Circus returns - with many new, exciting acts
The James Cristy Cole Circus will be in North Platte on May 29. Tickets are available at several local businesses.
By Heather Johnson
May 25, 2014
The circus will return to North Platte on May 29 with new acts and new performers.
“About 80 percent of the entertainment is new this year,” said James Plunkett, producer of the James Cristy Cole Circus. “We mix it up because if someone sees the same thing year after year, they won’t come back.”
Among the changes — bears and tigers are out and alligators and elephants are in.
“We have an alligator king who puts about five of these 7- to 8-foot alligators in a ring and does tricks with them,” Plunkett said. “There’s also a high wire act, elephant rides and aerialists. There’s a great new dog act, big horses and little horses will perform together, and the clown is different from the one we had before.”
Plunkett has been traveling to North Platte for about 20 years. Although based out of Mabank, Texas, the circus has ties to west central Nebraska.
“Interestingly enough, my grandfather started a show in Dickens in the 1920s,” Plunkett said. “My family lived in the community from the mid-teens until 1929 when their house burned down. After that, they took the show on the road, touring nationally and internationally.”
Plunkett has returned to his roots with a month-long tour of Nebraska. McCook, Lexington, Ord and Kearney are just some of the places the circus will be.
The event at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds will benefit the North Platte Shrine Club.
“A lot of that money is used for scholarships for local music students in band and choir,” said Ron Johanson, president of the North Platte Shrine Club. “We select band members to play in the Shrine Bowl, which will be at Kearney this year. We also support Shrine football players and Shrine soccer players.”
Johanson said tickets for the circus were handed out at area schools. They can also be picked up at the North Platte/Lincoln County Visitors Bureau, Westfield Pharmacy, The North Platte Telegraph, Adams Bank and Trust, Gary’s Super Foods, U.S. Bank and the Janssen Auto Group.
According to Johanson, tickets for adults are $10 in advance or $12 at the gate. Admission for junior and senior high school students is $8. Children elementary school age and younger will be let in for free.
There will be two performances of the circus at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.
“The circus is kind of like nostalgic history,” Plunkett said. “Plus, it’s live entertainment. Anything can happen.”