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Friday, June 13, 2014

Circus comes to town with acrobats, clowns and even a superhero


Steve Kinderman
Chinese acrobats juggle during the opening performance of the Mehara Shrine Circus Tuesday at Carson Park.
From:  leadertelegram.com
By Emily Miels Leader-Telegram staff
June 10, 2014 
Eau Claire,WI--The crowd roared and cheered as tigers rolled over on command, trapeze artists flipped through the air and contortionists bent their bodies in ways that didn’t seem possible.
The young and young at heart gathered Tuesday at Carson Park for the 67th annual Mehara Shrine Circus, which featured a variety of entertaining animals, gravity-defying stunts and family-friendly activities.
“School is still in session, so we were a little worried (about attendance), but it seems good so far,” said Gari Spagnoletti, president of the Eau Claire Mehara Shrine Club, which puts on the annual event.
Izzy Beldin of Chippewa Falls, whose face was painted with a whimsical, fairylike design, came to the circus to celebrate her fifth birthday with her mom.
The best part, she said, was watching Sky-Man, the circus’s very own superhero, who swings through the air doing flips and tricks.
“I liked getting jumped over,” said 8-year-old Shaelee Dewitt, who got to go down into the ring.
Shaelee had to kneel down as the Extreme Team Squad — United States tumbling champions from Chicago — took a running leap and jumped over her and other volunteers.
“It was cool,” she said.
During intermission, 3-year-old twins named Lucas and Tyler watched in awe as a clown drew a face on their balloons.
“We got smiley faces,” Lucas said, excitedly waving his yellow balloon at his nanny, Jenner Kramer, who brought them to the circus.
If the cheers, laughter and smiles from kids and adults were any indication, the show was a success.
“It’s just fun to come out to the circus and hang out with family,” said Andy Mikesell of Mondovi.
Some of the money raised from the event is given to Shriners Hospital for Children in Minneapolis, which the Mehara Shrine Club helps support. Other profits go directly to the club, Spagnoletti said.
The club usually hosts the circus in Menomonie as well, but the facility they normally use is being renovated.
“So this is it,” Spagnoletti said about the Eau Claire show.
Those who missed Tuesday’s performances have a chance to see the spectacle live today at 11 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

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