Shriners Circus comes to town
A performers shows her gift of hula-hooping by turning herself into a Slinky at the Araba Shrine Circus at the Lee Civic Center on Thursday. foto by CHUCK BALLARO
By CHUCK BALLARO (email@example.com) , From: North Fort Myers Neighbor
April 2, 2014
"We, within our five-county area, have 500 kids who are patients in our Shriners hospital in Tampa, and we provide free transportation for those children for their treatments," said circus chairman Ken Wellborn.
Rita Morales' pre-K students at Morales Childcare in Fort Myers took a photo with Shriners clowns before the Araba Shrine Circus at the Lee Civic Center.CHUCK BALLARO
The kids were greeted by the Shiners clowns, and visited the petting zoo, where they got to feed an actual giraffe and show love to llamas and other exotics.
For the fourth straight year, Circus Hollywood was contracted by Shriners to produce the show, and they brought in the usual army of performers to entertain the fans.
Ringmaster John Wilson greets circus goers at the Araba Shrine Circus at the Lee Civic Center on Thursday. CHUCK BALLARO
They even had some audience participation.
Carlos Rubio of Fort Myers was brought into the ring by a superhero clown who shot long balloons into the crowd with a balloon bow; that is until ringmaster John Wilson told the clown to try using a real one blindfolded.
Rubio was unhurt, though he had to be carried out of the ring when the clown lost the key to the target to which he was chained.
"It was fun. These guys are professional," Rubio said while he carried his 2-year-old son with him. "They carried me backstage and showed me the way out."
The kids weren't the only ones who watched the thrills.
They bring out the elephants at the Araba Shrine Circus at the Lee Civic Center on Thursday.
Special Populations of Cape Coral came for the trip and seemed to have a great time as they had a great side view of the action.
"It was an opportunity to see the circus and the individuals that we serve enjoy seeing the clowns and animals," said Vicki Illenberg of Special Pops. "They always look forward to this."
The circus also had shows at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. for the family crowd. The event was not only a thrill for the kids, but for the performers who work pretty much year round, as the applause and routines never grow old.
A clown superhero gets ready to shot a balloon at Fort Myers resident Carlos Rubio at the Araba Shrine Circus at the Lee Civic Center on Thursday.
"This is the greatest feeling, when you see the kids just start cheering and screaming, it's wonderful feeling to entertain," Wilson said. "It's fun for people of all ages."
The Shriners hold circuses in roughly 120 cities per year (another 40 in Canada). They have 190 centers nationwide.
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