THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS! AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Ray Valentine - What's My Line?
FROM MIKE NAUGHTON
Uploaded by reflecteddetcelfer on Feb 25, 2008 The panel tries to guess Ray Valentine's occupation on this Feb. 26, 1967 episode - He's a 9 year old flying trapeze artist - and a very nice young man who impresses the panel with his answers. He may be the same Ray Valentine who continued to work in this field during his adult life.
Taba, The Greatest Show on Earth
Tabayara “Taba” Maluenda is the first Latino to be the head animal trainer at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus since the circus was founded in 1907. Today, he is known as the greatest tiger trainer of our time.
Written By Bryan Llenas
Fox News Latino
Published March 15, 2012
Across the United States, in all fields of endeavor, Latinos are working to uphold their place in American society. Fox News Latino is proud to present "Our American Dream" – a series of snapshots and profiles of Latino success stories.
For most people, it's hard enough to train a cat to stay off the furniture.
But don't tell that to Tabayara “Taba” Maluenda - the man who can make twelve 520-pound tigers dance in sync, jump through fire, and kiss his cheek.
As the head animal trainer for the most famous circus in the world, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Taba orchestrates a cast of Bengal and White Tigers, Elephants, and Horses.
Since the circus was founded in 1907, he is the first Latino to ever reach the esteemed position and is known as the greatest tiger trainer of our time.
“I think what I love most about the circus is that the circus is real, it’s pure, it’s talent, and it’s live,” Taba said.
Taba believes that circus performers should be held in the same, if not higher, esteem as movie actors and singers – especially singers – who have to perform to live audiences.
Although, not even a hard metal rocker can boast 80 to 90 scars from live performances like Taba can.
Yet for him, it’s just part of the job.
Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/community/2012/03/15/our-american-dream-taba-greatest-show-on-earth/#ixzz1pJC1yydR
'Circus, Circus & More Circus' brings the oohs and ahhs
Circus, Circus, and More Circus' show ringmaster swallows fire Friday at Randolph Millholland Armory. (By Kevin G. Gilbert/Staff Photographer)
By DON AINES
March 16, 2012
Hagerstown, MD--The air was thick with the scent of lighter fluid Friday as Brian LaPalme drank a cup of the flammable liquid, put a lighter to his lips and launched a volcano of flame nearly to the ceiling of the Randolph Millholland National Guard Armory.
To the “oohs” and “ahhs” of a couple of hundred spectators, LaPalme, the master of ceremonies of Walker International Events’ “Circus, Circus & More Circus,” kicked off the first of two shows at the armory south of Hagerstown, followed by acrobats, a trapeze artist, animal acts and Orlandito the Clown.
A magician as well as emcee and fire-eater, LaPalme told the audience he was a 36-year veteran of the circus life, having left high school early to go on the road.
Molly Pollak, 2, was in the arms of her mother, Stacey Pollak of Hagerstown, watching a young performer keep more than a dozen Hula-Hoops twirling about her torso at one time.
Molly was at her first circus, and her mother said earlier that it was the trapeze artist who most caught her daughter’s attention.
“I think she probably liked the trapeze girl .... That was my favorite,” Kara Hubble of Greencastle, Pa., said of her daughter, 4-year-old Reagan.
“I’ve been to the circus two times,” Reagan said.
Not to be outdone, 2-year-old Gavin Kmett, a spider web painted on his face by Orlandito, was attending his third circus, according to his mother, Anita Kmett of Hagerstown.
Michael and Karen Searle lead the management team for the Pinal County Fair and the Pinal Fairgrounds and Event Center. The Searles also own Snuffy’s Magical Clown Review and are professional clowns by trade. Oscar Perez/Casa Grande Dispatch
By MELISSA ST. AUDE
Friday, March 16, 2012
ELEVEN MILE CORNER, Although they are now leading the management team for the Pinal County Fair and the Pinal Fairgrounds and Event Center, Michael and Karen Searle still find time to clown around.
Owners of Snuffy’s Magical Clown Review, the Searles are professional clowns by trade.
But they have also been involved in the fair management and marketing business for years, working with several fairs throughout the area, and their involvement with the Pinal County Fair spans more than a decade.
The fair, which kicked off Wednesday, runs through Sunday.
In September, after the county turned managing and marketing of the fairgrounds over to Central Arizona Fair Association, a nonprofit organization, the Searles’ company, Fair Executives, was hired to run the 120-acre facility.
“We’ve done a lot of things in our careers, but we have never been so excited about a project as we are about this one,” Karen said.
For the Searles, the fairgrounds have special meaning. It is where the couple met, as performers in the 1990s, and it’s where they married in 2001.
Michael worked as a clown beginning in childhood alongside his father in the family’s traveling clown troupe, Snuffy’s Magical Clown Review. Through the late 1980s and 1990s, the troupe was a regular entertainment feature at the Pinal County Fair, where they performed stage shows and interactive magic tricks.
Although the troupe traveled around the country, taking their show to various fairs and events, it was at the Pinal County Fair where Michael fell in love.
Karen was also a regular performer at the Pinal County Fair in the late 1990s. The co-owner a traveling pig racing show, she too attended various fairs and events around the country.
read more at:
Circus: Committed to the humane treatment of animals in our care
March 16, 2012
Next week, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will return to Baltimore with Fully Charged!, the 141st edition of The Greatest Show On Earth. Everyone at Ringling Bros. takes great pride in presenting quality family entertainment to audiences in Baltimore and across the country.
Unfortunately, animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have used our return to continue their radical agenda by distorting our dedication to animal care and welfare. It's time we set the record straight.
Everyone with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is very proud of our human and animal partnerships, and the physical and behavioral needs of all our animals are a top priority in every city we visit.
The claims of animal cruelty made in recent letters ("Pinkett-Smith is correct: Circus is cruel to elephants," March 12) are a disservice and an insult to the dedicated men and women who spend their lives caring for all the animals with Ringling Bros.
In addition to our daily commitment to providing the very best in animal care, Ringling Bros. is dedicated to preserving the endangered Asian elephant. In 1995, the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation was established to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to experience this magnificent species.
This 200-acre facility was designed for the research, reproduction and retirement of the Asian elephant and enables Ringling Bros. to share its elephant husbandry knowledge with veterinary and conservation organizations around the world.
Since 1992, there have been 23 Asian elephants born at the center, and we have the largest sustainable population of captive Asian elephants in the Western hemisphere. This is a major step for the conservation of this highly endangered species.
So rather than take what extremist groups like PETA say at face value, we invite all Baltimore-area families to come see for themselves how all the animals are thriving at The Greatest Show On Earth.
The writer is vice-president for corporate communications at Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Come one, come all: Shrine Circus has three shows in DL Thursday
It’s coming — the pink and blue puff that melts in your mouth, crystallizing to perfection... The twirley, flashy things that nobody knows quite what they are, but glow with magnificence in the darkness...
By: Paula Quam, DL-Online
March 16, 2012,
Detroit Lakes, MN--It’s coming — the pink and blue puff that melts in your mouth, crystallizing to perfection...
The twirley, flashy things that nobody knows quite what they are, but glow with magnificence in the darkness…
The smell of the swaying elephants mixed with juvenile excitement generated from people of all ages...
The El Zagal Shrine Circus is on its way to Detroit Lakes, set for three shows on Thursday, March 22 at the Kent Freeman Sports Arena.
“They have the elephants, the Bengal tigers, three different animal acts…,” said Lowell Thompson of the DL Shriners, “and then last year we put some hooks into the ceiling at the arena so they will do some aerial acts, too — everybody really enjoys that.”
The high wire and trapeze acts are designed to dazzle, as the clowns clamor for laughs.
Thompson says the event is always a hit in Detroit Lakes, even to the point where they often sell out.
“Last year we turned 250 people away from the evening performance because the arena only holds 1,200 people,” said Thompson, “but we did provide those people with free tickets to the Fargo circus, so they weren’t too disappointed.”
Local fifth-graders will be saturating the day performances, which start at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. — a tradition that began 17 years ago when the Shriners decided to provide free shows to them.
Fifth graders will be descending on the arena from Detroit Lakes, Frazee, Lake Park-Audubon, Mahnomen, Waubun-Ogema-White Earth, Pelican Rapids, Park Rapids, Perham, Menaga and New York Mills.
“Now going around and selling advertising for our color book, I will sometimes get people who say they remember how they couldn’t wait to get to the fifth grade because they knew they’d get to go to the circus,” said Thompson, adding that roughly 1,400 students from the area are bused in for the show.
Another huge draw for local kids is the bike-giveaway.
About 60 children will win a bike at the circus this year, as local businesses chip in to sponsor the giveaway.
“At half-time kids will buy candy bars, and inside the wrapper it might say ‘free bike’, and so then they can go down and pick out the bike they want and get a picture with a Shriner,” said Thompson, “and then we’ll frame that picture and send it to the sponsor of that bike.”
read more at:
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Performers take to the stage and the air during the “Pop Goes the Rock” by Cirque Dreams show Wednesday at the Fargodome. Carrie Snyder / The Forum
FARGO - When the El Zagal Shrine Circus comes to the Fargodome next week, it has a tough act to follow.
By: John Lamb, INFORUM
Published March 14, 2012
FARGO - When the El Zagal Shrine Circus comes to the Fargodome next week, it has a tough act to follow.
The circuslike stage show Cirque Dreams had the crowd at the Fargodome ooohing, aaahing, gasping and clapping Wednesday night for the show “Pop Goes the Rock.”
The Shrine Circus may have animals and clowns, but Cirque Dreams combined dazzling acrobatics with popular music and a laser show to create an experience that was more like a concert.
The touring Cirque Dreams was part of the Dome’s Broadway series and staged in the Gate City Bank Theatre configuration.
The music really only exists as a rough interpretation of the performers’ amazing acts, like the suspended aero dance to “Up Where We Belong,” or the man in the hoop twirling to “Let it Ride/You Spin Me Round.”
All of which is fine, because there is very little story to follow: Jack jumps out of his jack-in-the-box (set to “Pop Goes the Weasel,” hence the name of the show) and runs around a fun house for two 40-minute sets.
And with one energetic performance after another, there didn’t need to be a story. Heck, there really didn’t need to be a song.
Two rollerskaters spinning in tight, fast circles on a roughly 5-foot diameter platform didn’t really need the band to play an extended version of “The Heat is On.” When I heard the woman behind me exclaim, “Oh, my god,” I knew it was because she also was amazed at how the male skater (Emanuel Medini-Conte) held his partner (Vanessa Medini-Conte) straight out by her ankle as they whipped about, and not that the audience member suddenly remembered how bad the Glenn Frey song was.
Vanessa Medini-Conte later returned to climb, fly and suspend herself from chains in an aerial show so impressive, you forgot you were hearing Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs.”
The musicians were fine, but the physical performers were the real stars, particularly the balancing men, Qiang Xie and Jian Zhang, when one held the other up inverted on just shoulder blades.
The young Jack (Henok Yazachew), who was flipped end over end like a rag doll by Temesgen Zada’s feet, impressed as well. After that thrilling segment, smartly set to the propulsive “I Want Candy,” the audience appreciated a 20-minute intermission to catch a breath and stretch. I know I got dizzy and my back hurt just watching it.
By the end of the show, my hands were sore from clapping so hard.
by Jon Penndorf
Capitol Hill, Capitol Hill South, DC
March 13th, 2012
No, this isn’t an allusion to a Republican party meeting. In fact, no politics are involved. The annual parade of performers and animals from Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus travels through Capitol Hill Tuesday evening, March 13. They will de-train near Garfield Park and traverse the neighborhood and city streets on their way to the Verizon Center, where the show plays a limited engagement this coming weekend.
Verizon Center, where the show plays a limited engagement this coming weekend.
In the spirit of this year’s show theme “Fully Charged,” the parade breaks tradition from years past and will occur in the evening. The circus folks promise the walk will light up the neighborhood.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m. but can vary due to train travel delays or traffic. According to Ringling Brothers, the route for the parade at press time is: “begin on Virginia Ave, S.E. and New Jersey Ave. S.E. (Garfield Park) moving west towards South Capitol Street, S.E. then heading north up Washington and Independence Ave S.W. past the National Mall and continuing up 3rd Street N.W. arriving at the Verizon Center via G Street N.W.” A map of the walk can be found here. Anticipated arrival time at the Verizon Center is 8:15 p.m.
For up-to-the-minute parade and arrival times you can call the Circus’s hotline at 1-866-683-3670 or follow them on Twitter at @DCElephantWalk.
So consider this your notice! Whether you are an avid annual spectator or just looking to avoid the area and traffic delays, know that tonight we will have random animals, clowns, and tumblers wandering our neighborhood streets. More exciting than a typical motorcade, no?
Pack Your Bags: Frazier Shows is Hiring for the 2012 Southwest State Fair Season
By Claire Lawton
Tue., Mar. 13 2012
?If you survived the french fry cube, enjoyed the sad farm animals, or totally killed it playing skee ball at the annual Arizona State Fair, we have good news.
Frazier Shows, the entertainment group behind large-scale fairs in Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and Texas is hiring for the 2012 season.
Frazier shows was founded in 1982 by Cecil Frazier and grew to be one of the largest carnival routes in the Southwest.
The Scottsdale based company is packing up and hitting the road for the 2012 season -- and it's looking for a few new cast members to "represent Americana at its best."
Frazier staff will be at Metrocenter Mall, 9617 North Metro Parkway in Phoenix from March 12 through 18, and at Anthem City Center, 41130 North Freedom Way, Anthem.
For more information, check out the Frazier website or call (602) 684-0632.
Mark Webb/The Herald-Dispatch
Children ride an elephant as the Piccadilly Circus visits the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, in Huntington.
March 15, 2012
HUNTINGTON -- Performers from around the world put their talents on display during two evening performances Wednesday at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
The Piccadilly Circus, which promises "nuclear thrills," made a stop in Huntington in its 25th year of touring the United States.
The circus includes the Elephant Extravaganza, featuring elephants from Africa and Asia, a dog performance and daredevil drivers in the circus' Motorcycle Madness performance.
Students at local elementary schools, preschools, day care centers and churches received free tickets to the show.
MORE PICTURES FOLLOW BELOW
By Alli Ligget • College Times
Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Scottsdale, Az---The Australian circus is coming to town, and it will be far from a Ringling Bros. affair.
All the way from the land down under comes Circa, a large-scale circus production starring acrobats who lift and throw each other, dance and perform to music by bands such as Radiohead.
The show is internationally recognized as one of Australia’s most innovative new circus companies. Circa is a blend of bodies, light, sound and new media synchronized to a hip soundtrack. The troupe has seven members who will perform acrobatics and tumbling, dance moves contortions and more at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts on March 16 and 17.
Circa is a Cirque du Soleil-style show is full of intense, dynamic and very physical aerobatics, said Cory Baker, director of the Scottsdale Center for the Arts.
“I saw them a few years ago and was blown away,” Baker said, adding she has seen the group perform at various international festivals. “They’re huge in Australia but they really don’t come to the US that often.”
Baker said she was impressed by the acrobatic feats as well as the soundtrack of the show.
“There’s a hip-ness factor to it,” she said. “They really do dance and play hip, cool, young music. I wanted to get the albums after seeing it.”
The center will host two Circa performances, one for kids and one for adults.
Baker said the kids’ show is more family oriented and fast-paced. The only difference in the adult show is one provocative piece. “It’s sexy,” she said.
Baker thinks Circa may have an affect on the circus culture in the United States.
JYMS student runs away with the circus
Brian D. Bridgeford / News Republic
Budding circus performer Mercury McCarthy of Baraboo rises unharmed from a basket that moments before was pierced by four swords Tuesday evening during rehearsal of a magic show at the Baraboo Civic Center. McCarthy and her mother, Jill Luce of Baraboo, leave today with Baraboo magician Tim Tegge, visible behind her, for a two-week Midwest tour with the Jose Cole International Circus.
By Brian Bridgeford, News Republic
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
A lifelong dream of performing in the circus will be fulfilled today as Baraboo middle school student Mercury McCarthy runs off on a two-week Midwest tour with local magician Tim Tegge.
McCarthy will serve as Tegge’s assistant during his magic show and perform her own juggling act as they join the Jose Cole International Circus.
As a newcomer to the show, Tegge has worked to teach McCarthy the keys to stage performance. While practicing their routine Tuesday, and under the watchful eye of McCarthy’s parents Jill Luce and Patrick McCarthy, Tegge called for his young assistant to focus on showmanship.
“Flirt with the audience a little bit,” Tegge said. “You need to make everyone fall in love with you.”
The 13-year-old is an eighth grader at Jack Young Middle School who said she always has been fascinated by circus acts.
“From when I was very little I would love to see all the (Milwaukee circus) parades and all the wagons being pulled,” she said. “I try to go to a circus almost every year.”
Patrick McCarthy said he remembers driving his daughter to school with her talking about her love for circus.
“She said, ‘Dad, it’s my dream,’” he said. “And it’s literally unfolding that way, to be able to seize it and do circus in a very traditional sense.”
Brian D. Bridgeford / News RepublicRookie
?First of May? circus performer Mercury McCarthy of Baraboo performs a type of juggling act called diabolo Tuesday evening during rehearsal at the Baraboo Civic Center. McCarthy and her mother, Jill Luce of Baraboo, leave today with Baraboo magician Tim Tegge for a two-week Midwest tour with the Jose Cole International Circus.
McCarthy said she learned some of the tricks of the trade from friends whose families were performers with a small circus. Though she hasn’t ever performed for an audience, she learned circus routines such as the flying trapeze and the diabolo juggling act.
Tegge said he used to live in the carriage house of the Ringling family mansion on Eighth Street. After he moved to a house a few doors down, McCarthy and her family moved in.
He got to know them as neighbors, and recently learned of her efforts to develop the juggling act. He later was impressed by her skills when he saw her practice the act at the Civic Center.
“I was expecting it to be some wide-eyed kid playing with the diabolo, dropping every trick, but she had a whole routine,” Tegge said. “I said, ‘Wow, I might be able to make use of your services.’”
Brian D. Bridgeford / News Republic
Baraboo magician Tim Tegge hypnotizes his assistant, rookie circus performer Mercury McCarthy of Baraboo, as part of a levitation illusion Tuesday evening at the Baraboo Civic Center. McCarthy and her mother, Jill Luce of Baraboo, leave today with Tegge for a two-week Midwest tour with the Jose Cole International Circus.
The day after witnessing McCarthy’s rehearsal, Tegge was asked to fill a pair of unexpected openings with the Jose Cole International Circus during the troupe’s Midwest tour. Tegge made the arrangements and the two will leave today to meet up with the rest of the performers.
“It’s a long-time dream come true,” McCarthy said. “Now I have this and can picture myself doing this in the future.”
Luce said she will travel with her daughter in an Airstream camper they borrowed from a friend. They also are working with McCarthy’s teachers to make sure she keeps up with her classes and homework while on the road.
Despite an early breakthrough in a possible circus career, McCarthy said she intends to remain focused on school as well.
Brian D. Bridgeford / News Republic
With a dramatic flourish, Baraboo magician Tim Tegge whips a support from beneath his assistant, budding circus performer Mercury McCarthy of Baraboo, during a Tuesday evening rehearsal at the Baraboo Civic Center. McCarthy and her mother, Jill Luce of Baraboo, leave today with Tegge for a two-week Midwest tour with the Jose Cole International Circus.
Tegge’s first performance will be Friday in Maquoketa, Iowa, followed by a show each day for the next 13 days. Mercury McCarthy’s final show for the tour will be at Hibbing, Minn. on March 29.
By Andrew Neff, BDN Staff
from: Bangor Daily News
Posted March 12, 2012
BANGOR, Maine — The feedback has been better than fair when it comes to the job Fiesta Shows has done with running the midway and attractions on the fairgrounds at Bass Park the last 21 years.
That’s why the Seabrook, N.H.-based carnival company will be back for another five years after unanimous approval by the Bangor City Council on Monday night of a new contract for Fiesta Shows to continue running the Bangor State Fair.
“I’ve been working with Fiesta Shows a long time as a councilor and they’ve shown a huge improvement in the marketing of the Bangor State Fair, from the cleanliness and professionalism to making it a nonsmoking area two years ago,” said Councilor Pat Blanchette.
The contract calls for Fiesta to pay $75,000 a year to the city of Bangor to rent the midway ground space at Bass Park, as well as a prorated share of the electric, water and sewer bills during the fair’s run. Fiesta also will pay for rental of camping facilities for its employees.
“The original deal we had with them was just a deal for the standard gate admission, but since going to the pay-one-price format in 2009, it’s worked very well for all of us,” said Bass Park Director Mike Dyer. “And we do have the ability to go back to the former gate admission system if we want.”
If the pay-one-price, which includes admission to the fair and entry onto all rides, system is continued, Bangor will get 62 percent of the first $650,000 in receipts, 55 percent of the next $49,999, and 50 percent of receipts more than $700,000.
“That’s one of the upsides of dealing with Fiesta Shows. We always have a lot of flexibility built into our contracts, which helps immensely,” Dyer said.
If a standard gate admission system is used, Bangor will retain all gate admission receipts and Fiesta also will pay Bangor 25 percent of the first $150,000 in ride receipts, 35 percent of the next $150,000, 45 percent of the next $150,000, and 30 percent of receipts more than $450,000.
Bangor council Chairman and Mayor Cary Weston was absent from Monday’s regular meeting and first-term Councilor Ben Sprague was elected by his fellow councilors to serve as honorary chairman for the session
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Nighttime circus parade entertains all generations of Washingtonians
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GETTY IMAGES - Elephants pose with their handlers in front of the US Capitol on March 13, 2012 during the annual Pachyderm Parade to celebrate the arrival of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to Washington.
By Robert Samuels,
Wednesday, March 14,2012
Six Asian elephants marched past the Capitol and clomped into the Verizon Center on Tuesday night. And for Phil Westmoreland, that wasn’t even the weirdest sight of the night.
Who the heck were all these young adults? He wondered.
Every year, Westmoreland, 47, makes it a point to be working at the Verizon Center on the day the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus comes to town. He hasn’t missed a parade in well over a decade. The elephants seem to him like old, very large friends.
But this year, for the first time, the circus paraded its pachyderms at night. It was more about convenience than business strategy, organizers said. The crew travels in a mile-long train — and it pulled into the station after sundown.
The unexpected result, spurred by a population of young adults who had scoured the Internet for something to do on an unusually balmy March evening, were that numbers of wide-eyed children watching the parade hardly outnumbered the wide-eyed young adults there, all sharing that same desire to be awestruck.
“Elephants walking in the city!” said Eric Daugherty, 27. “Thinking of it gives me sheer excitement. We wanted to do something a little silly.”
Daughtery came with two friends, Cara Lane and Shino Yoshen. He works as a development consultant, a profession that his friends called “soooooooo D.C.” They worked for a non-profit specializing in education efforts in the Mideast. That too, they admitted, was pretty D.C. Elephants? Not D.C. at all (except for the political variety).
“This is a city of suits and tourists,’’ Lane noted.
JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS) - Elephants from the The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus stand in front of the U.S. Capitol during a parade in Washington March 13, 2012.
By 8:15 p.m., hundreds had gathered along Sixth Avenue NW. For her fascination, Shannon Abbott felt a little guilty. She’s a 25-year-old legislative analyst, visiting her sister. She has heard allegations of bad treatment of circus elephants, which led to an animal-cruelty lawsuit that was recently settled for $270,000 (Ringling Bros. did not admit fault.) She knows elephants are stressed animals.
But how could they deny such a spectacle? They loved the circus as children. They recently saw “Water for Elephants.” It was about 8:30 p.m. — half an hour past the parade’s initial start — but most people had no plans to move.
“There they are!” someone shouted, hoisting his smartphone to grab a picture.
The old circus coming into town — at least the movies tell us — came in to the sounds of the calliope. This circus came in to the sounds of Katy Perry.
Music played as the elephants marched. The brown head of Asia, the head of the herd, blended into the night sky, but her red headdress, slumped down to her trunk, stood out clearly.
Asia sauntered along Sixth Street NW with her five fellow pachyderms: Banko, Tonka, Luna, Siam and Assari. Then came 10 pedicabs with 10 clowns. And a small woman sitting on a stationary trapeze. And 24 horses, including 13 Arabians.
From the pedicabs, the clowns looked at the throngs around them. Brandon Foster, 29, complete with a red nose, white make-up and a tooth painted black, loved the idea of a nighttime parade. He too was surprised by the size of the crowd and their passionate response, from all ages.
By the end of the parade, Foster was tired. The train had chugged in from Cincinnati. He wanted little else than to grab an extra slice of pizza, get to a hotel, take off his clown shoes and go to bed.
When he walked back outside, most of the crowd had dissipated. But three generations of women still lingered, waiting for a bit of circus magic. They were running late and had missed the elephants.
Louverne Bender, 65, still cherished her memories of working on the railroad in Greenville, S.C., and taking her daughter, Tanya, to get an early glimpse of clowns and elephants. Bender and her daughter, now 30, held out hope that young Khari and Danyelle, 9 and 11, would have the same experience.
“Excuse me,” Bender said to the clown. “Can we get a picture?”
“I hope you don’t mind that I have this pizza in the shot,’’ the clown told her. Big smiles.