On this site you will find pictures and descriptions of Cotton's performance venues.
For fees and availability, please contact Cotton via email anytime by clicking here.
Can Cotton Fully Entertain the Kids at Your Party? A picture is worth a thousand words...
"...Just wanted to thank you again so very much for yesterday! I’ve gotten nothing but glorious reports as to how much fun the kids had. The best report though was from (birthday girl, name withheld) who, when going to bed last night, asked “Can Cotton come over and play with me and (her older brother, name withheld) soon?” Doesn’t get better than this!
Thanks again and take care!
L. G., Durham, NC--February, 2015
Another Satisfied Customer!
Undefeated since 2009, Cotton is the area's FAVORITEST!
You were absolutely wonderful! You are so talented and the children were so delighted with their face paintings. I'm so glad that we had a lot of children... Now that we know that there should be lots of children at such events, I agree that it would be best to have 2 face painters. It is very good to know that you have someone who can work with you.
Again, thank you so much for being the best ever!! It was a pleasure having you at our first [Country Club Event!]
Cotton entertains several ages simultaneously!
Parachute party fun!
I wanted to thank you for Saturday. You did such a great job with the kids. Everyone was impressed by your work, they all loved the fact that you perform different forms of entertainment for the kids. You really understand that one size does not fit all, because at the end of the day you kind of catered to all the children's needs. If a child doesn't like magic,they might like the sing along songs, if that doesn't work they might like the face painting or the balloon art or even your cute clown outfit lol. Thanks for understanding that, and that's what makes you uniquely different from other entertainers. I'll definitely refer you to everyone I know who has kids. You are my number one entertainer and I look forward to working with you in the future.
From a very greatful and satisfied client, S. (Raleigh)
Mrs. Claus and Storytime at Kidz in a Minute Drop in Childcare.
Most people think “clown” and picture a red, squeaky nose, white face paint and maybe some curly red hair. Oversized feet and squirting flowers are, of course, standard.
But Tricia Cotton Dean, aka Cotton the Clown, defies expectations. In clown guise, she has pink, straight hair, perhaps a colorful frock and a large bow in her hair, but her face is her own, unblemished by white powder or a red, bulbous nose.
She used to dress like your more traditional clowns, but gradually found that it could be off-putting for some people.“I found that I would encounter anxiety not only from children but from some very seasoned adults,” she said.
Clown anxiety has become something of a running joke in today’s culture, but for those who make their livelihood dressing as modern day jesters, it can be serious business.
Cotton the Clown draws a crowd at a local Drop-In Child Care in Raleigh.
“I think you see a lot more stranger anxiety now than you used to,” Dean said. “I just like to not deal with the fear factor.”
Dean is a Raleigh gal, born and bred. She left for a little while to experience the big city life of the Washington, D.C., area but eventually found her way back to her native land. She never set out to be a clown, but after she and her husband separated in 1991, she knew she needed to do something.
She is a graduate of the UNC School of the Arts and has some mean artistic and performance skills, but she had never tried to turn those skills into a career.
"I've always been incredibly thankful for the talent I have and the intelligence I have," she said. "But I never learned to push it further than I had to, because I never had to."
But the separation forced the former stay-at-home mom to find a path of her own.
It all started when somebody who knew of her artistic proclivities asked her to do some face painting at a party. She went and noticed many of the other face painters were clowns. An idea was born.
“I did not really care to do any kind of clown stuff, but I had to do that,” she said. “It gave people something to identify with. If you said child entertainer, it was kind of too vague.”
Her clown career took off from there. Dean is based in North Hills but performs all over the city, including large swaths of North Raleigh. “I don’t pass hardly three blocks without seeing somewhere that I’ve performed at one time or another,” she said.
Indeed, she recalls a point when she was making the performance rounds at nine bookstores and coffee shops each week; and her popularity just grew.
“All of them were just packed. It just created an incredible notoriety for what I was doing,” she said. “I didn’t have enough time or I would have gone to other places, too. I couldn’t go anywhere without being recognized.”
She was so well-liked that businesspeople would often ask her to incorporate their businesses into the songs she performed. “One guy was detailing my car out in the parking lot while I was singing, just so I would mention his service to everyone there.”
Helping people on the inside
Songs are a big part of her business. She plays guitar and likes to have the kids come up and sing along. Face painting, too, is a mainstay. And sometimes, singing telegrams.
“I even had a judge hire me to break up courtroom proceedings,” she said. “I got to ride up on the sheriff’s elevator and everything. That’s like the ultimate in power, to break up court proceedings.”
And though she changed her costume to assuage some of the public’s clown fears, Dean has phobias of her own: balloons.
“If I had a party where we decorated with balloons, I would put them in the backyard and hope they’d pop because I couldn’t pop them myself.”
Thankfully, she worked through her fear and is now a competent creator of balloon animals.
As a life-long Raleigh resident, Cotton appreciates the growth of the city, though she thinks that the modern sprawl has led to some depersonalization. She sees her job as Cotton the Clown to bring that personal touch back into people’s lives.
“This is about helping people on the inside,” she said. “Helping people see the humor in things and have a good time.”
And knowing how things are in the world, who doesn’t need an extra helping of humor now and again?
Alex Granados writes about people, places and traditions in North Raleigh and beyond.
"Cotton,Thanks for encouraging me [at your show yesterday] to put aside my agenda, and do what was more important...You are such a dear person...I met someone tonight who I've seen at your shows before but have never officially met. We talked about how wonderful you are, and what a blessing your shows are. She and I had an immediate common bond..."
~E.F. Raleigh, NC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cotton the Clown Receives 2015 Best Businesses of Raleigh Award
Raleigh Award Program Honors the Achievement Raleigh, November 25, 2015 --
Cotton the Clown has been selected for the 2015 Best Businesses of Raleigh Award in the Clowns category by the Best Businesses of Raleigh Award Program. Each year, the Best Businesses of Raleigh Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community.
These exceptional companies help make the Raleigh area a great place to live, work and play. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 Best Businesses of Raleigh Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Best Businesses of Raleigh Award Program and data provided by third parties. About the Best Businesses of Raleigh Award Program
The Best Businesses of Raleigh Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Raleigh area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value. The Best Businesses of Raleigh Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.