By CASSIDY SWANSON / Sun Staff Writer |
Saturday, June 9, 2012
CHARLESTOWN — After a two-year hiatus, the Big Apple Circus will soon, finally, be back in town.
A staple of the summer season at Ninigret Park for 25 years, Big Apple set up its tent every summer in the park. But when the economy took a turn, the nonprofit circus was forced to cut Charlestown from its annual summer tour.
For the last two years, the Kelly Miller Circus, based out of Oklahoma, stepped in to fill the void left by Big Apple. A one-ring circus under a “big top,” Kelly Miller was similar to Big Apple in some ways, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heather Paliotta said in 2010. Its tickets were cheaper and the circus took less time to set up and break down.
But Kelly Miller could never compare to the “huge draw” that Big Apple brings to Ninigret, Paliotta said.
“Kelly Miller had a little teeny radio and plastic seats,” Paliotta said, in comparison to Big Apple’s 18-piece orchestra, velvet seats, and air-conditioned tent. “You can’t even compare Big Apple to Kelly Miller. That was a filler for two years, hoping the Big Apple would return someday.”
“Big Apple put Charlestown on the map,” she added. “It’s one of the biggest events in Charlestown. The community and the town are so excited to have them back.”
Gerald Ducharme, of Ducharme Associates in East Greenwich, has handled public relations for the circus’ Charlestown stop for the last 20 years. He agreed with Paliotta that the quality of Big Apple’s productions sets it apart from the rest.
“Big Apple’s an internationally awarded circus,” he said. “It’s the type of circus that you don’t find very often,” adding that it is closer to the more intimate and subtle European style of circuses, rather than a traditional American three-ring circus, which tends to be flashier and rely more on slapstick-style entertainment.`
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