The circus comes to Mason City
Children enjoy an elephant ride during the Shrine Circus pre-party Sunday at the North Iowa Events Center
By PEGGY SENZARINO
MASON CITY | Dozens of lucky moms and kids spent Mother's Day under the Big Top at the North Iowa Events Center Sunday.
The pre-party for the 2014 North Iowa Shrine Club Circus brought many families out about an hour before show time for rides on an elephant, camel and ponies. The adventurous had their picture taken with a three-year-old red tail boa constrictor.
A trip to the circus is a tradition for twins Taylor and Leah Brown and their parents, Jessica and Brian, of Swaledale.
"We come every single year," Jessica Brown said. "We've been coming since they were about 4 years old. It's something they enjoy coming to. They love it. They love the elephants and they love riding the ponies."
The girls talked about riding the elephant.
"It was a lot of fun to be up high," Taylor said.
Charlie Marie Larsen, 5, from Fertile, participates in a dance competition lead by Lenny Hoops, the circus master of ceremony, during the circus pre-party Sunday at the North Iowa Events Center.
"It feels kind of scary, but once you get moving it doesn't feel very scary," Leah said. She added that the seat, "doesn't hurt your butt or anything."
Donna Hammen, Mason City, brought her great-granddaughter Charlie Marie Larsen, 5, of Fertile, to the circus.
Charlie, her face painted like a cheetah, munched on pink cotton candy.
"I haven't been to the circus since I was a small child," Hammen said. "She spotted the ad in the newspaper and asked me to bring her.
"This is the best time. This a wonderful thing to do and on Mother's Day."
The circus' master of ceremonies Lenny Hoops entertained the kids with music and games. Kids jumped up and down as he played a drum and sang "What time is it? It's party time."
The proceeds support Shriner's Hospitals for Children.
Taylor Brown, 7, left, from Swaledale, and her twin sister Leah hula hoop during the circus pre-party Sunday at the North Iowa Events Center.
Jennifer Lawson from Thompson and her two boys, Leighton, 3, and Jase, 11 months, take an elephant ride during the circus pre-party Sunday at the North Iowa Events Center.