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Sunday, September 2, 2012


Piccadilly Circus brings merriment to area
 

Piccadilly Circus animal trainer Ian Garden directs his zebras as they move freely about the ring during the Piccadilly Circus show held Saturday, September 1, 2012 at the Racine County Fairgrounds. The circus runs through Monday.
Scott Anderson scott.anderson@journaltimes.com
from: journaltimes.com
by CARA SPOTO cara.spoto@journaltimes.com
Sept 2, 2012
YORKVILLE — Ian Garden has been training animals since he was 16 years old.
The third generation circus performer has worked with tigers, elephants, horses and dogs.
At age 50, Garden has learned to do a “little bit of everything,” but when he got the call from his uncle last year to train a pair of zebras and a group of six camels, he jumped at the challenge, he said.
“Zebras, although they are somewhat domesticated, are still a very wild animal, and their wild instincts are very prominent,” Garden said Saturday, stopping to pet the brightly striped animals, named Giza and Guinea. “You’ll see in the ring — they have that arrogance about them.”

The ring is aglow as audience members watch a tightrope act during the Piccadilly Circus show held Saturday, September 1, 2012 at the Racine County Fairgrounds. The circus runs through Monday.
Scott Anderson
Garden and his animals are just a few of the performers in Piccadilly Circus’ touring show. The Florida-based circus is performing shows at the Racine County Fairgrounds, 19805 Durand Ave., just outside of Union Grove, over Labor Day Weekend. In addition to Garden’s zebras and camels, the show also boasts, among other treats, acrobats, a contortionist, a ring master-turned clown, a Chinese pot juggler and a camera-savy lemur. There is also a petting zoo.
Standing in line with his mother, his aunt, and his cousins, 4-year-old Michael Redman of Racine looked wide-eyed as he clutched his mother’s hand. When asked what he wanted to see, Redman’s 10-year-old cousin, Hollis Williams, who had never been to the circus before, said simply “everything.”


Piccadilly Circus animal trainer Ian Garden directs his camels as they move freely about the ring during the Piccadilly Circus show held Saturday, September 1, 2012 at the Racine County Fairgrounds. The circus runs through Monday.
Scott Anderson
Standing a few feet yards away from the entrance to the big top, Garden, the animal trainer and performance director for the show, kept an eye on activities. He stopped for a while, however, to give some love to the camels. Sheba, Rina, Jara, Gus and Cash, were relaxing in a tent next to the zebras, while Joe was giving rides to children before the tent opened.
The camels and zebras perform “at liberty,” Garden said, which means that when they go on stage they basically follow a routine.
“They waltz, they change directions, they go by twos,” he said. “The camels are probably the only six-camel liberty act in North America, and I would say without a doubt the best.”
Inside the tent it certainly felt impressive — even after the audience had “oohed” and “ahhed” at the death-defying leaps of the acrobats, tight-rope walkers and trapeze artists.
Standing amidst the camels in a gold lame jacket, Garden gleamed as the camels delighted the audience with their simple, yet hypnotic movements.
Even the adults in the stands seemed as awed as the 5-year-olds.
The circus’ final show at the fairgrounds is 3:30 p.m. Monday.
 
 

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