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Wednesday, May 23, 2012


With Irene a memory, the show must go on
Circus Vidbel to present several shows in Catskill; fundraiser for 
United Way also benefits Matthew 25



By Claude Haton
Hudson Catskill Newspapers
Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
CATSKILL — The circus is coming to town, and this time, the weather forecast does not include any major storms.


Scheduled to appear last August in Catskill at the Cone-E-Island/Mountain T’s complex on West Main Street, the Circus Vidbel was pre-empted then by a bigger, far less enjoyable production — Tropical Storm Irene.


In fact the storm ravaged the entire street, and Mt. T’s owner Craig Remely has spent the past nine months rebuilding his businesses and cleaning up the properties.


“It’s been slow going,” he said Tuesday, “We’ve been working with limited funds but we’re finally getting the facility back together.”
Remely has always enjoyed public projects, and thought it was a good time to try the circus again. As with the original scheduling, the circus will serve as a fundraiser for United Way and as a collection point for the Matthew 25 Food Pantry.


“Matthew 25 will be collecting all three days,” Remely said. The collection will be especially important to the Matthew 25 food pantry, which recently suffered fire damage to their headquarters in Catskill.


Originally scheduled for shows on Memorial Day, May 28, a change in plans puts the performances at 6 p.m. on Saturday the 26th, 2 p.m. on Sunday the 27th, and 4, 6 and 8 p.m., on Monday the 28th.


Remely says the circus will be setting up an 80-foot by 120-foot tent in the lot near Cone-E Island.


The Circus Vidbel, as they bill themselves, has long been based out of Windham with headquarters on Siam Road. Established in the early 1980s, the circus continues to be run by the granddaughter of founders Joyce and Al Vidbel, Susan Vidbel-Ashton, along with her husband Mike.


Once hailed in a New York Times as “the best little circus on the east coast,” it still offers time-honored three-ring favorites as acrobats, aerial acts, comedy magic shows, clowns, jugglers and more.


The circus has a policy of conducting food drives with each performance by asking patrons to bring non-perishable food items or cash donations to shows, which are then turned over to local food banks or pantries for distribution as needed.

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