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Friday, October 22, 2010

Elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey eat lunch
Elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey eat lunch on McLevy Green in downtown Bridgeport, Conn. Wednesday, Oct. 20th, 2010. The circus opens at the Arena at Harbor Yard on Thursday. Photo: John Burgeson / Connecticut Post

BRIDGEPORT -- To the delight of about 100 squealing schoolchildren and dozens of astonished office workers, nine elephants from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus lumbered onto McLevy Green at noon Wednesday to have lunch.
The pachyderms will be performing at the Ringling Bros. circus that will be at the Arena at Harbor Yard for a four-night run beginning Thursday.
About 11:45 a.m., they made their way from the arena, about four blocks away, to McLevy Green, where they were no doubt happy to see nine tables piled high with lettuce, cabbage, loaves of bread, bananas and other healthy fare. In spite of the volume of food, it only took them a few minutes to "clean their plates."
The children, ranging in age from toddlers to teenagers, were so excited that at one point, the circus roustabouts had to signal them to quiet down so as not to excite the 5,000-pound beasts
"It's not something that you see every day," said Perri Mucci, who works downtown at People's United Bank. "We wanted to have lunch with the elephants."
Roosevelt School, about six blocks away, was represented by a number of pupils, including a half-dozen eighth graders, who said that their visit had more to do with scholarship, not enjoyment. They'll have to write a paper about the big-eared herd, according to their English teacher, Carolyn Henderson.
"We're going to write about what they eat, how they perform, what cities they visit, everything," said, Jocelynn Bendolph.
"You can tell where they're from by looking at their ears," said Timnashia Burl.
The elephants dined in the shadow of McLevy Hall, Bridgeport's first city hall where President Abraham Lincoln, then a candidate, spoke on March 10, 1860.
Mayor Bill Finch was disappointed because he only caught the tail end of the spectacle. He was delayed because he was meeting with the editorial board of the Connecticut Post.
"I guess they had to eat and run," he said. "But I'll be at the circus -- I understand it'll be a great show."

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