Clowns delight the audience during the Barak Shrine Circus at the Monroe Civic Center.
The News-Star file photo
Written by William Caverlee
Feb 27, 2013
The 2013 edition of the Barak Shrine Circus opens Friday for a three-day stand at the Monroe Civic Center. The annual event is the Shrine Center's biggest fund-raiser of the year, and local members will be on site all three days, according to circus chairman, Cliff Hall.
Organizing and planning the circus is a year-round activity for the Shriners, who, as always, will be selling their traditional favorites: cotton candy, Cracker Jacks, ICEEs, circus programs, t-shirts, baseball caps and novelties. In their preparations, Shriners also organize local volunteer groups to assist at performances, collect bicycles for giveaways, and donate tickets to grade schools, plus veteran's, nursing and children's homes.
As the Shriners put the final touches on their clown costumes and tune-up their motorcycles, miniature cars and scooters, the James Cristy Cole Circus has rolled into town from its last appearance in Nebraska. Producer James Plunkett has collected 20 acts for his family-owned circus, headlined by a troupe of Bengal tigers and the motorcycle thriller, Globe of Death.
Plunkett, a Texan, grew up in a circus family; his grandfather and great-grandfather once performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. Plunkett's co-producer is his wife, Cristine Herriott-Plunkett, who also comes from a circus family and has her own horse and animal act. Their daughter, Star Cristy, is an aerialist and a trainer of Alaskan malamutes. The Plunketts' two sons have a trampoline act.