Circus magic arrives in Baker City, OR
by Scott Ungerecht
Baker City, OR - At the break of dawn on June 28, one man stood alone on the Baker County Fair Grounds in Baker City, Oregon. His mission: to stake out a large area where several large tents will be carefully placed for the famous Carson and Barnes Circus. One hour after the man completed his mission, six large semi-trucks arrived at the fair grounds in one group caravan, each one pulling a thirty-foot-long trailer filled with equipment, tools, tents, other gear, or exotic animals. Each rig quickly found a parking place on the flat, open fair ground that was covered with grass. Stenciled on the outside of each driver's door were the words “Miller Equipment Company of Hugo, Oklahoma”.
Suddenly, a small yellow cargo van pulling a white ticket booth trailer arrived next. Then six large RV motor homes arrived last, each one containing the show's human circus performers. Within 30 minutes, over a dozen Hispanic men wearing hard hats, jeans, t-shirts, and green safety vests started unloading the trailers. Some men started pounding large tent pegs into the ground with heavy sledgehammers. Others started unfolding the tents. Everyone had an important job to do.
Suddenly, the air was calm, birds were quiet, and neighborhood dogs sat riveted behind chain link fences as they watched miniature ponies, camels, Llamas, elephants, a zebra, and a pigmy hippo being guided off several trailers by experienced animal trainers. What were these odd looking creatures?
One hour later, the entire Baker County Fair Grounds had been transformed into an oasis of tents, animals, semi-truck trailers, RV motor homes, bails of fresh hay, short iron gates, ticket booths and security personnel to bring alive the magic and mystery of a real circus carnival.