Circus comes to Manassas area
Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars tent raising
Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars raised their tent at the Prince William County fairgrounds near Manassas on May 11, 2012.
By: Keith Walker | InsideNova
from: inside nova.com
Published: May 11, 2012
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va. --
Roustabouts drove the first stake in an empty field about 8 a.m. Friday, after The Cole Bros. Circus rolled into the Prince William County Fair Grounds late Thursday.
Pretty soon after that, men swarmed the field while yellow Caterpillar equipment placed six giant steel columns exactly where they had to be to eventually support the big top.
Men ran around attaching cables to all manner of things. Others placed American flags and lights at the top of the columns while they were still propped up and waiting to be hoisted aloft.
When it was time, the cables were winched tight to pull the columns erect.
Again, men swarmed the field, this time spreading the red and yellow tent on the ground and attaching more cables, which were in turn pulled tight to raise the tent on the columns.
The roustabouts used steel poles to prop up the perimeter of the tent. The sectional floor went in, along with the seating. The sound guys got to work and the big top was ready to go by noon, in plenty of time for the first show at 4:30 p.m.
Ron West, Cole Bros. senior marketing director, said training to work for the circus comes through tradition.
“It goes from generation to generation. Right now we’re looking at some young folks on the show with their moms and dads,” West said of all who work for the circus.
“They just learn by watching it happen and the idea is that they’re dedicated to the show,” he said. “All these people are totally dedicated to this. This is their job. For eight months of the year they’re on the road.”
This year the circus has acts that include a 7-year-old girl and a 5-year-old elephant, 12 tigers, the Thunder Dome with three motorcycles in a cage, the Human Cannonball, Cartoon Poodles and clowns among others.
“We start off with a roar and we end up with a bang,” West said.
West said Cole Bros. hopes to attract 6,000 spectators for its three shows on Saturday at 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and 4,000 for its shows at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
West said that every year Cole Bros. invites people living in area homeless shelters to attend the circus for free.
He said the circus has something for young and old alike, and the best part of working for the circus is seeing happy people.
“We’ve got something for everybody. We’ve got something for the children. We’ve got something for the adults,” he said. “The idea is, when you come to the circus, you’re coming to see the real circus.”