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Monday, June 11, 2012

Ainad Shrine Circus puts on a show in Du Quoin


One of the circus clowns entertains the audience at the Ainad Shrine Circus on Sunday, June 10 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. (Aaron Eisenhauer / The Southern)
from: thesouthern.com
BY LINDA RUSH, The Southern
June 12, 2012
DU QUOIN — Thousands of Southern Illinois families attending the Ainad Shrine Circus this weekend at the Du Quoin State Fairground saw plenty of action in the ring, but also plenty to see and do elsewhere.


The Ainad Shriners, marking their 100th anniversary this year, had concessions and souvenirs galore, face painting for all ages, and displays including the Perry County Shriners’ antique fire engine (which had steps to help kids climb aboard) and those snazzy little red roadsters of the Williamson County Shrine Club’s Motor Patrol, a parade favorite.


#2   Daniel Raffo performs in a cage with seven trained tigers during the Ainad Shrine Circus on Sunday, June 10 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. (Aaron Eisenhauer / The Southern)
This was their 46th annual circus. Shrine members and families were working everywhere, selling programs and souvenirs, add-ing to the “meet and greet” cadre of clowns, making funnel cakes and lemon shake-ups.

The George Carden Circus International of Springfield, Mo., offered tigers, elephants, poodles and clowns galore onstage, with daredevil motorcyclists, aerialists and other acts.

Kids got elephant rides during intermission. Some Shriners also made their grand entrance riding elephants. Bill Hill of Johnston City, this year’s Ainad Shrine potentate, top officer, said that was fun.


Mark Maxwell, administrator of the circus, said 1,700-plus people attended Saturday night’s performance. The Sunday shows also drew big crowds, he added.


“Denver Tolbert of Mulkeytown was in charge of getting the Du Quoin site set up for the circus,” Hill said. Du Quoin was one of six Shrine Circus sites in Southern Illinois this year.


At Du Quoin, the Jackson County Shrine Club sold novelties; Williamson County Motor Patrol took tickets; Perry County handled parking; Randolph County sold popcorn, and the Oasis/Franklin County Shrine Club sold soda and hot dogs.


Sunday’s matinee show included a salute to Girl Scouts, who also are celebrating their own 100th anniversary. Participating in the circus Color Guard were Troops 8144, 8138 and 8132, all of Pinckneyville, with April Stanley representing Perry County adult leaders. John Blondell, Ainad 100th anniversary historian, said the Ainad Shriners cover 43 Southern Illinois counties, while the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois cover 40 counties.




#3   Performers hang from ropes as they spin above the circus rings at the Ainad Shrine Circus on Sunday, June 10 at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. (Aaron Eisenhauer / The Southern
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Teri Rohr of O’Fallon heads the face-painting group, all Shrine Club families. For years they have painted small images on faces, hands or ankles for $2. “Last night was the first time we offered to paint full faces for $5,” Rohr said. There were plenty of takers. All proceeds go to the Ainad Temple, she said.


“We also paint faces for free at the Shrine kids’ orthopedic screening sessions and at Ainad Temple events,” Rohr said.


Walking around with family members, 2-year-old Hunter Morgan, asked what he liked best about the show, grinned and pointed at a long counter laden with merchandise — bubble machines, giant glasses that light up and dazzle, stuffed animals, and other cool stuff.


Bob Russell of Carterville, captain of the Motor Patrol for 12 years, showed off his red car to Ty Hood of Du Quoin, who will be 3 in July. Kids love sitting in the car. “All these cars but one were bought new in 1986,” Russell said. “We’re the only unit in Illinois with this style car.”


Also on display was a van that is a familiar sight for children needing medical care. Earl Whitson of Johnston City coordinates a cadre of volunteer drivers who last year made 123 trips to take children to treatment in St. Louis, Chicago or Cincinnati.


The volunteers all seemed to enjoy the circus as much as the audience.


“We do it all,” Teri Rohr joked, “except for the high-wire acts.”

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