's First Clown School
  • Toby started teaching the Art of Clowning in 1991, at the Florida Hospital, Lake Placid.

  • The number of clowns increased Tobyís Clown Alley formed, chartered with Clowns of America International #296

  • Clown students come from all over the United States, and Canada to learn to become a clown

  The year was 1980; the Lake Placid Hospital was just a clinic, with high hopes of becoming a full-fledged hospital, when Toby, Keith Stokes, entered the picture.  In past years, Toby practiced the art of clowning as a Shrine Clown, where he went into the hospitals to entertain the patients, and the hospital staff.  Things were about to change in Lake Placid.  In 1982, the clinic became the full-fledged hospital it had hoped to become, and now Tobyís brand of Clown Medicine began to take hold.  The demand was great, and other hospitals, Walker Memorial, Wauchula Hospital, Highlands Regional, and the Lake Placid Health Care Center requested his special talent.  Now what was he going to do?  Toby was just coming off some health issues of his own, and could not keep up with the demand, and there were no other clowns in Lake Placid or Highlands County.  In 1991, Toby decided he needed to teach the art of clowning.  He went to Florida Hospital with his plans, and they gave him permission to use one of their rooms to teach his first class of six eager students.    Soon Walker Hospital and Wauchula Hospital requested he teach in their facilities also. 

        Here we depict Tobyís first clown school.  Can you imagine the pride Toby felt when these six new clowns graduated, and went out into the community to spread smiles, love, and laughter?  Could you imagine if Toby could have realized, as he watched the first class graduate, that his clown school would grow rapidly, and that today, in 2010, over 1,500 clowns, ages 8 to 96, from all over the US, and Canada, would graduate from his clown school?   As more graduates came on the scene, Toby started Tobyís Clown Alley, chartered with Clowns of America International #296.  

       Another one of Tobyís dreams came true in 2010, when this building became The American Clown Museum, the only known one in the USA.  Isnít it amazing what just one dedicated man, filled with enthusiasm and boundless energy, can do to make a positive affect in a community, and far beyond?

Artist Location Size Sponsor Note Audio
Keith Goodson Tobyís Clown Museum East Wall, Interlake Blvd
(around Circle)
60 ft wide x 15 ft high Florida Hospital Lake Placid Find the clown face & the word HI
Completed May 2010
N/A

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