Michael and Karen Searle lead the management team for the Pinal County Fair and the Pinal Fairgrounds and Event Center. The Searles also own Snuffy’s Magical Clown Review and are professional clowns by trade. Oscar Perez/Casa Grande Dispatch
By MELISSA ST. AUDE
Friday, March 16, 2012
ELEVEN MILE CORNER, Although they are now leading the management team for the Pinal County Fair and the Pinal Fairgrounds and Event Center, Michael and Karen Searle still find time to clown around.
Owners of Snuffy’s Magical Clown Review, the Searles are professional clowns by trade.
But they have also been involved in the fair management and marketing business for years, working with several fairs throughout the area, and their involvement with the Pinal County Fair spans more than a decade.
The fair, which kicked off Wednesday, runs through Sunday.
In September, after the county turned managing and marketing of the fairgrounds over to Central Arizona Fair Association, a nonprofit organization, the Searles’ company, Fair Executives, was hired to run the 120-acre facility.
“We’ve done a lot of things in our careers, but we have never been so excited about a project as we are about this one,” Karen said.
For the Searles, the fairgrounds have special meaning. It is where the couple met, as performers in the 1990s, and it’s where they married in 2001.
Michael worked as a clown beginning in childhood alongside his father in the family’s traveling clown troupe, Snuffy’s Magical Clown Review. Through the late 1980s and 1990s, the troupe was a regular entertainment feature at the Pinal County Fair, where they performed stage shows and interactive magic tricks.
Although the troupe traveled around the country, taking their show to various fairs and events, it was at the Pinal County Fair where Michael fell in love.
Karen was also a regular performer at the Pinal County Fair in the late 1990s. The co-owner a traveling pig racing show, she too attended various fairs and events around the country.
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