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Sunday, May 2, 2010

PATRICK TRAYLOR/JOURNAL STAR
Marishka (Below), 11, and Cathalina, 14, Bloom of Lakeland, Fla. perform hanging from ropes during the Picadilly Circus on Saturday afternoon at the Expo Gardens in Peoria.
The Picadilly Circus performed on Saturday afternoon at the Expo Gardens in Peoria.
.....Circus brings smiles and delight to young and old alike
Last update May 01, 2010 @ 09:53 PM
PEORIA — Exotic animals, agile acrobats, tempting treats, crazy comedic clowns and featured feline feats: all expected attractions when the circus comes to town.
Saturday's experience was no exception, to the delight of children of all ages, as Piccadilly Circus took over Exposition Gardens for three performances.
"Look at that! Whoaaaa!" Becky Miller, 44, of Peoria shouted to her children, who were sitting next to her in the stands, watching as two motorcyclists gunned their engines, up, down and upside-down in a moving steel cage.
Miller's children, Makiaha, 4, and Brooklyn, 2, stared, wide-eyed and openmouthed, as the act continued. Their small hands clapped enthusiastically as they caught the excitement of the crowd, and their mom in particular.
Miller's niece, Terris Miller Jones, 13, a seventh grader at Rolling Acres Edison Junior Academy, caught the attention of a passing vendor and bought pink cotton candy to share with her cousins.
But, candy held no appeal for Brooklyn, who couldn't take her eyes off the act long enough to eat.
"She normally loves cotton candy," Miller said. "I guess the circus is much more interesting to her."
Danny and Kathy Clauson, of Glasford, brought their grandson, Bruce, 4, to the arena at Expo Gardens.
Though Bruce was getting a bit tired halfway through the clown act, Kathy Clauson was intent on the child enjoying the entire experience.
"No, we're staying for the entire show," she said, forcefully, when Bruce asked if they could "go home yet."
Bruce didn't seem to mind a few minutes later as he laughed and clapped for another act.
Kathy Clauson hadn't been to the circus in about 30 years, since she brought her daughter to one in Phoenix, Ariz. "I love the circus," she said.
Danny Clauson enjoyed going to a circus in Farmington when he was a child, a year or two older than Bruce. "It's been a long time since then, but I still remember they had a big elephant and it was a lot of fun - a lot like this one," he said.
Watching cat tricks was a highlight for the Rynearson family of Glasford. Five-year-old Ella smiled and clapped as a domestic Siamese cat jumped through metal hoops for its clown trainer.
"This is great, it's not as dangerous as watching the big cat tricks," said Joy Rynearson, Ella's grandmother.
For brothers, Evan and Ethan Yaste, students at Whittier Primary School, in Peoria, the best part of spending the day at the circus - other than eating popcorn and nachos - was watching a kangaroo boxing act.
"This is my second time to go to the circus," Ethan, 9, said. "But, this one is for sure the best 'cause they have kangaroo boxing."
Sue Thomas, the boys' grandmother, brought them to the circus because she thought it would be fun for the kids. "But, I'm having fun, too," she said, adding she's thinking about learning to ride a motorcycle after watching that portion of the event.
"Wow, I could do that," Evan, 7, said as he watched male acrobats perform stunts on metal poles. "Well, except that," he added, as one of the performers hung upside down. "No, not that."
Ruth Longoria Kingsland can be reached at 686-3196 or rlongoria@pjstar.com

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