Melha Shriners Circus Kick Off 58th Annual “Circus With A Purpose”
By Stephanie Officer
.Step right up….to Main Street.
Families lined the sidewalks to get a sneak preview of the “circus with a purpose”. Presented by the Melha Shriners, more than 300 onlookers were treated to free pizza, music, and appearances by those infamous clowns. This is Al Zippen’s 23rd year chairing the event. “The thing that stands out every year is going to the coliseum, walking around, and seeing all the families have a good time there. For many generations. That, to me, is the biggest thing” he said.
In its 58th year, proceeds from the shows support the work the Shriners do in the community. “The money we raise here is used to subsidize our unit to help keep us visible and help us keep the hospital story out to the people in Western MA” Al added.
Families came out to see the show and support a good cause. Chava Cohen came from Enfield, CT. “I’m here, my kids are here with me, they’re here to support the hospital and the clowns and have a little preview before we go to the show” she shared. “I think that it’s a great thing for them to do and be able to have the circus as a way to fund the different charities they support” said Kersti Cobb of Springfield.
Brian Chaisson is glad that his daughter Jocelyn’s first circus is one that gives back to the community. “The proceeds go to the local Shriners and it’s always good they’re coming down here and doing something nice things” he said. The Melha Shrine Circus runs through Sunday at the Big E.
The Shriners are hoping to see between 20 and 25,000 people over the 7 shows.