She joined the circus when she was in the fifth grade
By Steve Echeverria Jr.
Published: Thursday, March 19, 2009 at 1:00 a.m. Last Modified: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 2:33 p.m.
Mackinzie Deets has been juggling knives, balancing teeterboards and riding unicycles with PAL Sailor Circus for the past seven years.
Recently, the Sarasota High junior discovered another talent — making crowds laugh.
“I can be doing a clown skit or just talking to the crowd and get a reaction from them,” said the 17-year-old. “What a feeling.”
One of 130 teenagers and other youngsters carrying on a rich tradition as part of the circus’ 60th Anniversary Extravaganza show, Deets spoke with the Herald-Tribune about joining the circus, becoming a better juggler and bonding with Chinese acrobats.
How did you get involved with Sailor Circus?
When I was in the fifth grade, I was anchoring (my school’s news program) and we were doing a show on Sarasota Sailor Circus. It wasn’t PAL at the time. When I went home, I asked my mom what it was. I couldn’t believe when she said that it was a “real” circus, but all kids. She took me over to the tent and I remember walking in and just thinking, ‘wow!’ There were all these kids — juggling, on the trapeze, riding unicycles. It was just crazy. By the end of that week, I was signed up and haven’t left since.
What are you favorite circus memories?
I think actually figuring out that I can make people laugh. Another cool thing I have experienced that stands out was when we did a show with a group of Chinese acrobats. We spent all this time with them. They didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Chinese, but we all still formed a bond and figured out ways to communicate.
Why is Sailor Circus’ 60th anniversary important?
It’s a lot of history. When you go in our little museum and you see all the pictures from all these years, it’s very cool. I am part of the history in our town. Years from now there will be another group that looks back at our pictures. I can say I was part of that. Also, I don’t think that people understand what a “family” we all really are. It doesn’t matter what school you go to, or what friends you have at school, or where you live — we all are at the circus together