Coulrophobics, avert your peepers now. A pratfall of clowns descends on east London this Sunday, for the 69th Annual Clowns Service.
One of the oddest events on the London calendar witnesses scores of professional clowns — some from as far afield as Japan — attend a service in honour of Joseph Grimaldi — 'father of modern clownhood.' The venue for this year's event has moved down the road to All Saints Church in Livermere Road in Haggerston, while its sister place of worship, Holy Trinity (aka the Clowns' Church), undergoes building works.
Londonist has attended the service the past couple of years, and can advise you to prepare for a madcap procession down the nave, hymns sung with unruly verve, a sermon involving balloon animals, and a teary farewell to those clowns no longer with us. The wacky congregation usually puts on a show for the kids afterwards. This is easily the most exciting church service you'll go to — just don't turn up with a hangover, otherwise the whole thing is a bit unnerving.
The 69th Annual Clowns Service takes place at All Saints Church on 1 February at 3pm. We recommend turning up half an hour early to secure a seat. It's free to attend.