THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS! AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!

CIRCUS NOW OPEN!

2014 Convention

SAVE THE DATES

SAVE THE DATES

Friday, November 13, 2009

BEN WILLIAMS MEMORIAL SERVICE (FROM MIKE NAUGHTON)

There has been some confusion regarding the date and hours of Ben Williams upcoming service at the Sarasota Showfolks Club.
Doors at 4:00 PM Saturday Nov. 14.Bar opens at 4:01 PM (two attendants have been engaged).Cook House flag goes up at 5:00 PM.At 6:00 PM
Col. John Herriott will begin with comments and introductions.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

UNIVERSOUL CIRCUS IN PHILLY (Philadelphia Inquirer)

UniverSoul Circus brings 12 acts with 75 performers from 11 countries, plus elephants, tigers, and dogs, to Fairmount Park near the Mann Center through Nov. 15. The audience is encouraged to participate.


Circus pitches its tent in park
UniverSoul showcases black performers in two high-energy hours.
By Jeff Davidson
Inquirer Staff Writer
She has a big name and a big job: Auntie Maggie Shirley Lee Mae Frances Upshaw Jenkins is taking the reins of this year's UniverSoul Circus as it brings "The World in One Ring" to Philadelphia.
Auntie is leading the circus in its return to Fairmount Park through Nov. 15 with contortionists, motorcycle daredevils, Caribbean limbo dancers, African elephants and more under one tent.
The circus was founded by Cedric Walker in 1994 to showcase black performers other than just singers and dancers. It started in the Atlanta Fulton County Stadium parking lot, and although Walker lost money on the event, he persisted in his vision.
"People from children and teenagers to parents and grandparents and great-grandparents have a great time," said Ben Johnson, the circus' director of operations. "It is one of very few places where the entire family can go and . . . has a good time."
During this year's show, Auntie, portrayed by comedian Patrice Lovely, and her nephew Lucky, played by Daniel Malatsi, invite the audience to attend the circus with them.
"The World in One Ring" then offers a roughly two-hour, high-energy and hip-hop-inspired show that is touring 30 cities. There are 12 acts with 75 performers from 11 countries plus elephants, tigers and dogs. The audience is encouraged to participate, which could lead to dancing on stage or joining in the main events.
As the circus marks its 16th year, Johnson says that the producers work to keep their ideas fresh.
"We have some new acts that haven't been seen before in Philadelphia as well as a lot of the favorite elements from years past like a lot of interaction with the audience," Johnson said. "We didn't lose any of the high energy or audience interaction over the years."
UniverSoul also focuses on supporting local causes and organizations. A portion of the proceeds from Sunday's shows will be donated to the local chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, called Sisters for the Cure, which raises money for the fight against breast cancer.
UniverSoul also donated tickets to local churches and groups, including the Philadelphia School District.
UniverSoul Circus, now through Nov. 15 at Fairmount Park near the Mann Center for the Performing Arts, 5201 Parkside Ave. Admission: $12, $10 for groups of 20 or more for weekday morning shows; $16.50-$28 for adults and $15-$26 for children for weekend and evening shows. Tickets can be purchased through www.ticketmaster.com and group tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-316-7439. For more information, go to www.universoulcircus.com.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


WHAT AN ENTRANCE (FROM CASEY GIBBS VIA KARI JOHNSON)

WHAT AN ENTRANCE!
People at Palisades Park watch as groom Ramit Varma takes a ride on Tai the elephant down Ocean Avenue on his way to his wedding on Saturday, Nov. 7.
(Santa Monica, CA Daily Press)

RINGLING ELEPHANT CAR

Elephants arrive in Toledo.
11/09/09
(Toledo Blade)

RINGLING ELEPHANT WALK (TOLEDO,11/09/09) FROM HART SMITH

Toledo Blade

Article published November 10, 2009

Pachyderms on parade in downtown ToledoAdults and children line Jefferson Avenue to watch six Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey elephants walk from the Toledo Amtrak station to the Lucas County Arena.

video

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

FROM PAUL INGRASSIA


OABA LAUNCHES SECOND
DECADE ON BEHALF OF
CIRCUS ANIMALS

By Paul R. Ingrassia

Its hard to believe that more than ten years have passed as I and others have campaigned on behalf of the use of exotic performing animals in zoos, circuses and other exhibitions. We have won a few, and sadly, lost some. But the bottom line is that elephants, cats, simians, reptiles, bears and some hoofed exotics can still be found in many venues, giving patrons the thrills and entertainment they paid to see. This happy fact has been made possible by the spirit and generosity of the OUTDOOR AMUSEMENT BUSINESS ASSOCIATION, beginning ten years ago, when it loaned the strength of its resources and good will to circuses, petting zoos, animal exhibits, and other related events.
The organization was prompted to lend a hand by two crossover members of the OABA Board who were able to convince the mostly carnival owner board that the strength of one business could very well serve the needs of the other. Thus, Bob Commerford representing his family’s traveling petting zoos, consisting of animals rides, replicated old time parade units drawn by one of his many Shetland pony hitches and a variety of exotic animals, got involved. Joining him was Wayne McCary, President and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition, one of America’s largest and most significant fairs, the Big E, who now Chairs the OABA. McCary and Commerford, good friends and soul mates in the rights of shows to use exotic, performing animals, assembled a base of financial support from showmen, principally members of the Circus Producers Association and some key circuses. Kristin Parra, daughter of Barbara Byrd has now joined the OABA’s board, when Bob stepped down, after serving for ten years. They formed a Circus Committee and retained two former Ringling executives, attorney Joan Galvin, who is our USDA consultant and Rodney Huey, who handles public relations and writes for the OABA’s ShowTime magazine.
Fund raising now became a matter of contributions of all sizes from current and past show people: Barbara Byrd, John Cuneo, John Pugh, Kay Rosaire, Monica Welde and many others. Circus Fans in large numbers contributed money and collectibles for raffles and auctions. Literally every fan event in the country featured an OABA Performing Circus Animal Fund event. These efforts were lead, and often conducted, by David Orr of Pennsylvania, “a circus fan on Steroids” also serving on the OABA’s Circus Committee. Orr at one point garnered over five thousand pro circus animal signatures and personally presented them in Washington to a member of the United States House of Representatives. Annual conventions of fan groups often present large checks to this OABA fund. The Big E with the help of its many vendors annually contributes several thousand dollars to the fund.
I joined the effort at Bob Commerford’s request about six years ago and attempted to structure the fund raising and organize the appeal. With the help of Milwaukee circus fan Duke Shumow, we have produced a series of circus animal lapel pins and are being sold by a team of agents, which Orr recruited. Assisting in getting the message to buy pins to help the cause out to the public, I appealed to all circus theme clubs, tents and periodicals and was successful in having our message reach nearly ten thousand circus friends. The pins sold well and prompted other donations.
Our new pin this year, a Zebra, has already sold over four hundred pins in only five months. With the money we have been able to afford good legal advice, knowledgeable animal and public relations counsel, and other components required in constructing a logical public response to the extremist’s opposition.
This year brings a new component as we align ourselves with circus interests throughout the entire world, with the 2008 formation of the International circus organization, The Federation Mondiale du Cirque.
Won’t you join us in this unique and worthy cause. To contribute to the Circus Fund, make your check payable to: “OABA Circus Fund” and send to OABA at 1035 S. Semoran Blvd, Suite 1045A, Winter Park, Florida 32792.

CAR HITS ELEPHANT (KFOR TV)


video

FAMILY FUN CIRCUS





























TO VISIT OUR PAST POSTS--SCROLL DOWN THE SIDE BAR. ALSO LINKS ARE FURTHER DOWN