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Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Neighborhood Files
Wenatchee Youth Circus Coming to Edmonds
Edmonds youth can catch the show and even consider joining the circus themselves next summer.


By Heidi Dietrich
June 10, 2011

Circus fans can catch a show in Edmonds when the Wenatchee Youth Circus travels to town next month.

The performers, who range in age from five to 19, will hold outdoor performances at the Edmonds Civic Center. The show takes place on July 12 at 7 p.m. and July 13 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m, and is sponsored by the Edmonds Exchange Club and Edmonds Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services.

Wenatchee Youth Circus includes children and teens skilled in trapeze, unicycles, tight wire, and other acts. There are currently between 40 to 50 circus members, and all children -- including Edmonds kids -- are eligible to join. Youth from as far away as Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Australia have joined the traveling circus for the summer months.

Circus members begin practicing in October of every year. During the winter months, they rehearse tumbling, trapeze, and teeter board in the Orchard Middle School gym in Wenatchee. In the spring, they head outdoors, where they are able to practice high rigging acts. Performances begin in May and last through the summer.


The Wenatchee Youth Circus dates back 59 years, when Orchard Junior High principal Paul Pugh started the group as an after school tumbling group for his students. The gymnasts performed at basketball games, schools assemblies, and community service club meetings.

Pugh eventually began to add more acrobatic disciplines to his group. After retiring from Orchard Junior High, he began to focus full-time on running the circus.

The Wenatchee Youth Circus now travels around the state with a flatbed trailer that hauls five small circus wagons. One wagon converts into a raised covered bandstand, and the others haul equipment. A separate trailer serves as a cook shack with a refrigerator and two large freezers. Cooks prepare three meals a day for 100 to 150 performers, chaperones, and guests.

Parents of the performers design and create the costumes. Parents also serve on a board to help manage the circus and travel with the circus as chaperones.



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