Ed Grisamore: The circus was always in town
BOLINGBROKE — Kip Dingler carries a legacy as the flesh and blood of Macon’s most famous circus family.
So, on weekends like this, when the circus comes to town, his memories walk an emotional high wire
Ringling Brothers Circus will roll out its final show Sunday after a weekend under the big roof at the Macon Coliseum. This also marks the week of the anniversary of his father’s death. A.H. “Red” Dingler died on Jan. 2, 1982, after sustaining a massive heart attack at the old Dunn’s Hardware store on Emery Highway.
The Dinglers were circus people.
Step right up, to the greatest show on earth.
At a Ringling Brothers show in Macon a few years ago, Kip sat in the stands with his wife, Judy, and daughter, Carson. A group of Russian acrobats performed, and Kip got choked up as he watched them flying, leaping and tumbling through the air.
“They had red hair like my dad, acted just like my dad and were built just like him,” Kip said.
Now he turns back the pages of old scrapbooks to find his father. Red is pressed there, between the pages, springing back to life in yellowed newspaper clippings and photographs creased by the years.
There are playbills of the circuses he performed with -- King Brothers, Clyde Beatty and Cole Brothers, Hoxie Brothers and the Royal Wild West Circus. He shared marquees with performers like Hugo Zacchini, the human cannonball, and the Cristiani clan of bareback riders, often billed as the “royal family” of the circus kingdom.
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