UP IN THE AIR — Performers with the Carson and Barnes
By DAVE GOSSETT - Staff writer, The Herald-Star
July 10, 2012
STEUBENVILLE - It took three hours for the set-up crew to erect the European style big top-tent in the Fort Steuben Mall parking lot.
Taking down the tent after the Monday night show went a lot faster for the crew.
The Carson and Barnes Circus arrived in the city for a one-day stop featuring two shows and immediately started drawing visitors.
Rolling into town for that one-day visit were 115 employees and 40 vehicles, ranging from trailers to semi-trucks looking for a temporary home; the big top itself and a petting zoo near the J.C. Penney store.
J.R. Chase and his father, Frank Chase, of Amsterdam arrived early Monday afternoon and stopped first at the pigmy hippo tank where Katie was partially submerged in a large tank of water.
Then they moved to the pen where a donkey was petted and finally to the elephant area where Kelly and Viola, two female Asian elephants, were eating hay.
But it was the small train that ran on a circular track that really caught J.R.'s attention.
"He loves trains and we will definitely be back later for him to ride this one," explained Frank Chase.
Nearly 1,800 people attended the two shows Monday and watched a variety of performances. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Grand Theater Restoration Project.
The Carson and Barnes Circus, the first circus to stop in Steubenville in several years, moved to its next performance site today in East Liverpool.
"We are in our 76th year of operations. And we are very proud of the fact we are the oldest family owned circus operating in the United States," said Kristin Parr, a fourth-generation family member working in the circus office.
"I started out working with the elephants. But my performance days are far behind me. Now I work in the office," said Parr.
"We put on a traditional circus show that includes the flying trapeze, a dog and pony show, the Wheel of Destiny with a motorcycle and probably our most popular act that includes Alex the Clown," she said.