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Monday, June 27, 2011



MANE ATTRACTION



Circus attendees enjoy ‘a little bit of Americana’ in Harrisburg
BY GREG BOLTT

The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon

Published: Sunday, May 29, 2011
HARRISBURG — Maybe it wasn’t death-defying, and you probably couldn’t call it the greatest show on earth. But for a few hours Saturday, the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus was the greatest thing in Harrisburg.
Maybe, even, the greatest thing in a long time.
This was real Americana, the kind of circus your grandparents or even great-grandparents remember. One ring, some big animals, some little animals, jugglers and trapeze artists, a dog act, the flying Perez family and, naturally, a clown. Oh, and sequins. Lots of sequins.
“It’s nice to see that an operation like this is still going,” said Harrisburg City Manager Bruce Cleeton. “It’s a little bit of Americana I remember as a youngster, and I’m glad we can make some memories for the Harrisburg kids now.”
And those kids ate it up like popcorn. Or cotton candy, which both found plenty of eager takers among the 200 or so people to pack the big top for the first of two shows.
For many people, especially the young ones, it was either their first time ever at a circus or their first in a very long time. Relatively few in the crowd remember when Harrisburg used to have regular Fourth of July circuses, mainly because the last one was about 40 years ago.
“We’ve never had a circus since I was here, so I think it’s pretty neat to bring it into a small town,” said Peggie Walter, who brought 2-year-old Destiny to the show.
There were plenty of “ooh” and “ahh” moments, such as when Solomon the lion leaped from his cage and into the ring with a pair of tigers.
Or when Natalie Cainan got one of her trained dogs to push another around the ring in a cart. Or when Karina Perez managed to get about two dozen hoops spinning around her from head to toe.
Clearly, the circus still is a family affair, which is why the acts seemed to have a lot of familiar faces. The guy hawking cotton candy and souvenirs in the stands one minute was riding a 10-foot-tall unicycle in the ring the next and steadying the rope for his aerialist daughter before that.

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