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

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

http://www.westerncarolinastatefair.com

OPENING NIGHT OF GEORGIA-CAROLINA FAIR, AGUSTA


James E Strates Shows on the midway

Date are October 15 thru 24












SINCE 1947 AT THE SOUTH CAROLINA STATE FAIR

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rain slows inspections for fair rides
by Josh Shaffer - Staff writer RALEIGH --
Despite a rainy beginning, officials at the N.C. State Fair pledged to have at least 100 rides operating by the time the gates open at 3 p.m. today.
Wet weather has delayed some final inspections, but skies are expected to clear by the afternoon and nearly all fair rides should be running.
"We want everyone who comes to the fair to have a safe time as well as a good time," state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. "I have a granddaughter who is 4 years old who will be riding these rides, and I feel safe with her out here knowing (the inspectors) have been there."
As of 10:30 p.m., 82 fair rides had been given final clearance. Some issues with computers and decking on the rides could not be dealt with until the rain stops.
The fairgrounds were wet and muddy Thursday morning as final preparations were made, and the noise of goats could be heard along with workers barking instructions.
Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/10/14/740200/rain-slows-inspections-for-fair.html#ixzz12QBgdgki

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Getting Ready For The Mississippi State Fair
October 8, 2010




NORTH CAROLINA STATE FAIR

State fair's same-old, same-old is just fine

Jennifer Wood of Cary uses her car headlights to illuminate the Apex Lions Club food booth as she paints illustrations on the windows. The fairgrounds open at 3 p.m. Thursday ROBERT WILLETT - rwillett@newsobserver.com
By Matt Ehlers Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010
RALEIGH, In her 36 years, Kim Hammer has gone to the N.C. State Fair at least 25 times, and each time the highlights are the same: baby ducks and Al's french fries.
"As long as I've eaten those french fries and held a baby duck, I'm good," said Hammer, who lives in Raleigh. "If I couldn't do those things, it wouldn't feel like the fair to me."
Each year, the State Fair adds a few new twists to the experience. Sometimes it's a ride or a game. Always there is a new delicacy. This year, the brave can try a 1-pound hot dog or a hamburger served on Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
But what really brings people back year after year is the comfort of sameness. For 11 days each October, the fairgrounds becomes a visual, aural and gastronomical pleasure zone for fair veterans who have waited 11 months to sink into their routines. They park in the same lots, eat at the same stands and visit the same attractions year after year.
When the 2010 State Fair opens Thursday afternoon, longtime visitors will find nearly everything they love in the same places they always do. Two trailers selling Al's fries will be parked near the Expo Center. The Apex Lions Club will sell its famous biscuits from a lunch-stand spot not far from Dorton Arena. The Raleigh Jaycees will have shotguns set up for target practice.
House-Autry will fry about 300,000 hushpuppies in the commercial building and give them away, near the place where the state's weights-and-measures people place a scale upon which fairgoers may weigh themselves. Both low-frills presentations attract long lines.
After all, it's not as though you can pick up a giant smoked turkey leg on every street corner in the Triangle. That's why the meaty treat is on the must-eat list of Cary's John O'Connor, who always augments his foil-wrapped delicacy with a visit to the old-style craftsmen in the Village of Yesteryear. He's particularly awed by the guy who carves and paints intricate wooden duck decoys.
"They are so much a work of art, you'd never actually use one," O'Connor said.
In the realm of art, but of the edible kind, are the gigantic piles of fries served by Al's. Hammer describes carrying a mountain-size plate of Al's fried potatoes as a "major, strategic balancing act," and that's before they're dressed. She likes salt and malt vinegar, and the kids like ketchup, so a part of the process involves eating a few of the fries to carve out a place for what Hammer called the "ketchup depot."
All this happens as soon as the family walks through the gates. Her husband likes to push for a stop at a biscuit stand first, but Hammer will have none of it. After the fries are down, she's happy to do whatever, as long as the trip ends with a stop to see the baby ducks and chicks.
From The Charlotte Observer.

BINGHAMPTON, NY---OCT. 5th

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VIDBELS OLD TYME CIRCUS NEWS---#1

Old tyme circus in Rehoboth

Thursday, September 30, 2010 REHOBOTH, NJ - Circus Vidbel is at Redway Plain this Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2 and 3, as a fundraiser for the Rehoboth PTSA.
The "old tyme" circus features aerialists, comic magic, bareback and dressage horse riding, jugglers, music, foot juggling, dog acts, acrobats and clowns. As a new feature this year, there will be a center ring concert and "clown around" for children of all ages
The PTSA gets 40 percent of advance tickets sold and a smaller share of sales on show day.
Performances are 2, 4:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. You can buy advance tickets at Chartley Country Store and Anawan Cleaners in Rehoboth and Newman YMCA and S&B Cleaners in Seekonk.

VIDBEL OLD TYME CIRCUS NEWS---#2

10/5/2010
Vidbel's Old Time Circus in Cumberland Thursday

Tickets $10; shows at St. John Vianney Church at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
CUMBERLAND - Once again, it's Circus Time in town.
Vidbel's Old Time Circus, a one-ring wonder under the big top, will stop by St. John Vianney parish grounds for two shows today, Thursday, Sept. 30, at 5 and 7:30 p.m.
Tickets will be on sale at the gate for $10 each. Children age 2 and under will be admitted free with a paying adult.
Vidbel's Old Time Circus is one of only a handful of one-ring traveling circuses still traveling the country and "wowing" crowds under the big top tent.
Some of the new performers in this year's show are the Zoppe Equestrian acts, Darnell's Incredible Dog Act, and a Rola-Bola, or balance board, act by Tevin DelMonte.
The Zoppe-Zamperla Family are seventh generation equestrian acrobats who perform bareback riding and dressage acts that will delight the audience.
Performance Director Mike Ashton says the crowds will also love Darnell's incredible dogs as they perform a poodle beauty pageant and magic acts.
"The whole show is going to be very exciting. It's our strongest show since we opened," said Ashton.
Other highlights of the this year's circus include Susan Vidbel-Ashton performing her amazing aerial act and Mike Ashton, who does a juggling act with his feet known as risley. Ashton's 24-year-old son, Miles, takes part in the performance, which Ashton says is "really exciting" and "more complex than last year."
"I'm looking forward to another great circus," said Tom Ward, Valley Breeze publisher and show sponsor. "The Vidbel family has been delighting kids in our area for several years now, and they never disappoint. I love the faces on the small children as they watch the show. It's one heck of a deal in today's high-priced entertainment world," said Ward. "I'm also grateful to 'Father Ray' Theroux, pastor of St. John Vianney Church, for allowing us to use the huge parish grounds behind the church. It makes for plenty of free, easy parking."
The church is located at 3609 Diamond Hill Road, between Nate Whipple Highway and Diamond Hill Park.
Vidbel's Old Time Circus has been family owned and operated by the Vidbel family for 26 years. The founder, Joyce Vidbel, now manages the winter quarters in Windham, N.Y., and the next generation of the family now own and manage the touring show.
In Cumberland, advance tickets have been on sale to benefit participating public school parent-teacher associations, including those at Community, Garvin, Cumberland Hill and Ashton schools. The PTOs keep 30 percent of the total sales for their own use. The Valley Breeze does not profit by the circus's appearance.

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE FAIR NEWS---

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

FAIR WORKERS COPE WITH LOSS

At the fair, let your nose be your guide

Tracy Glantz /Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com
The questions are inevitable this time of year.“What’s the new fair food?” I’m often asked in the days leading up to the S.C. State Fair.“Something fried,” I typically respond.

Tue, Oct, 12, 2010-Columbia, South Carolina- The South Carolina State Fair starts at 3 p.m. today. Photo by Tracy Glantz
It’s a question, I’m convinced, that’s driven more by anticipation than curiosity. Ever faithful to their corn dogs, fried dough and Polish sausage dogs, fair patrons are always eager to treat their taste buds to something new when the fair rolls in each year.Their options will be plentiful beginning today.When the 141st anniversary fair opens its gates at 3 p.m. in Columbia, visitors will find one of the largest offerings of new food items in recent memory.

Tue, Oct, 12, 2010-Columbia, South Carolina-Jim Meyer replaces light bulbs in the carousel at The South Carolina State Fair. The fair starts at 3 p.m. today. Photo by Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com

Tue, Oct, 12, 2010-Columbia, South Carolina-Udo DuPlessis paints the cars on the Safari Airport ride at The South Carolina State Fair. The fair starts at 3 p.m. today. Photo by Tracy Glantz/tglantz@thestate.com


FROM SCOTT BUNDY....

A plan to save the circus arena in Venice

HERALD-TRIBUNE ARCHIVE / 2007 / KIM HACKETT
Venice Circus Arts Foundation has put together a budget to renovate the circus arena.

By TERRY O'CONNOR Correspondent
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
VENICE - The Venice Circus Arts Foundation returns to the City Council today for official assurance the deteriorating circus arena the organization is seeking to save will not be demolished.
"Six months ago, when we first went before council, I gave them a long list of things we would do if they would not tear down the arena," said Karen Dove of Sarasota-based Karen Dove Consulting, who is advising the Venice Circus Arts Foundation on how to rebuild a financially self-sustaining business. "We've done everything on that list."
The foundation will ask the council for a formal letter that would allow the arena-saving project to continue over the next three to five years, Dove said.
"It will help us raise money," Dove said. "We need council to see us through the restoration of the arena and to make a commitment not to tear it down."
Mayor Ed Martin said the city has nothing to lose by letting the foundation pursue its goal. The City Council showed its support a month ago by eliminating $250,000 in demolition costs from the budget.
But the council also asked to see a viable business plan. Dove said one is prepared.
The Venice Circus Arts Foundation board emerged from a strategic planning retreat with a three-year operating budget it hopes will impress the City Council.
The first year's $86,000 operating budget would focus on fixing the roof's gaping holes. The 2012 operating budget would increase to $200,000 and by the year 2013, the figure would reach $300,000.
The budget projections include the possibility of hiring a part-time manager and paying a development consultant as well as bills such as office rent and supplies, Internet and marketing costs, insurance, utilities and postage.
Fifth-generation trapeze artist Tito Gaona envisions a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus museum will be built eventually along with a clown training center.
Even if the council approves the foundation requests, two big challenges remain.
The foundation estimates that renovating the 5,100-seat arena will cost $10 million, and federal law requires any operation on site must be a revenue producer for the airport fund because it sits on airport property.
read more at:http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101012/ARTICLE/10121039/2066/NEWS?Title=A-plan-to-save-the-circus-arena-in-Venice#

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Bill Griffith, Wisconsin newspaper owner, circus owner, calliope enthusiast, dies at 81

Bill Griffith, former circus owner, publisher of weekly newspapers, entrepreneur, in 1998 opened the American Calliope Center in Spring Green to exhibit his collection of circus calliopes. The center closed quickly, but the family kept the calliopes, which are in storage. Griffith, 81, died Sunday. CRAIG SCHREINER — State Journal

By GEORGE HESSELBERG, madison.com
October 11, 2010
A man who owns a circus and a newspaper might be wary of the potential for exaggeration in an obituary. So he would write his own.
But a true account of Bill Griffith's life could fill all three rings of the circuses he owned and the front pages of all the newspapers he published.
Griffith, who died Sunday at 81, wrote his own obituary and achieved the impossible by under-selling himself.
"We were trying to list all the businesses he owned or started, and we're still at it," said daughter Linda Schwanke, co-owner of the Spring Green weekly, the Home News.
Not to exaggerate, but: Griffith played trumpet in his own polka band, bought and sold and bought again nearly two dozen little Wisconsin newspapers and shoppers, personally promoted the Harmonicats and the Ink Spots, and was the owner or part-owner of three three-ring circuses based in Appleton and traveling to 34 states.
He did not shy from describing things as the best, the first, the largest and he really was the last — he claimed — surviving three-ring circus owner in Wisconsin.
Not surprisingly, he loved the opera and treasured a large photograph of his first elephant, Little Bertha.
He smoked big cigars and accumulated a stupendous collection of antique circus air calliopes and put them on display until, he notes in his obit, he "found out that most of today's families never heard of calliopes." Schwanke said her father, an Appleton native and printer by trade, was not an idle worshipper.
"He grew up in the Depression, his motivation was he just had to hustle a buck, he always had to have some business going," she said. "He didn't have hobbies."
But it was the circus that guided his life. He was always looking for a promotion, a flair, or a new way to package an old favorite, such as having Santa Claus arrive in a space ship at shopping centers.
"When he was an itty bitty boy, he went to the Ringling circus when it came to Appleton," said Schwanke. "He didn't run away to one; he started his own. He wasn't a circus fan; he was a circus person. He lived for circuses."
Griffith requested calliope music and a Frank Sinatra rendition of "I Did it My Way" for his funeral, which can only be described as being performed at 4 p.m. Thursday at the Richardson-Stafford Funeral Home in Spring Green.
Join the circus, see sky
Chicago acrobat won't let vertical challenge keep him down

Omar Dudley shows off his hoop skills at Washington Park, where he's appearing with the UniverSoul Circus.
October 12, 2010
BY MISHA DAVENPORT mdavenport@suntimes.com
Despite his 5-foot-1½-inch height, Chicago native Omar Dudley is something of a basketball superstar.
At least to those in attendance at the UniverSoul Circus.
As part of that circus' Slam Dunk Allstars, the 21-year-old is part of a three-man alley-oop, a six-man lay-up and, like most guys in the Allstars, he also jumps off a springboard, does body twists and somersaults in the air and still makes baskets 13 shows a week. Occasionally a ring of fire is involved.
"I might be the shortest guy, but I have the hottest moves," he says with a smile.
Antron Morgan, the producer of the Slam Dunk Allstars, agrees.
"Omar came in to audition as a mascot for the Atlanta Hawks for the halftime show I also produce, and I was amazed by his athleticism," the 27-year-old producer says. "He's amazing on a trampoline, and I told them to put him in UniverSoul and see what he can do."
Morgan caught up with Dudley in May and was impressed with what he saw.
"He does a 'Rudi' going into the net [a somersault with a one-and-a-half body twist] followed by a backout [a one-and-a-quarter somersault]," Morgan says. "Very few acrobats can do it. And he does it with a basketball and still makes the shot."
Dudley says it's taken a lot of practice to get to the level that he's at, and he has a few scars to prove it.
"This isn't something you want to try at home without training," he cautions. "I've busted open my forehead when I overshot and hit the rim, and I've trained for three months to do what I do."
The most common injury: an ankle sprain.
"I know it's a theater thing to say to a performer 'break a leg,' but don't tell me that," he says with a laugh. "It could happen. I've already been injured 20 times this year, and we still have another two months of touring."
Despite the hazards, he says the stunts aren't nearly as dangerous as the neighborhood in which he grew up. Dudley lived in the Henry Horner Homes until he was 12 and started touring with the Jesse White Tumblers and other acts.
And he says his life could have easily turned out so different, had it not been for a few mattresses from the trash and a knack for tumbling.
"We didn't have much, and my friends and I would pull out these discarded mattresses and jump and tumble," he recalls. "Where I grew up, there aren't a lot of things kids can do and even less they can look up to."
Gangs and drugs were so prevalent, they sometimes seemed like the only way out.
Dudley had his tumbling, though. He says it kept him focused and engaged in something more wholesome than the alternatives."Performing gave me a way to better myself," he says.
It also enabled him to see the world.
"Growing up in the Horner Homes, the 10-block radius of my neighborhood was my world," he says. "It wasn't until I began traveling that I realized just how small that world was."
Dudley has toured the United States five times and been all over the world. He still has a few places he hasn't seen, though.
"I really want to do a tour through Europe," he says. "There is a tradition of circuses in Europe, and I would like to perform there and also catch a couple of circuses."
Dudley is pragmatic about it all and realizes he won't be tumbling forever. "You can only do this as long as your body doesn't give out," he says.
When he can no longer can tour, he plans to come back to Chicago and pay it forward.
"I was given a chance to get out and it was never a question of whether or not I would give back to the community, but when," he says. "Eventually, I'll be back here to coach kids to do what I'm doing."
Think your family dinners are a circus?

Try feeding 300 performersPie Car requires work, provides ring of family



Michael Vaughn, director of food and facility services for the Blue Unit of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, will proudly oversee meals in the state-of-the-art Pie Car when the circus plays this week at Scottrade Center.

By Janice DenhamTuesday, October 12, 2010


Michael Vaughn, who joined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey more than 13 years ago, feeds 300 hungry performers and crew, 36 at a time, from a state-of-the-art Pie Car. The director of food services has learned a lot from the clowns who emerge in great number from a tiny car, waving and happily enjoying each other's company. His small crew of six serves 2,500 to 3,500 meals a week.
While the Greatest Show on Earth plays here from Thursday to Sunday, you might spot Vaughn shopping for salsiccia on the Italian Hill or kielbasa at Piekutowski's European Style to satisfy a homegrown yearning of someone in the international troupe. He called last week from Denver, just after celebrating the fourth birthday of Bree, his daughter, on an unusual day off.
"A lot of the work is done while we are traveling. At any given point, I have $20,000 to $30,000 in inventory. But there is the legwork of finding the mom-and-pop produce stand where we perform, the best fish in Seattle, Polish meats and sausages in Chicago," he said.
Each person in his "big family" appreciates the effort.
"They love it 10 times more than if you got it from Sysco (national food provider)," 39-year-old Vaughn said.
read more at:http://suburbanjournals.stltoday.com/articles/2010/10/12/stclair/life/1013food-homeplate000002.txt

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Federation Mondiale du Cirque 2011 Calendar
A new 12 month wall calendar for 2011 featuring the 13 winning photos from the Federation's annual Photography Contest is now available for purchase. The calendar includes historical circus facts and important circus dates for the coming year. This high quality, individually packaged calendar is available for sale ($20.00 per calendar, shipping included). For large orders, please contactlaura@circusfederation.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .
To purchase the 2011 calendar, please click the calendar image below to complete the order form and fax to: 407-681-9445 or send via email to oaba@aol.com. For additional information, please feel free to contact the OABA office at 800-517-OAB(6222).



News - S.C. State Fair
Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2010
Worker electrocuted during State Fair setup
BERTRAM RANTIN, brantin@thestate.com
A carnival worker was electrocuted Monday afternoon while working on a ride at the State Fairgrounds.
State Fair manager Gary Goodman said that Roger Thompson, 43, of Brooksville, Fla., was performing electronics work on The Rainbow ride when the incident occurred shortly after 3:30 p.m. Emergency medical personnel responded to the scene, performed CPR on Thompson and transported him to Palmetto Health Richland, where he was pronounced dead.
Thompson was a 20-plus-year veteran with North American Midway Entertainment and was one of the carnival’s chief operators. Goodman said Thompson’s wife also was in the area and that other family members had been notified.
“We spent a good deal of the afternoon trying to contact family members across the United States and Canada,” Goodman said.
Several area agencies — including the Columbia fire marshal, Columbia City Police, the Richland County Coroner’s office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Labor —– are investigating, but an exact cause is not yet known.
“We’ll have to wait until they get their investigations done until we have any idea of what the cause was,” Goodman said.
Goodman said that the fair, along with the Columbia Baptist Association and Lexington County Baptist Association, is providing grief counseling to Thompson’s family and other fair employees in advance of Wednesday’s opening day.
The death was the second of a North American Midway employee in two years. In 2008, a worker was killed when he was hit by a ride in a restricted area.
Read more: http://www.thestate.com/2010/10/12/1508604/developing-state-fair-worker-electrocuted.html?story_link=email_msg#ixzz12AB1n1xz

Monday, October 11, 2010




Apple-Scrapple draws thousands to Bridgeville, DE NEWS JOURNAL • OCTOBER 10, 2010



BRIDGEVILLE -- The melodic foodstuffs came in every form imaginable.
Apples: Dumplings, fritters, cider, pie, by the bushel and singly.
Scrapple: Soft, crunchy, burnt to a crisp, with ketchup and with cheese.
It was the search for these local delicacies that drew an estimated 25,000 people to this western Sussex County town over the weekend for the annual Apple-Scrapple Festival, which combines live music, good eats, a plethora of vendors and political candidates and a kids' carnival into a massive street fair.Robin Romer drove an hour and a half from Odenton, Md., on the western shore, with husband, Paul, just to visit the event.
She likes her scrapple crispy and plain, though sometimes with a twist.
"Maybe sometimes with maple syrup -- just a few drips on the top," she said.
She said the festival, which they first attended five years ago, is a great time.
"We've been around already," she said. "It's always fun."
At the carnival, boys surreptitiously fired marshmallow guns at unsuspecting human targets, while girls practiced their best princess waves perched atop the merry-go-round horses.
Politicians worked the crowd, including Democratic congressional candidate John Carney, Democratic Attorney General Beau Biden and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. And some elected officials partook in the scrapple-slinging contest -- a test of how far one can hurl a two-pound block of the meat product, with victory claimed by Sussex County Council Vice President Mike Vincent of Seaford.
But the big draw was the grub, said Ryan Thompson of Dover. "I like mine burnt," she said of the scrapple.
Cheryl Lentz of Mechanicsburg, Pa., grew up on scrapple and traveled with her husband from their Ocean City condo to get a taste of her childhood comfort food.
"My grandmother made it -- we had scrapple about every morning," she said.
She said the festival was a great idea. "It's really well-attended," Lentz said. "There's a lot to see and do."
Pat McGlinchey drove north from Salisbury, Md., with his wife and son to enjoy the festivities.
"I love scrapple," he said. "That's why we came up."
He missed scrapple when he lived in Connecticut for several years and it was nowhere to be found.
And what's the big attraction to scrapple, which is made of pig parts and corn meal? How would he describe it to folks who'd never had a taste?
"I wouldn't know how to explain it," McGlinchey said thoughtfully. "People either like it or they hate it. That's the thing about scrapple."


A DAY LATE--SUNDAY FUNNIES

Fun on the ground, in the air during circus at Aud

Performers entertain the crowd Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, during the 64th annual Ziyara Shrine Circus at the Utica Memorial Auditorium in Utica
By WILLIAM P. CANNON Observer-Dispatch Post
UTICA — A weekend filed with animals, clowns and death-defying tricks concluded Sunday after six performances of the Ziyara Shrine Circus at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
In its 64th year, the circus helps support the humanitarian efforts of the Ziyara Shriners.
One of the highlights of the day was the Wallenda family.
Excited and cheering spectators quieted as the two men and 13-year-old girl climbed high above the ground on the high wire.
Back on the ground, Tyler Joseph Rios, 2, of Westmoreland, hung on the rail at the front row of seats and exclaimed "Yes, elephants," as a team of three elephants paraded into the auditorium.
Circus chairman Norman Jeche said the money raised is essential to the operation of the local club.
Big top extends stop
Circus Sunrise member Harmony will extend her performance in Sunshine this month. Picture: MITCH BEAR
ROLL up, roll up - it’s not too late to visit the big top in Sunshine this month.
Circus Sunrise has extended its season at Sunshine Marketplace in Harvester Rd until October 17 due to popular demand.
Circus performer Gary Brophy said the circus, which includes acrobatics, aerial stunts and more, was run by one of the oldest circus families in the world.
Circus Sunrise has performed in Australia and overseas since it began in 1996.
For more details on the circus, including session times and ticket prices, visit circussunrise.com.au http://brimbank-leader.whereilive.com.au/lifestyle/story/big-top-extends-stop/

County fair season ending on warm note
Sunday, October 10, 2010
By Wesley Lowery

The Columbus Dispatch
LANCASTER— Temperatures north of 80 degrees didn't deter hundreds of couples, families and children who packed the Fairfield County Fair's opening day today.
But it did mean long waits for ice cream and slushies.

The weeklong fair, the last county fair in Ohio this year, kicked off with a seven-hour free-admission day.

"It's our gift back to the community," fair manager Dave Benson said. "There's no one in Fairfield County that cannot attend at least one day of the fair."

General admission will cost $5 from Monday until Saturday.

A few tweaks have been made to the fair schedule, but for the most part, the event is sticking with tradition.

Benson and officials at other county fairs say schedules have little to do with how many people attend each year. The overall success of a county fair depends largely on the weather, and an autumn breeze and cloudless skies are the best-case scenario.

The weather was not very cooperative last year for Fairfield County, Benson said. Wet, cold weather kept attendance below 100,000 people.

"We hope to have 125,000 to 150,000 people this year," Benson said.

Even cold weather would be fine, he added, as long as there's no rain or extreme heat.

Ohioans competed in pageants, showcased livestock and enjoyed their favorite fairground treats at nearly 100 fairs across the state this year. Officials at many central Ohio fairs said extreme heat wilted attendance numbers as people chose air-conditioned activities over hot, humid fairgrounds.

"The daylight crowd just didn't turn out like they normally do," said Larry Hughes, manager of the Hartford Independent Fair in the Licking County village of Croton.

About 219,000 came out in August for the six-day fair - 19,000 fewer than last year.

"It's all weather-related. If it's either too hot, too cold or too rainy, people won't show up," Hughes said.

After a huge turnout for its opening Saturday in mid-July, attendance at the Franklin County Fair trickled off as the heat index topped 100 degrees.

"We had as good of a first day as you can expect to have," said Tim Shade, fair manager.

The fair, which featured motocross races, live music and rides, also suffered from one day of soaking rains. Shade estimates about 44,000 people attended, down from more than 46,000 last year.

"In Columbus, look at the choices people have, and a lot of them are air-conditioned choices," Shade said. "The heat got us, and unfortunately it's the one thing as a fair manager I can't control."

Officials at some other area fairs attributed attendance fluctuation to other, more controllable factors.

wlowery@dispatch.com

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Arkansas State Fair Enters Run Without Rodeo

By The Associated Press, 10/7/2010

LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas State Fair opens Friday but the familiar rides and fried food won't be accompanied by a rodeo.
Fair manager Ralph Shoptaw said recent State Fair rodeos have lost money, so this year he is bringing in members of the Professional Bull Riders Tour.
Attendance at last year's fair was down by 83,000 from the previous year, mainly because of bad weather. Shoptaw said he needed to find an attraction that would make money. He said some people complained to him - but said there are a number of fairs nationwide that do not have rodeos. Now Arkansas is joining that group.
The Arkansas State Fair runs through Sunday, Oct. 17.

FROM CALIFORNIA...

Zoppé Family Circus
Oct 7, 2010
The circus is coming to Downtown Long Beach!
The Zoppé Family Circus welcomes your family into the intimate 500 seat tent for a one-ring circus that honors the best history of the Old-World Italian tradition.
The adventure begins as Nino the clown leads you on a journey that features acrobatic feats, equestrian showmanship, cainine capers, clowning and plenty of audience participation.
All performances take place at the northeast corner of Broadway and Long Beach Blvd
IN THE NEWS
Circus master invited to judge world's best
Kyoko Kawazoe / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer
KOBE--Tadashi Kinoshita, the president of a circus founded by his grandfather, is thrilled by the prospect of becoming the first Japanese to serve as a judge in the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo.
"My accumulated experience has been favorably regarded," Kinoshita said.
At the festival, to be held in January in Monaco, he will assess the technique and showmanship of the world's top circus artists.
Kinoshita, 60, was formerly a circus performer himself. He joined Kinoshita Circus Co., which was established by his grandfather in 1902, after graduating from Meiji University in 1974 and made his debut as a flying trapeze artist just one month after his first rehearsal.
At the age of 26, Kinoshita broke his neck when he fell during a performance. He says he fell into a deep depression as he underwent three years of rehabilitation, but that the experience taught him to never become complacent and to always appreciate others.
After recovering from the injury, Kinoshita became a salesman for the company. The experience of working behind the scenes remains unforgettable, he said.
Even now, as president, a role he assumed after his elder brother fell ill, Kinoshita can often be seen greeting customers at the entrance to the circus, tearing their tickets and escorting them to their seats.
"The great thing about the circus is seeing challenges met through great displays of courage," Kinoshita said, noting that often, technical proficiency alone is not enough to make a compelling or thrilling spectacle.
He said that at the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo, his primary focus will be on performances' emotional impact--the true essence of the circus.

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