THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO MY TWIN BROTHER, BILL DYKES (1943-1995). WE WERE NOT ONLY BROTHERS BUT PARTNERS IN BUSINESS AND BEST FRIENDS!AND TO ALL THE "BUTCHERS" THAT HAVE PASSED ON TO THE BIG LOT IN THE SKY!
The 76th annual Hadi Shrine Circus opened at Roberts Stadium on Thursday, November 26, 2009
Adrian Poema Jr., 8, is pushed into the air by his father, Adrian, below, during an acrobatic perfomance with his mother, Nellie, left, and two sisters, not pictured, at the 76th annual Hadi Shrine Circus at Roberts Stadium on Thursday, November 26, 2009.
Juergen Nerger, right, guides his lion, Caeser, through a ring of fire during a performance he does with his wife, Judit, lower left, at the 76th annual Hadi Shrine Circus at Roberts Stadium on Thursday, November 26, 2009.
CIRCUS REVIEW: "Zing Zang Zoom" Through Sunday at the Allstate Arena, Rosemont; then Nov. 17-29 at the United Center in Chicago; Running time: 2 hours, 10 minutes; Tickets: $13-$60 at 800-745-3000 or http://www.ringling.com/
Each edition of the Greatest Show on Earth is a blend of circus traditionalism—elephants, tigers, Chinese acrobats—and whatever the great minds at Feld Entertainment think is necessary to attract and stimulate today’s over-attracted and over-stimulated kids. Apparently, the thing of the moment is wizardry, and I suspect we have Harry Potter to thank for that.
A high-wire version of Quidditch would doubtless have brought up pesky rights issues. But the Harry-less 139th edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus still contains a lot more magic and illusions than any of its recent predecessors. “Circus celebrities” (the name Feld gives to its high-paying premium customers) even get to levitate their parents, a nifty trick that they’re told will be very useful if they’re ever looking for a raise in allowance. Even the ringmaster has been re-christened as the “Zingmaster.” If it weren’t for the absence of sultry assistants and the comforting smell of the pachyderms, you’d think you were watching a David Copperfield show. Or maybe poor Siegfried and Roy (which Feld also produced). In the second act of “Zing Zang Zoom,” we get to see a tiger disappear. I was more interesting in seeing the video screen that dominated too many prior editions disappear. And I am happy to note that Ringling Bros. has finally realized that its appeal does and should lie entirely in three dimensions. Now if only it could make that illuminated, blackout-killing concession booth at the back of the arena disappear. This seductive grotto of high-priced plastic is tolerable at intermission; making kids drool and parents hang on to their billfold for the entire show goes way, way too far. Otherwise, “Zing Zang Zoom” is a good time. Illusions are tough to pull off in a massive arena, but these tricks (many executed by clowns) are all remarkably clear and impressive. I confess a weakness for the human cannonball, a specialty act that always delivers a good bang for your buck. In this case, you get two bangs, since “Zing Zang Foom” features a twin set of cannonballs, occupied by two glamorous astronauts (if that’s the right term), including the Russian Ekaterina Borzikova, not to mention Tina Miser, from exotic Peru. Peru, Indiana.
The wheel of death, which shows up once again, is ready for retirement. But the clowning of Alan “Tweedy” Digweed (aka Mr. Gravity) was chipper; and this was a welcome return for the head-churning act of Clara Ruiz and Fabio Melo da Silva, who hang themselves from the ceiling and play badminton. All this, zebras, performing pooches and the International Folkloric Dancers. Who said vaudeville was dead? It just ran away with the circus. Chicago Tribune, by Chris Jones 10/12/09
A number of games are available for all ages to play at the Geren Rides carnival in the parking lot of Valdosta Mall.
The Zipper is just one of the many festive rides available at the Geren Rides carnival located next to Buffalo Wild Wings in the parking lot of Valdosta Mall. Jonathan Chick /
Published November 13, 2009 09:48 pm - Geren Rides has returned to Valdosta Carnival returns to winter resting place By Matt Flumerfelt VALDOSTA — Geren Rides, the family-owned, Georgia-based carnival, is back and they plan to stay awhile. General Manager Frank Sutton said the carnival opened on Wednesday and plans to keep the rides running until shortly before Thanksgiving. The traveling carnival business dried up in Valdosta for several years, Sutton said, because of Wild Adventures. When Geren Rides returned last spring, however, he said the response was good, despite some weather issues. The Valdosta Mall liked their operation, so they decided an encore was in order. Sutton said that for now, they plan to come to Valdosta twice a year, in spring and winter. “We really used to excite people when we came here. Kids would come out, wanting to help set up, but they can’t do that now because of Georgia law. We try to give people a good bargain for their dollar and we offer good, clean family entertainment,” he said. Valdosta should be a good starting and concluding point for the carnival. Geren Rides stores its rides and equipment in Dasher. Geren Rides has been continuously operating for 67 years, he said. The carnival bills itself as the world’s finest midway, and travels to Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, in addition to Georgia. They even have a unit in Coney Island, he said, but that park is temporarily closed for renovation. Sutton himself belongs to one of the oldest carnival families in the U.S., he said, stretching back five generations on one side and four generations on the other. His great grandfather started in the business in 1869 with a horse with two tails, and went on from there. The Geren family added several new rides this time around, he said, including the Ring of Fire, the Gravitron, the Zipper and the Trabant. Hours of operation are Friday 5-11 p.m. or later, Saturday 5-11 p.m. or later, and Sunday 2-10 p.m. or later. “We have a strong Kiddieland for young kids and strong major rides for the teenagers,” he said. Other attractions include The Screaming Bullet, The Scrambler, The Cobra, Sammy’s Speedway, The Himalaya, Spin Out, The Prize Factory and The Super Slide. Concession stands offer traditional carnival fare such as Sno Kones, Hawaiian shaved ice, fresh squeezed lemonade, cotton candy, funnel cakes, sausage, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and cold drinks. Restrooms are provided for patrons. Sutton said Geren Rides offers a lot of good discounts, like a $12 armband from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday that let’s youngsters ride as long as they like, and $3 discount coupons good Monday through Thursday. Single tickets are $1, regular armbands are $16, and patrons can buy 20 tickets for $18 or 40 tickets for $36. Tickets are good anytime, he said.