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Not Just Clowning Around
'Greatest Show on Earth' Is R&W's Largest Event Ever

Young circus patron profiles with a Ringling Bros. denizen.

The NIH Recreation and Welfare Association hosted more than 10,000 attendees on Mar. 24 at the premiere evening for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at downtown Washington's MCI Center. "This was our largest event ever," enthused Randy Schools, NIH R&W president. More than 1,000 patients from NIH's Clinical Center and Children's, Georgetown and Fairfax hospitals were guests at the show. Also, R&W provided tickets to several local and charitable organizations including Bethesda Cares, Washington Boys & Girls Clubs, St. Ann's Home, the Montgomery County department of health and human services and Greentree Shelter. The event raised more than $10,000 for NIH charities.

A few "ringleaders" at the circus include (from l) Jan Mayes, director of development at the Children's Inn; Randy Schools, R&W president; Kenneth Feld, chairman of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus; Dave Dabney, chairman of Back to Bethesda and community NIH advocate; clown Al Rios; and Maria Stagnitto, president of the Friends of the Clinical Center.

Photos: Ernie Branson

At left, it was "Katie Bar the Door" as kids mug for the camera, awaiting entrance to circus premiere night at the MCI Center.

At right, Karianne Johnsen (daughter of Kristin Johnsen, who works in the CC recreation therapy department) has a ball at the "greatest show on Earth," assisted by circus employees.

At left, an impromptu serenade is offered to the masses. Among familiar NIH faces attending was Clinical Center Deputy Director for Management and Operations Walter Jones (at right), who gathered his children for the event.

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