Parade group may offer Circus World grant money
BY Ben Bromley
Money left over from the last Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee may yet benefit Circus World Museum.
During his report Thursday to the nonprofit board that operates Circus World, Executive Director Scott O’Donnell said the Great Circus Parade Inc. has $55,000 left from the 2009 parade. The parade group may use that sum as seed money to offer matching grants to fund operational needs at Circus World.
“It could become sort of a yearly operation,” O’Donnell said. “It’s exciting.”
He also told the Circus World Museum Foundation board that organizers of this summer’s gala fundraiser have amassed about $150,000 toward their $190,000 goal for the event. That puts the gala ahead of last year’s pace.
“We should not take our foot off the pedal, to be sure,” O’Donnell said.
Cool weather limited attendance at the museum’s opening weekend, especially among Boy Scouts who were scheduled to camp out at the Sauk County Fairgrounds. Still, thanks to a $1 ticket price increase, revenue for the weekend was up. The museum netted about $11,550 for the opening weekend, up from about $9,700 the year before.
O’Donnell also reported on the Big Top Parade and Circus Celebration set for July. Entering its second year, the event has grown into a four-day festival, starting with a circus-themed installment of Concerts on the Square on July 24. Other festivities include a concert at the Al. Ringling Theatre by parade grand marshal Tom Wopat, the parade and circus festival, and a car show. “It really has expanded into a four-day celebration in town, with a goal of getting people here and keeping them here,” O’Donnell said. “We have a lot to trumpet.”
In other news, O’Donnell reported:
Candidates for the museum’s new development director position soon will be interviewed.
The long, bitter winter dried out the Gavioli band organ, which needs to be restored. “It’s one of our wonderful elements that makes a connection with our guests,” O’Donnell said.
Renovation of the museum’s steam calliope is 90 percent complete.
Circus World, Inc. has raised $16,000 toward restoration of the Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe float. “That allows us to start and get into it,” O’Donnell said.