Gays of the Midway: A 9-foot-tall flamingo — and other stiltwalkers

Posted on 09 Oct 2012 at 1:55pm

Shawn Brown is the 9-foot flamingo

During the day, Shawn Brown is a giant living tree in the Greenhouse on the Midway at the State Fair of Texas. At night, he becomes a 9-foot pink flamingo in the State Fair parade.

Brown is one of four gay stilt walkers in the nightly Starlight parade at the fair. He’s the flamingo. His friend Joe is an octopus. Each of the four stilt walkers has his own character.

Brown said he loves his job. Kids run up to him, but adults love it, too.

“It’s hard to see a 9-foot-tall pink flamingo and not smile,” he said.

This is his second year at the fair. Three years ago, gay-owned Eclipse Entertainment in Arlington held a stilt camp he attended. He was taught by his friend Patrick Thompson, who also appears nightly in the fair parade.

Joe (the octopus) and his partner, Patric, join Brown and Thompson on stilts. But Brown is the only one of the four that works at the fair all day as well.

During the day, Brown is the tree

During the day, Brown can be found in the Greenhouse on the Midway every hour on the half hour from 11:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. As the giant living tree, he walks around the greenhouse for 20 minutes entertaining and surprising fairgoers.

Outside of his 24-day engagement at the fair, Brown works parties and events for Eclipse. But he uses his skill at another job as well. He mounts recessed speakers in ceilings in homes and small offices. Rather than using a ladder, he walks around the room on stilts.

“It’s exhausting, but I love it,” he said.

And what about all that fried fair food? Does he blow up like a balloon every October?

“I bring my own lunch,” he said. “A sandwich. Vegetables.”

More pictures are on his Facebook page. And he asked to make sure we mentioned that he’s single and 9 feet tall.

Got an LGBT-related State Fair story? Email it to Editor@DallasVoice.com to be featured on Instant Tea during this year’s fair.

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