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JoJo the Clown to lead her last Fourth of July Parade

SUGAR GROVE – Sugar Grove resident Karen McCannon, known as JoJo the Clown, decided this year will mark her last time leading the Fourth of July Parade after having the parade for 15 years in Sugar Grove.

McCannon’s last parade will take place at 1 p.m. July 4.

Lineup for the parade will begin at 12:30 p.m. at John Shields Elementary School. Children and adults are welcome to participate.

“I will be 75 years old this year, and I think it’s time for me to retire,” McCannon said. “I will miss all the smiles on the kids’ faces. The kids make it fun.”

McCannon’s granddaughters, Alyssa McCannon and Sammie McCannon, were her inspiration in 2003 to start a parade. Despite health challenges she faced, McCannon moved forward with making her granddaughters’ wish a reality.

“My granddaughters wanted to be in a parade, and there was no parade in Sugar Grove,” McCannon said. “I was already committed so I started the parade.”

Another goal of McCannon’s was also achieved in 2003 when she became known as JoJo the clown.

“My husband, Michael, passed away in 2002,” McCannon said. “I knew I had to do something I was passionate about. I’ve always been passionate about kids. They are a marvelous wonder. I knew I wanted to become a clown. I went through Mary Hearts Clown School. I got my nose in April in 2003.”

There were a couple of years McCannon wasn’t able to lead the parade due to recovering from health issues. Her granddaughters led the parade in 2009, and in 2011, her clown friends, Stitches, Mumbos and Calico Rose, led the parade.

McCannon collected many great memories throughout the years.

“One year, we had two little girls with a wagon,” McCannon said. “They had a cage over their wagon with their cats inside. They told me they were lions going to the zoo.”

Parents love seeing their kids in the parade, McCannon said.

“A father came up to me one year and said, ‘JoJo, are you responsible for the parade?’” McCannon said. “I told him ‘yes,’ and he said, ‘I want to thank you for giving my daughter the opportunity to be in the parade.”

Drums were featured one year in the parade.

“Sammie, my granddaughter, and her friend Landon were drummers,” McCannon said. “They had a drumming battle one year.”

McCannon hopes the parade will continue even if she’s not leading it.

“I hope someone does take over the parade,” McCannon said. “Maybe, Clown Victoria, my golf cart will find a chauffeur.”