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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ocean City, Md Boardwalk Icon Turns 100

(Photo: WBOC)
Dolle's Candyland on the Ocean City boardwalk turns 100 this year.

Reported by Steve DorseyOcean City

Updated: Apr 23, 2010 7:28 AM EDT

Fourth-generation owner Andrew Dolle said his store sells 75,000 gallons of caramel popcorn and 75,000 pounds of salt water taffy each year.
Dolle said the store has become a part of who he is.
"I don't think I could ever walk away from making candy," Dolle said. "If I ever left Dolle's Candyland- which I don't think would ever happen--I would still have to be making candy."
The store is planning a celebration for its 100th anniversary for October.


Ari Steeples, ringmaster for the NAJA Shrine Circus, announces the opening of the circus in the Don Barnett Arena at the Civic Center on Friday afternoon, April 30, 2010. (Toby Brusseau/Journal staff
The elephant in the room: Young and old flock to Shrine Circus
Cindy Card Buchholz Journal Correspondent
Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010 6:00 pm

Wanted: Elephant riders now through Sunday. No experience required.
The elephants are part of the 60th NAJA Shrine Circus going on now through Sunday at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Circus-goers have the opportunity to hitch a ride on an elephant before the start of each show and again during the intermission.
Five-year-old James Graves of Rapid City said Friday that he was not afraid to ride high atop one of the elephants by himself. His father, Eric Graves, stayed on the ground and took pictures. This was James's third circus and his 6-week-old sister Sofia's first. His mother, Katie Graves, said the Shrine Circus is a very affordable outing for families and something all kids should experience at least once.
People can take in two hours of live entertainment that includes animal acts, a variety of human circus performances and comedy skits.
"Circuses are one of our hallmarks and our biggest fundraisers," Lowell Holmgren, past potentate for the NAJA Shriners, said. Circuses are also a method of public visibility, he said.
"We like people to know who we are, what we do and what we stand for."
He said the Shriners' primary philanthropy is hospitals for children.
"We own and operate 22 hospitals across North America that deal with orthopedic problems in children" -- specifically, problems associated with bones, the major muscles, muscular dystrophy, cleft palates and spina bifida, he said.
"We also treat children who suffer burn injuries."
Gloria Gilbert of Rapid City said she attends the circus just about every year and likes supporting what the Shriners do.
"I don't mind spending money for a good cause," she said.
Holmgren said the other thing Shriners stand for is fun, and they make a conscious effort to present an entertaining experience for the public that is also affordable.
"We make money, and that helps support our operations and keep us here, and we want to make it available to as many people as possible," he said.
The Shriners donated hundreds of tickets for Friday's matinee performance to area nursing homes and schools.
Denzel Black Bull, 10, rode one of two school buses from Porcupine School to attend Friday afternoon's circus. He and fellow fourth-graders Tre Mesteth and Tyrell Killsback amassed quite a collection of toys the Shriners sold, including strobe swords, glow slime and laser guns. Black Bull said he spent most of his allowance before the circus even started, but he was pretty sure he'd buy more.
"I saved some money for the intermission," he said.
Luiza Obando, left, adds glitter to Kelly Smith's lion painted face, of Spearfish, at the NAJA Shrine Circus on Friday afternoon, April 30, 2010. (Toby Brusseau/Journal staff)
Sheyla Torales, member of the circus, balances on a rope high off the ground on Friday afternoon, April 30, 2010. (Toby Brusseau/Journal staff)

Alan Burck, tiger trainer, hugs the Bengal tiger Sherkan at the circus on Friday afternoon, April 30, 2010. (Toby Brusseau/Journal staff)

Mr. Rafas, the clown, stretches out his glove during his performance at the circus on Friday afternoon, April 30, 2010. (Toby Brusseau/Journal staff)

Indiana Pentado, contortionist, balances on one arm during her act at the circus on Friday afternoon, April 30, 2010. (Toby Brusseau/Journal staff)

David Smith, the human cannon ball, will be shot out of the cannon at the circus this weekend. Smith is 68 years old and has been shot out of the cannon over 9000 times. (Toby Brusseau/Journal staff)

Friday, April 30, 2010



Rae Thibodaux (left), 10, and Cierra Navarre, 6, of Thibodaux ride the “Kite Flyer” Thursday at the Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair.

Threat of rain doesn’t dampen fair’s first night

Perry PitreCorrespondent
Published: Friday, April 30, 2010

THIBODAUX — Rain forecast for the weekend didn’t dampen the first night of the Thibodaux Firemen’s Fair, which drew crowds that packed the fairgrounds Thursday evening. The annual fundraiser for the Thibodaux Volunteer Fire Department runs through Sunday at the Firemen’s Fairgrounds on Tiger Drive.
The Fire Department could not provide a figure for estimated attendance on opening night, but a police officer at the event guessed the crowd was better than 2,000.
Alice Dupre of Thibodaux, whose daughter’s home is in prime parking area along Tiger Drive, is used to the throngs of cars and trucks that show up for the fair.
“We get a lot of vehicles,” Dupre said from her daughter’s front yard. “If it’s busy, Tiger Drive doesn’t stop. There’s no use going all the way to the fair, cause those places are all taken up already. You never know, though, if the weather is bad, it could be slow.”
With the chance of rain forecasted to go from 30 percent on Friday to 80 percent on Sunday, wary eyes were cast upward as gray clouds rolled in around sunset.
“Those aren’t clouds,” Joseph Ayo, Fire Department president joked, “That’s smoke coming from the burns in the Gulf.”
Fire Chief Mike Naquin said despite the effort firefighters put into getting a wide array of bands, rides and food, fickle weather is always a concern. “If it rains, we’re not going to have as good a fair as if the weather was nice,” Naquin said. “But I’m not even looking at the weather. I’m looking at it like we’re going to have a good fair, we’re going to have a good night tonight, and not have any problems. You can’t do anything about it, so you might as well make the best of it.”

Just in case if your wondering it's in Louisianna

Friday, April 30, 2010, 4:54pm

Circus comes to amaze, thrill and spend
The Business Review (Albany) .
When the circus comes to town, they will more than just perform acts that amaze and thrill.
They will spend.
The mile-long train bringing Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to Albany, New York, arrives next Tuesday for nine shows running from May 6-9.
When they depart, they will have spent about $1.2 million, said Tom Albert, vice president of Feld Entertainment, the parent company and producer of Ringling Bros. as well as other attractions such as Disney on Ice.
Most of the 300 performers stay on the train during their Albany stay. (The circus has been coming to Albany every year since 1919). Those working with the animals stay with the animals either on RVs or within the Times Union Center.
But the circus calculates it spends about $1.2 million for the nearly week-long visit. Albert said that spending includes taxes, renting the Times Union Center, local supplies, produce for the animals, sugar for cotton candy, among other ideas.
“That doesn’t include the money people pay at the arena,” he said.
And Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey estimate some 50,000 people will come to this year’s circus, titled Zing Zang Zoom, which has a magic theme. For example, “Zingmaster” Alex Ramon will make a four-ton elephant appear to disappear.
In the past five years, 250,000 people have attended the circus at the Times Union Center. Tickets sell for between $15 and $100.
Bob Belber, the Times Union Center’s general manager, said the circus has been a great act to host.
“We’ve obviously seen hug crowds, lots of families that enjoy the circus,” he said. “The circus has a huge impact on our market. The downtown businesses and restaurants really survive as a result of the events that take place here at the building.”
Feld produces some seven or eight different acts, including monster truck shows, that come to the Times Union Center. Belber said Feld operates a third of the events coming to the center.
“It’s very important in my mind that we continue to develop that relationship,” Belber said. “It’s a win-win for both them and the facility—and our market.”
Albert said Albany has been a good venue for Ringling Bros.
“You can’t compare it to Madison Square Garden [in New York City],” Albert said. “But to comparable markets, I think it’s pretty good. Obviously, we keep coming back.”


Short, but still sweet: Annual Maple Festival thrives despite disappointing sap season

from Chagrin Solon Sun---Chargrin Falls, Ohio, April 30, 2010

Steeped in tradition, the Maple Festival offered thrilling rides, fast food and family fun on Chardon Square. The historic county courthouse, right, appears to be watching over the event. The Ferris wheel-type ride was grounded after two girls were slightly injured Friday evening when they were not fastened in on their ride

Joan Rusek/Sun News


Friday, April 30, 2010
Come to the circus
Waterbury Republican American
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Children Of All Ages. The Greatest Show On Earth just got greater with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents Barnum's FUNundrum next week at the XL Center in Hartford. Featuring 130 performers from six continents, almost 100,000 pounds of performing pachyderms, cowboys, pirates, and mermaids, Barnum's FUNundrum is a super-sized spectacle.
This once-in-a-lifetime event celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Connecticut's own, the legendary P.T. Barnum.
Ringmaster Jonathan Lee Iverson, a University of Hartford Hartt School 1998 graduate in voice performance, sings upbeat numbers and invites the audience to leap aboard the Ringling Bros. train and go on a family adventure to meet exotic characters and witness thrilling performances that attempt to answer Barnum's FUNundrum, "What special wonders create The Greatest Show On Earth?"
Barnum's FUNundrum provides hours of entertainment that is fun for the whole family for about the price of a movie ticket.
Step right up and see the Flying Caceres attempt to complete the elusive quadruple somersault on the flying trapeze; a feat that hasn't been mastered in over three decades. Watch the Puyang troupe from China dazzle with a stunning display of dexterity as they bounce, flip, and twirl to new heights on a two-tiered trampoline..
Arrive 90 minutes before the show for the Animal Open House where you will meet and learn about the animals and their handlers. Arrive 60 minutes before show time for the All Access Pre-show to meet the performers and some animals up close.
Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m., and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday, and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $15, $20, and $25, with VIP floor seats at $45 and Circus Celebrity seats at $85 that allow participation in the show. and available by calling (800) 745-3000 or visiting or



Workers secure pegs for Carson & Barnes Circus big top tent in the parking lot of Mount Berry Square Mall on Wednesday. (Brittany Hannah/RN-T)
April 29, 2010
Workers were setting up today for the Carson and Barnes Circus,
which is at Mt. Berry Square mall today and Thursday. Showtimes are 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. both days. Tickets with a coupon are $5. Tickets without a discount are $18 for adults and $10 for children under $12. To get a coupon, visit or the Guest Services Desk at the mall.

FLASHBACK: Police Circus was St. Louis springtime ritual.
By Bob Kuban
Friday, April 30, 2010

Sometime in early June, Circus Flora will bring its one ring European-style circus to a location near Powell Hall. Recently, the Shrine Circus brought its magic to the Family Arena in St. Charles. Whether it’s a death-defying feat on a high wire or a bunch of clowns getting out of an old rattletrap, the circus offers entertainment that appeals to old and young alike.
But, at one time, circus promoters wanted to draw a new (and powerful) generation to the circus: teenagers. Most likely, teenagers were identified as an up-and-coming demographic who had money to spend on entertainment. Teenagers were buying records and going to movies. Why not the circus?
What would bring teenagers to the circus? Well, rock and roll for one thing.
For many years, the Police Circus was a springtime ritual in St. Louis. It benefited the St. Louis Police Relief Association and, for two weeks, Kiel Auditorium provided the space for some of the most phenomenal Big Top shows you can imagine. This thing had it all: three rings and lions, tigers, elephants, high wire acts, clowns, a live orchestra, the works.

The first part of each performance featured the many animal acts and aerial performers. The second part featured a variety show. One year, it featured Frankie Avalon, Bob Kuban and The In-Men, two of the stars from “The Addams Family” TV show, and The Four Little Step-Brothers, tap-dancing kids who knocked everybody out with their moves.
Circus invites city lawmakers to see show
By JORDAN CARLEO-EVANGELIST, Staff writer : Friday, April 30, 2010
lawmakers have a formal invite to the circus.
(We know what you're thinking -- they already have front row seats.) Seriously, though.
In an effort to combat a proposed ordinance that would ban the display of exotic animals for entertainment -- a measure aimed specifically, if not exclusively, at Ringling Bros. -- the circus' parent company, Feld Entertainment, has invited members of the Common Council's law committee for a behind-the-scenes look at how Ringling Bros. does business.
The Greatest Show on Earth is scheduled to begin an eight-show run at the county-run Times Union Center on South Pearl Street next week.
Councilman Anton Konev, singling out Ringling Bros. in his press release, proposed the ban earlier this month, saying the treatment of circus animals is often inhumane and that "the abuse is traditional, entrenched and begins when elephants are only months old."
Feld's vice president for government relations, Tom Albert, has responded by inviting council members to look for themselves.
And while Konev's proposal has won plaudits from groups like PETA and the Humane Society, Times Union Center General Manager Bob Belber and County Executive Michael Breslin's office are fretting about the potential economic impact on the county, which is already struggling with declining sales tax revenue.
"There are consequences and impacts," Belber said, noting the spillover effect the crowded shows have on nearby restaurants and bars.
And while Feld has not threatened to pull other programming, Belber acknowledged that banning the circus could affect whether the Virginia-based company would be willing to book its other shows, which include Disney On Ice, at the arena.
"It's not a case of well, if we can't bring the circus, well we're going to take our other shows and go away," Feld's Albert said. But, he added, "If the circus could no longer go there, that could become a factor in whether or not some of the other properties could continue to go there."
He said the ordinance would also seem to bar from Albany rodeos controlled by the company.
Albert said the circus alone typically plugs $1 million into the local economy in a week's run, a figure he said doesn't include peripheral impacts on restaurants, bars and parking garages.
But money aside, Albert said, the premise of the ordinance is flawed.
"They get the best of care. We're very proud of that," he said of the animals. "Even putting things like economic impact aside, that's why we oppose this. It's just wrong. ... The way our customers vote is they come to our shows, they buy our tickets, and that should count for something."
from the, Albany, NY


Water sprays out of Jack Cook's car as he performs Thursday during the Piccadilly Circus at the Show Me Center
Piccadilly Circus draws out smiles with animals, acrobats
Friday, April 30, 2010
By Melissa Miller ~ Southeast Missourian

Smiling children with their bellies full of cotton candy clapped as acrobats flew through the air Thursday as the Piccadilly Circus performed at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau. Tina Lowe of Sikeston, Mo., brought her grandson to see his first circus.
"I rode the elephant and got to pet his ear," said Peyton Mitchel, 4.
Along with elephant rides available before the show and during intermission, children could purchase cups of peanuts to feed to the elephant.
When his trainer wasn't looking, the elephant stuck his trunk into the peanut bucket and helped himself to a big scoop.
Other performing animals included a kangaroo that hopped into a boxing ring to take on human competitors and cats that jumped through hoops and walked tightropes.
Pony rides and face painting were popular with children in the audience.
For brothers Banner Meyer, 10, and Brett Meyer, 8, the "Motorcycle Madness Chamber of Doom" was their favorite part of the Piccadilly Circus performance.
"I want to do it too," Brett Meyer said. The boys' grandmother, Molesia Crittenden of Jackson, brought them to the circus where they enjoyed popcorn and snow cones.
In the "Chamber of Doom" two motorcyclists rode together, criss-crossing each other's paths as they went around and upside-down inside a large steel ball.
The show featured several Cirque du. Soleil-style acrobatic performers in shimmering costumes using poles, ropes and rings suspended from the ceiling.
The show's clowns kept the crowd laughing in between acts with their slapstick comedy routines that included unsuspecting audience volunteers.
The Piccadilly Circus gave two evening performances, one at 4:30 p.m. and a second at 7:30. Together, the shows brought in just more than 3,500 people.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


“ I, am a fully rounded human being, with a degree from the University of Life, a diploma from the School of Hard Knocks, and three gold stars from the Kindergarten of having the sh*t kicked out of me. "


Victor Calhoun/Press-Register
Richard Prinsloo cleans a merry-go-round Tuesday in preparation for the Greater Gulf State Fair's inaugural May Fest, which runs Wednesday-Sunday.

Greater Gulf State Fair's May Fest runs through Sunday

By Lawrence F. Specker April 28, 2010,
.For fans of corn dogs, the carnival midway and “Midnight Madness,” the Greater Gulf State Fair has always been a once-per-year thrill.
But not this year: Fair organizers are presenting their first-ever May Fest, an event that opens Wednesday and runs through Sunday at the fairgrounds in West Mobile.
The concept is straightforward: You won’t find the agricultural and livestock exhibits that the fair offers, or the rodeo, or the lineup of music and other entertainment.
But you will get a midway featuring nearly 30 rides, and games as well. About a dozen vendors will offer food and drink. And as a bonus, about two dozen arts and crafts booths will be open for business.
The prices are rock-bottom: Admission tickets were $1 in advance and are $2 at the gate for every patron age 2 and up.
Fair manager Billie Blackwell said the event’s smaller footprint is deliberate: Organizers still want the fall Fair to be the main event. But they wanted to make sure that for fans of the midway rides and games, May Fest offers plenty of bang for the buck.
“We’re just excited about a spring festival,” she said. “It’s something new for us ... and we’d like to make it an annual event.”from The Mobile Press Register
Lace up your big, floppy clown, or running shoes, put on your red nose and join NBC 5 for the 2nd Annual Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Red Nose Run Saturday, May 22 at Woodall Rodgers Plaza in Dallas.
Packet pickup starts at 6:30 A.M. and proceeds benefit the American Heart Association. The run is an opportunity for “Children of All Ages” to get moving by running or walking at the Fun Walk of 5K Run with friends and family.
Embrace your inner circus performer with actual circus performers showing you action packed CircusFit® approach to health and fitness by combining the fun of circus skills with stretching, strength building and aerobic exercise.
All paid race participants receive a ticket to the “Greatest Show on Earth” so register today!
For more information visit
Ringling Bros. Red Nose RunSaturday, May 22 Woodall Rodgers Plaza Dallas, TX 75219
EVENT SCHEDULE 6:30 AM: Race day registration & packet pick up7:45 AM: CircusFit Warm Up8:00 AM: Circus Stroll Along8:30 AM: Ringling Bros. Red Nose Run 5K9:30 AM: CircusFit Cool Down and Circus Celebration10:15 AM: Awards
REGISTRATION FEES $30 If Postmarked by May 15, 2010$35 After May 15, 2010$40 Race Day$15 Children 12 and under$80 Family Package – Includes two adult entries and two entries for children 12 and underAll registered runners will receive a cotton short sleeve T-shirt, one Ringling Bros.® ticket and red clown nose, and a goodie bag.
Heinz Kluetmeier/Feld Entertainment

Young magician adds zing to circus tradition, 4/29/10
FAIRBORN — Many things about the 139th edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus are typical of the attraction.
There are Asian elephants, Bengal tigers, Arabian and Friesian horses, clowns, acrobats, people fired from cannons, music and about 300 circus people who still travel the country by train.
Enter Alex Ramon to transform the atmosphere a bit.
An illusionist of considerable renown for being just 23 — his birthday was Sunday, April 25 — he is the ringmaster.
Make that the “Zingmaster” in a touring presentation Ringling calls “Zing Zang Zoom.”
It opens Thursday, April 29, for seven performances at Wright State University’s Ervin J. Nutter Center.
Ramon is the first magician and the second youngest person to serve as a Ringling ringmaster, no matter what you call it.
Such distinctions surprise even him because he never went to see a circus while growing up.
Now he’s a veteran, because Zing Zang Zoom has been on the road for 18 months.
“But it’s different every time because every audience is different. People react to different parts of the circus in different parts of the country. We adjust to that,” said Ramon, who grew up in California and began doing magic for family and friends.
That led to working at a local restaurant and then, at 16, success in a San Francisco area magic competition. In 2005, he was cast in “Mickey’s Magic Show,” produced by Walt Disney in Las Vegas.
All of that helped pave the way for hosting the circus, an experience that is also like nothing he had done before.
“I was already comfortable with speaking and acting as a host, but not with 11 elephants circling around, in the midst of tigers and performers from around the world,” he said. “In an arena, you have to do the magic in 360 degrees and it’s rarely done that way. We had to develop illusions that would still mystify audiences in that setting.”
He makes a four-ton elephant disappear, saws clowns in half and makes some kids very happy. He takes three of them from the audience and teaches them to levitate their parents.
“We give kids what they always want — a way to make their parents go away,” Ramon said.
“And they are real people chosen at random from the audience,” he emphasized. “They aren’t part of the circus.”
“The circus is like every other part of the entertainment world. We need to keep pushing and come up with new forms. This circus has been around almost 140 years. This is the first time it has had a magic and illusion theme.”
“Zing Zang Zoom” also features characters named Levitytia, Mr. Gravity and his “Heavies,” who are a bit like the Three Stooges; a duo of female human cannonballs, live music and songs.
It is designed for all ages.


Circus is coming to First Arena

The Royal Hanneford Shrine Circus will be coming to the First Arena in downtown Elmira for a show at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Proceeds will benefit Kalurah Shrine activities.

Featured will be five elephants, clowns, acrobats and contortionists, among other attractions.

Tickets are available at the First Arena box office, which is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, or by calling 734-7825.

The circus also will appear for four shows at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 6, 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 7, and 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 8.
Wrestling Starlet Chyna in LAPD Beating Investigation
Former WWE wrestler Chyna is allegedly under investigation for her role in a violent altercation in Los Angeles, and according to TMZ sources, the accuser said that the situation became so intense (complete with punching, hair-pulling, etc.) that she felt her life was in danger.
No arrests have been made regarding the incident, and attempts to contact Chyna have gone unanswered.
According to the TMZ report, the Los Angeles Police Department is looking into claims made by Gabriela Targos, alleging that on April 24, Chyna -- whose real name is Joanie Laurer -- asked her to meet up at a motel. However, upon Targos' arrival, the wrestling pro and former 'Surreal Life' and 'Celebrity Rehab' star "immediately snapped and began attacking her for no reason."
During the incident, TMZ reports that Chyna, 39, allegedly punched Targos, beat her with a wire hanger, dragged her by her hair and threatened her life. The incident only came to an end when Targos escaped the motel room, ran down the street and flagged down police officers.
During her time on 'Celebrity Rehab,' Laurer struggled to admit that she had an addiction to steroids or any other substances, and claimed she was on the show voluntarily.
In December of 2008, Chyna was rushed to the hospital after having too many drinks at her own birthday party, where friends found her passed out with cuts on her arms. Upon arrival at the hospital, she was so intoxicated that doctors were unable to perform a psychological test.
Chyna shot to fame in the late '90s during her time with the WWE, where she was known as "The Ninth Wonder of the World" because of her massive frame and muscles. Since she was so much larger than all of the other female wrestlers in the company, Chyna would often face off with men.
She later gained further notoriety when a sex tape she made with a fellow wrestler was leaked.


Opening Night At SB Fair And Expo, KEYT
(Story Updated: Apr 29, 2010 at 11:31 AM PDT )
"Home Sweet Home" is the theme of this year's 21st Annual Santa Barbara Fair and Expo.
Carnival rides, fair treats and farm animals are just some of the highlights, and that's not all.
Police officers, sheriff's deputies, gang enforcement and undercover officers are all teaming up again this year to ensure a safe, family-friendly event.
The Santa Barbara Fair and Expo runs through Sunday, May 2nd at the Earl Warren Showgrounds.
The fair will be open through Sunday.

Cole Brothers Circus at Rockingham County Fairgrounds

Boys, girls, moms and dads all crowded into the Cole Brothers Circus Wednesday night for the group's opening performances.
Kids enjoyed some circus regulars like clowns, the flying trapeze group and also the human cannonball
They also got to see some different things, like an ATV and motorcycle
show, and also a woman who can balance using only one finger.
Five-year-old Mikey Avila made it clear his favorite part.
"The tiger goes on the colors. The tiger jump on the fire. The tiger stand up on two feets, and then they're in the cage," says Avila.
About 2,200 people attended the two circus shows Wednesday.
The circus's last day in town is Thursday, with shows at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
© Copyright 2010 WHSV




Paul Buckner installs a light fixture on the Wacky Worm roller coaster at the carnival on Tuesday. Dennis Grundman/Daily
Organizers, vendors prepare for anticipated crowds, celebrities
By Alex Bridges -
WINCHESTER -- The Bloom may have found some magic this year after all, organizers say.
The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival signed some famous people to serve as guests and kept most of its popular events for its 83rd year -- all despite a bad economy and a slim budget, according to Executive Director John Rosenberger.
Movie actor Val Kilmer, TV star Randolph Mantooth and former Washington Redskin John Riggins top the roster of guests for this year's festival. Rosenberger noted that Kilmer is one of the festival's most high-profile celebrities in years.
But the festival won't feature any major new events this year.
"We're kind of in a bit of a holding because of the economy," Rosenberger said. "We're trying to hold our own and trying to put on as good a festival as we possibly can given the economy, but the economy certainly had an effect. It's just undeniable."
"We just have to work with it but, in a lot of ways, I don't think it shows."
The festival's Thursday Night Fever Disco Dance Party, the Westminster-Canterbury Breakfast Walk and the Prayer Brunch have sold out, Rosenberger said. Tickets are still available for other events, such as the Friday luncheons.

Luke Russell pumps up basketballs at a hoops game at the carnival on Tuesday. Dennis Grundman/Daily

The unit count of Saturday's Grand Feature Parade has passed 200, a number Rosenberger said could be one of the largest in years. Likewise, Friday's Firefighters' Parade will feature more vehicles than usual, despite some local complaints about a ban on sirens, Rosenberger said. Rules for each parade, such as the ban on sirens, are imposed by the organizers of each event. The local volunteer fire and rescue associations placed the ban on sirens for their parade, he said.
The Kids' Mile and the 10K also have increased, Rosenberger said.
Fireworks will return to the festival after a year off for construction on the field at John Handley High School. Rosenberger said he was happy to see this event return, but noted that organizers have to work around construction barriers to have the show go on and allow people to watch.
"And next year, it'll be great," he said. "We can have the whole campus and set it up right."
The absence of the Rock Harbor Tent meant festival organizers had to move events to other locations. The Firefighter's Reception on Thursday will be held at the Greenwood Volunteer Fire and Rescue station on Greenwood Road. The Young at Heart Dance returns to the Sprint Tent on the Winchester Medical Center, and the Queen's Ball will be held at Shenandoah University.
Many of the changes may go unnoticed by festival-goers, Rosenberger said. Some of the changes made last year to events held at Jim Barnett Park went unnoticed then because of the rain that Sunday, he recalled.
"Nobody went so nobody saw the changes," Rosenberger said. "It must've rained 2 inches."
Those changes and more will be in effect this year, including the layout, parking and traffic flow.

Vertigo, a new attraction at the Apple Blossom Carnival, is 109 feet tall. Riders will have their feet 86 feet off the ground. Dennis Grundman/Daily
"Hopefully, we'll get some decent weather and everyone can get out there and see all the changes to Weekend in the Park," Rosenberger said.
The festival has started to schedule some activities inside the War Memorial Building as well as outside, he said. These include cooking demonstrations and a challenge between two local Italian chefs, according to Rosenberger.
Festival organizers already have next year in mind.
"As things unfold you can see where it could be changed or improved, so you're already thinking 'Well, I know what we'll do next year,' so we're already creating the list of things we're going to talk about this summer for next year," Rosenberger said. "During the ongoing festival it might be some of the best times to plan for next festival. That's when you can see what's working and what isn't."The Kids' Mile and the

Adam Pritchard and Jimi Tesar deliver food at the carnival. Dennis Grundman/Daily


The New Cole Bros. Circus
A cast of over one hundred performers and animals will delight and entertain you through seven performances at the Apple Blossom Mall on:
SATURDAY, May 1st10 a.m., 5 p.m. & 8 p.m.
SUNDAY, May 2nd1:30 p.m. & 4:30 p.m.
On the 122nd anniversary of Cole Bros. Circus founder W.W. Cole’s first show business venture, “Cole’s Colossal Amusements,” Cole Brothers Circus, Inc. introduces The New Cole Bros. Circus. Cole Bros. purchased the assets of the Clyde Beatty Circus in 1956, and toured as Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus from 1957 through 2003.
The “New” in The New Cole Bros. Circus signifies more than just a name change. One of the great strengths of a circus under the Big Top–the Real Circus, we say–is the proximity of the public to the performers. The audience is right there, part of the scenery and part of the action. Food and non-alcoholic drinks may be purchased from Circus vendors


Corky Powers' Great American Midway at the
Apple Blossom Festival thru Sunday

First time I've seen Food & Games coupons offered on a show's website
Great idea!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Just received an e-mail from Mike Naughton with a link
to the NEW Showfolks web site.
Check it out!


Julie Scardina, Animal Ambassador for SeaWorld, told a House Subcommittee that the park's animal shows educate and inspire children and should continue.

Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

Julie Scardina, Animal Ambassador for SeaWorld, told a House Subcommittee that the park's animal shows educate and inspire children and should continue. Congress weighs risks, benefits of killer whale and dolphin showsBy Donna Leinwand, USA TODAYA SeaWorld curator told Congress today that the theme park's killer whale and dolphin shows educate and inspire children and should be continued despite the drowning of one of its trainers by a killer whale Feb. 24."I say the benefits outweigh the risk," SeaWorld curator Julie Scardina testified before the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife on Tuesday.
Critics of such captive animal shows said the animal parks spread inaccurate information and seek to entertain, not educate.
The animals are trained "to do stupid tricks for our amusement. We are beyond that. Our kids are beyond that," says Louie Psihoyos, director of The Cove, a documentary on dolphin hunts that won an Academy Award this year. "There's no education at all involved in a dolphin circus show."
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Circus Juventas welcomes first audience since bleacher collapse
Highland Park's Circus Juventas will start welcoming audiences Wednesday night in St. Paul with new bleachers.

In August, the bleachers collapsed during a performance, injuring several people.

Wednesday night, the youth performing arts circus will open its doors to an audience for the first time since the collapse. They say they're excited to greet people with a new seating system.

Performances will run through May 8th.


Circus elephant captured after escape
Viola, an elephant performing with the Cole Brothers Circus in Lynchburg, is led back to the circus grounds at Presbyterian Homes after she briefly escaped from handlers Tuesday. No one was injured.
Jason Snyder/The News & Advance
Published: April 27, 2010
Disney’s classic movie “Dumbo” drove home the idea that elephants are afraid of mice. If Viola, a female elephant performing with Cole Brothers Circus, speaks for the majority, they’re also afraid of rabbits.
The elephant, who had already performed at Presbyterian Homes and Family Services on Tuesday evening, briefly broke away from her handlers and ended up a few hundred feet from her designated area after a wild rabbit jumped toward her, officials with the circus said.
“She got disoriented and didn’t know which way to go,” said Mark Morrison, vice president of development for Presbyterian Homes.
The elephant ran directly past a line of spectators waiting to buy tickets, sending some running toward the parking lot. Handlers and circus workers chased after the elephant.
Morrison said she broke from the group at about 6:30 p.m., and handlers had her back with the other two elephants about 30 minutes later.
He said few people were in the area at the time, as the show was still going on inside the tent.
No circus goers were in danger at any point during the incident, which lasted about 30 minutes, circus officials said.
City Councilman Michael Gillette, ward representative for this area, said he understood the incident was short-lived and presented no threat to the community.
He said he did not regret voting for the permit that allowed the circus to come to Presbyterian Homes. Some Peakland neighbors had asked the city not to grant the circus a permit to perform in that area.
“We certainly hoped this wouldn’t happen and we hope it won’t happen again, but I’m happy that at no time was anyone in any danger,“ Gillette said.
Elvin Bale, vice president of operations for the circus, said Viola had probably played her last act of the night.
“I think they’re probably going to give her the night off, because she looked a little stiff to me,” he said.
Officials said Viola appeared to have mildly injured herself when she stepped in a hole while loping down an embankment.
Handlers were initially concerned that the elephant might be injured, but eventually determined she was well enough to walk back to her tent under her own power, Bale said.
This was the first time Presbyterian Homes had hosted the circus.
“We’re just glad she’s fine and we’re glad nobody was hurt,” he said.
Alicia Petska and Jason Snyder contributed


Elephants and aerialists perform Thursday in Piccadilly Circus

An elephant performs in the ring at the Piccadilly Circus.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010By Melissa Miller ~ Southeast Missourian
There's only one place in Cape Girardeau to find a boxing kangaroo, a giant jungle monster and motorcycles flying through the "Chamber of Doom." All this and more will be at the Piccadilly Circus at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Show Me Center. "It's fun, it's exciting, it's hysterical," said Niles Garden of the Piccadilly Circus, based in Sarasota, Fla. "The human feats are just amazing. At the show we did last night, people were standing up in awe."
The show includes more than 25 human performers, many of whom are acrobats. The Alexis Brothers will perform Cirque du Soleil-style aerial moves, Garden said.
Animals featured in the European-style circus show include horses, elephants, monkeys and a kangaroo.
Elephant and pony rides also will be available along with cotton candy, snow cones and other circus treats.

A Russian clown troupe performs in the Piccadilly Circus.

The show's clowns, which at times ride in a comedy car that drives itself, also provide the audience with plenty of comic relief, Garden said. Before the show arrives in Cape Girardeau, it will perform in Jackson, Tenn., today. From Cape Girardeau the circus travels to Carlinville, Ill.
"We're in a new town every day, and we just keep on moving," Garden said.
Free ticket coupons for children ages 13 and younger were distributed at local schools and area businesses. This coupon also may be downloaded at the circus' website,
Adult tickets are $37 for VIP seating and $27 for general admission. Child VIP tickets are $15 or $10 for general admission.
For more information, call the Show Me Center box office at 651-5000.