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Shriners bring clown competition to Mall of America

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It was a circus-like atmosphere at the Mall of America Monday thanks to the International Shrine Clown Competition.

The Pioneer Press says the competition drew clowns from all over the U.S., including places like Omaha, Nebraska; Birmingham, Alabama; St. Louis, Missouri, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The Star Tribune, which has video from the competition, says clowns were judged in different categories, including makeup, balloons, skits and their skill at performing in parades.

The Shrine Clown Competition is part of the 2014 Imperial Session of the Shiners, an international gathering of the organization that's being held at the Minneapolis Convention Center through Thursday.

WCCO says the convention has attracted about 15,000 visitors to Minneapolis. Apart from the clown competition, other events for the public include the Shriners' Imperial Parade along Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. The parade is set to start at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and is expected to last about two hours.

Last weekend, Shriners Hospital for Children held their "Walk for Love" event in Minneapolis, which featured former Shiners patient and actor RJ Mitte, who played Walter "Flynn" White in the Emmy-winning TV series "Breaking Bad."

Mitte, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age 3, shared his story with ABC 6 on Saturday about how Shriners helped him with his treatment.

“I guarantee you I wouldn’t be who I am today or have the abilities that I have today without Shriners,” Mitte told the station.

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