Staff photo by Steve Kinderman
Shrine Circus elephant
Two-year-old Jenaya Deiss of Eau Claire and her mother, Lacey, "steer" an elephant during a ride at intermission of the Mehara Shrine Club Circus on Tuesday at Carson Park. The circus will have two more shows at Carson Park today and two more in Menomonie on Thursday.
By Jon Swedien Leader-Telegram staff
Wed Jun 12, 2013.
Eau Claire, WI---Tigers, elephants, camels and aerial acrobats brought smiles to dozens of young faces Tuesday morning at Carson Park.
Children and their parents ate blue and pink cotton candy while holding balloon animals and watching daredevils and animal tricks at the 66th annual Mehara Shrine Club Circus.
"It's a different form of entertainment we like to bring to the Chippewa Valley than the usual stuff," said Kevin Johnson, secretary for the Mehara Shrine Club.
The circus performed twice at Carson Park on Tuesday and will present two more shows today in Eau Claire, before moving to Menomonie for two shows on Thursday.
"It's just something to do on a summer day," said Teresa Biederman with her 2-year-old son, Devin, in tow.
The young boy was looking forward to seeing an elephant, his mother said.
Johnson said he started attending the circus as a member of the club in the mid-1970s.
Over the years, the circus hasn't changed much, except that some acts have been added over the years and performers have improved their craft.
The circus performers are members of George Carden Circus International of Springfield, Mo., which, according to its website, has produced the Shrine Circus for 50 years.
The circus has been able to maintain its allure after all these years in part, Johnson said, because it contains an element of drama.
While the Internet has made watching amazing feats easy — they're just a few mouse clicks or key strokes away — Johnson said the live act can't be topped.
"How many kids get to pet an elephant ... or watch live tigers that growl at them?" Johnson asked. "... You don't get that on a flat screen."
The circus acts include a tiger show, a trapeze act, a minielephant, aerial dancers, performing camels and elephants, a balancing act, performing dogs, ATV daredevils, clowns and motorcycle daredevils.
All proceeds from the event benefit the local Mehara Shrine Club and its charitable