Smiley The Clown
Balboa Fun Zone's Official Clown
Is A Hit With Kids Of All Ages


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Smiley The Clown With
Five-Year-Old  Terah James

Fifty-one year old Eli Mena decided to give up his profession as a licensed physiotherapist  in Boston  and  become Smiley The Clown 15 years ago after his six year old son, his wife and his father were killed in an air crash. Smiley recalls of his son, "He was the love of my life."Performing for children's hospitals at first, today Smiley is in big demand, and he loves his work. Smiley words it this way, "Just imagine how many kids I can touch, not only the children, I touch the parents. I love them."

With his busy schedule, Smiley estimates he entertains 20,000 to 30,000 children a week. Smiley has been performing at Ports-O-Call for the last two and a half years and can always be found in the annual Christmas Parade. He also states that he had an opportunity to perform in London across the street from Buckingham Palace but decided to stay here. As for performing at the Balboa Fun Zone, Smiley says, " When I came here the management liked me and I started Memorial Day." Smiley points out, "I have five other clowns that work for me at other locations." On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays smiley performs at the Treasure Island Plaza in Las Vegas. On Thursdays Smiley flies to San Juan Puerto Rico where he has been performing on the beach for the Sheridan Hotel for a year and a half. Smiley is so popular in Puerto Rico that the Sheridan pays for all of his air and ground transportation and housing while he is there. Smiley says, "I own the second highest mountain there and I'm building a house.

When asked what he likes about Balboa, Smiley says, " You don't have the rowdiness or drugs,  It's safe. You don't have to worry about drug dealers or getting robbed. The people here are all friendly, they're civilized.

Smiley notes, the reason cannibals don't eat clowns is because they taste funny.

Smiley can be found on weekends at the Balboa Fun Zone. He can be reached at (213) 220-7623.