2014 Convention



Saturday, July 10, 2010

It's Fireman's Carnival time all over Maryland!

Topless PETA model protests circus


Published: July 9, 2010
ANAHEIM – The tour stop for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is nearly three weeks away, but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were out Friday afternoon trying to make sure people don't go.The activist group staged a protest near City Hall using a chained, virtually topless model with faux wounds on her back to simulate what PETA alleges represents the cruel treatment of circus animals, specifically the Asian elephants.
"It's shocking that the circus beats the animals," said model Meggan Anderson, 25. "We have to do a shocking display to show the public."PETA spokeswoman Amanda Fortino handed out leaflets to passersby. The flyers featured photos, allegedly taken at the circus's breeding facility in Florida, of a baby elephant tied with ropes and having its legs being stretched out in different directions."Most people don't go when they see these photos," Fortino said. "They don't want to support cruelty to animals."Janice Aria, the director of Animal Stewardship for Ringling Bros., said any incidents of abuse were isolated and each allegation was thoroughly investigated. Some employees were reprimanded.
According to PETA, mistreatment of animals has led to the death of 27 elephants over the past 18 years. The organization has released undercover videos allegedly depicting elephants being beaten and shocked with electric prods and posted the footage at"We take very seriously some of these videos," said Aria, adding that none of the elephants were found to be harmed. "We went through it frame by frame with the trainers to find out why they did what they did."Aria said the circus has 54 elephants, with about one-third actually used for the travelling shows. Eleven will be used in the Anaheim shows, which run from July 28 to Aug. 8 at the Honda Center."We spend $62,000 a year per elephant for care," Aria said. "It just is incredible to me that if there's that much that goes into taking care of these animals, why would it behoove us to abuse them?"Fortino said PETA stages protests around the country wherever the circus tours."We used to just have signs, but we didn't get as much response as when we have something eye-catching," she said.Workers on their lunch breaks stopped to watch, accept fliers and snap photos. A sergeant with the Anaheim Police Department stopped and asked if Anderson was wearing pasties. The model verified that she was.Anita McCowan of Anaheim was having lunch at a table near the protest and said she didn't mind it."She's portraying how she feels,'' McCowan said of the model.


Amusing the Zillion
"A former carny kid casts an insider's eye on the amusement business, Coney Island, and fun places in between"
A very interesting Blog.
I suggest you take a look!


Bloomsburg Fair announces skyride

Published: July 8, 2010
Visitors to the Bloomsburg Fair will now have the chance to get a bird's eye view of the festivities, courtesy of a new ride.
During a fair directors' meeting this week, officials announced that a skyride would be set up over the fair's main drag.
The ride will stretch 2,000 feet from Gate 3 to Leonard Street, and installation will be handled by fair ride operator, Reithoffer Amusements.
According to the Press Enterprise of Bloomsburg, a contract to permit the ride was signed before a vote was taken by the fair board members. However, approval is still needed from the town of Bloomsburg and the state Department of Agriculture's ride inspection division.
During the meeting, attendees were split in their support of the ride. Some voiced concerns about the ride's safety, while representatives from other fairs testified that they have had no problems with their skyrides, according to the newspaper.
Supporters said the ride would bring in money to the fair and keep the weeklong event competitive with other area attractions.
The fair will be held Sept. 25 to Oct. 2

Friday, July 9, 2010


Many of you have already received the OABA Animal Fund Press Kit from the OABA Office. Please e-mail to your friends in the business.
And all out effort with our new OABA LION PIN campaign is needed.
My part of the OABA Animal Pin Tour started Tuesday, July 6, 2010 on the LEWIS and CLARK Circus in Patton, PA. Bob Childress, Owner for the third year was not only a gracious host but once again donated $500.00 to the OABA Circus Fund.
Bob's L & C Circus had two full houses in Patton.
Great host and FANTASTIC Circus. For route check out L & C website.
For a current listing of all OABA Animal Fund Donors check out SHOWTIME magazine.
My next OABA stop is Peru, IN during Circus Weekend and Circus Hall of Fame Inductions. JOIN OABA: If you aren't and OABA Member check out the new website and print your membership application.
Current Members told the OABA Survey last year the most important reasons, they joined the OABA.
A. For representation in legal matters affecting our industry.
B. To stay connected with news, about the industry and with one another.
C. To be a part of supporting the industry where you make your living.
WANTED: OABA Lion pin agents
SPECIAL THANKS to all my OABA Lion pin agents.
Any questions regarding agents e-mail:
Hope to see you on the road this summer. Thank You for your continued support.
To contribute to the Circus Fund make your check payable to: OABA Circus Fund. Send TO: OABA
1035S. Semoran Blvd., Ste. 1045 A
Winter Park, FL. 32792
Circusly,David P. Orr, OABA Circus Representative


The core of Vicenta Pages’ (above) tiger troupe has been together for nearly five years, and each animal came under her tutelage as a 14 or 15 month old cub. Their tricks are varied and numerous, from rolling over and laying down, to jumping hurdles and giving “high fives.”


Mayor Pavia under the big top as Big Apple Circus guest ringmaster
By Mayor's office, City of Stamford
Free Sample Performances at NewAlliance Bank July 9, 10

Mayor Michael A. Pavia will be adding one more hat to the many hats he wears as the City’s chief executive when he dons the ringmaster’s hat at a special Stamford Community Day performance of the Big Apple Circus on Tuesday, July 13th at 7:00 P.M.
“This is a thrill for everybody and a terrific event for the City. We were able to really get behind one of my most important initiatives to increase both volunteerism and corporate citizenship through the Big Apple Circus coming to Stamford. Both corporate and individual sponsors stepped up and Lori Bailey (Spec. Asst. to the Mayor for Humanitarian Initiatives) rallied numerous volunteers to work at social services organizations in the City in exchange for tickets to the circus,” Mayor Pavia said.
This performance is being made possible through generous donations from the Stamford Community Day lead sponsor NewAlliance Bank and several other companies and private citizens. NewAlliance Bank will have a special clown performer at it’s branch at 550 Summer Street from 11:00AM to 2:00PM on Friday, July 9th and at it’s branch at 1117 High Ridge Rd. on Saturday, July 10th from 10:00AM to 12:00PM. A special promotional discount coupon for 30% off will be offered to NewAlliance Bank customers looking to attend the Stamford Big Apple Circus shows. These coupons will be available to pick up at the NewAlliance Bank branches.
Read more:


Lynne Watson, 15, of Bridgeton and her cousin Gregory Osbourne, 1, ride the tea cups during the first night of the Cumberland County Fair in Millville Monday night July 5, 2010.
- Staff photo/Cody Glenn
County fair opens to high temps, large crowds
By ALEX HARCHAREK • Staff Writer •
July 6, 2010
MILLVILLE -- The Ferris wheel spun lazily, children munched on cotton candy and hundreds streamed through the gates on opening day of the 2010 Cumberland County Fair.
Despite temperatures in the mid-90s, fairgoers came out in force for Day One of the 42nd annual event, featuring carnival rides, an animal showcase and an evening of family fun.Terry Pangburn, a member of the Cumberland County Cooperative Fair Association's board of directors, expects the fair's new attractions should bring in large crowds all week long.The temperatures -- which are expected to push the county into a heat wave today -- shouldn't keep the crowds away, Pangburn said.

Billy goat races pump up the crowds during the first night of the Cumberland County Fair in Millville Monday night July 5, 2010. - Staff photo/Cody Glenn
"I'd rather see it hot than wet," he said. "I don't think that'll hurt the fair. There's lots of shade and trees, with plenty of places to sit and enjoy an ice cream."This year's carnival includes a demolition derby and amateur truck pull, where visitors will race their vehicles while pulling a weighted sled, he said.

Additions of a roaming clown and puppeteer should appeal to families, too, he said.

Danielle Godfrey, 10, of Milmay was keeping cool beneath a 4-H tent, where she and her sister Caitlin were competing in an animal exhibit with their two rabbits."For me, the fair is all about showing," she said, holding up her rabbit, Cookie. "I'm here to share my bunny. We have so much fun here.

"Exhibitors brought in box fans and were using a communal fridge, freezing water bottles to keep the animals cool.

Richard Nicosia, owner of Bridgeton-based R N' J catering company, said he was excited about his first year as a vendor at the fair and not too worried about the temperatures."A lot of people stayed home for the Fourth of July for local events and picnics," he said from behind his barbecue stand on the fair's grounds. "There's a good crowd. It's great to see the people of Cumberland County come out and have a great time locally."

Pangburn said the fair -- the oldest in the state -- has an additional pull for locals, because it is an affordable choice for summer fun."People aren't really traveling -- whether they can't afford the gas or to go on the boardwalk," he said. "There's a lot of free entertainment here."

Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids ages 6 to 12 and kids 5 and younger are free. Kids are admitted free


New events will liven up activities at Sedgwick County Fair
Cheney residents Lynn Woolf, Elizabeth Woolf, 11, Kailey Walker, 11, and Daniel Woolf, 9, get a preview of the rides being set up at the Sedgwick County fairgrounds in Cheney on Tuesday. (July 6, 2010)
By Sarah Rajewski, The Wichita Eagle
Ross Scheer, maintenance crew member for the Sedgwick County fairgrounds, spent this week trimming trees and cleaning buildings to make room for vendors at the Sedgwick County Fair.
Trudi Hill, employee of the Pride of Texas Shows, spent Tuesday setting up the funnel cake booth where she works.
When the annual county fair starts tonight with rides, vendors and events in place, it will be the result of a nine-month planning process, said Marti Johnson, vice president of the Sedgwick County Fair board. The fair, which lasts until Saturday, takes place at the fairgrounds in Cheney.
For Johnson, who has been on the fair board since 1992, the county fair is a staple in her summer schedule.
Spence Stanhope sets up the "Shot Out the Red Star" machine gun booth at the Sedgwick County fairgrounds in Cheney on Tuesday. (July 6, 2010)
"How can you have summer without the fair?" she said.
Three new fair events, which Johnson said will add some extra pizzazz, are scheduled for Saturday.
This year at the fair's demolition derby, scheduled for 7 p.m., there will also be demolition combines. Johnson, who saw the combines in September, described the event as a clash of the titans.
"It's pretty entertaining, let me tell you," she said.
Also new this year are a hot-dog-eating contest, scheduled for 5:30 p.m., and a snake exhibit from the Sternberg Museum of Natural History, scheduled for 10 a.m.
"What they claim is if you're afraid of snakes, you should come to this show and you won't be when it is over," Johnson said.

Workers for Pride of Texas Shows set up a carnival ride at the Sedgwick County fairgrounds in Cheney on Tuesday. (July 6, 2010)

Besides its new events, the fair will feature favorites from past years, including the Fair Idol Competition and the softball tournament.
Twelve-year-olds Darik Benson and Jared Craig, who both live in Cheney, said they were looking forward to eating funnel cakes at the fair — something that Hill, the carnival worker, said is not uncommon.
"Every spot we go to, everybody is ready for a funnel cake as soon as we get there," she said.
Parking and entrance to the fair is free, although some events require tickets or a fair button, which can both be purchased at the fairgrounds. For access to about 25 rides through the Pride of Texas Shows, fairgoers can purchase wristbands or tickets.
Johnson said people of all ages can find something they enjoy at the county fair, especially because it has a safe, relaxing environment.
It's a lot of fun," she said. "You can bring your whole family out."


Joyland Amusement Park to reopen after recent flood
Jul 07, 2010 LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -
Joyland Amusement Park announced today that the clean up and safety inspections have been completed and they will be reopening Thursday, July 8th at 7 p.m.
Joyland is open through the summer weekdays 7-10 p.m. and weekends 2-10 p.m. The flood caused them to close temporarily for repairs.
David Dean, whose family has owned the amusement park since the early 1970's, was very pleased with the record speed at which crews were able to restore the park to pristine condition. "We got a break with weather to allow us to clean the park ," says Dean, "all the rides are ready and we are on schedule to open tomorrow night."
A meet and greet with Marvel Comic's Iron Man this Saturday, July 10th, 2-8 p.m.
KCBD NewsChannel 11.


Spirits up at Northern Wisconsin State Fair despite soggy start
Most of the people we talked with say no matter the amount of rain it won't dampen their spirits.
Reporter: Chris Baylor
Thousands of people headed out to the Northern Wisconsin State Fair Wednesday looking for a fun ride or some good food. Others were looking to hear some live music but everyone there got treated to a little of Mother Nature.
Most of the people we talked with say no matter the amount of rain it won't dampen their spirits. Some of the people enjoying the fair even say the rain was a welcome sight.
No matter what people we're looking for at the fair, whether it was a ride,
“Some of them are scary and it's a rush of adrenaline, it’s really fun," said one girl.
Or it was the food,
"I already got a foot long corn dog," said one man.
Most of the people at the fair say a little rain wasn't going to get in their way.
"We have our grandson here from Minnesota and this is what he came for…we brought the umbrellas, we're ready," said another fan of the fair.
Around six Wednesday night clouds started to gather over the Northern Wisconsin State Fair Grounds in Chippewa Falls and a short time later, it started to pour.
“It's our only day off so we've got to make the most of it," said one woman.
“I took my shirt off and used it as an umbrella for her (pointing to his girlfriend) so I was the hero today," said another man.
Some people even say the rain is a big relief.
"We actually have animals here at the fair, my girls do so the rain is really good for them because it cools the barns down a little bit," said one mom.
“This really makes it better…because it's fun in the rain so now I’m all wet so it's like a water park," said another little girl.
For the first day of the fair people say they're going to make the best of the night.
"I'm still looking for a good pork chop on a stick. If I can find one of those my night will be golden," said another man.
People running the fair say it will go on in the rain. A few rides were shutdown for a little bit but organizers say the food and fun will still go on. During the storm they were hoping for it to move out in time for the music. The rain did eventually clear and the main acts got on stage.
Admission for the fair is seven dollars for adults and three dollars for kids. Children under six get in free.
Cody Glenn


Ocean County Fair to debut new games, new rides
Looking for something new and exciting to do next week?
The Ocean County Fair opens on Tuesday and runs for six days at Robert J. Miller Air Park, and organizers have expanded and added new events for fairgoers. Reithoffer Shows has taken over the amusement rides this year and are bringing in some new rides for children and adults.

Some additional games of chance have been added along with a women's iron skillet throwing contest.

Tuesday's schedule of events, which runs from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., includes Bwana Jim's Wildlife Show, Hot Dog Pig Racing, a Therapeutic Riding demonstration, a Chain Saw Carving demonstration and performances by the Dazzling Mills Family. New Egypt Speedway will bring in race cars to display on Tuesday as well.

The fair, now in its 64th year, will run from Tuesday to July 18.

Admission is $6 for adults, and children under 10 are admitted free."The fair is three times the size of what it used to be," said O.J. Meyer, who has been manager of the fair for more than 30 years.

Meyer was responsible for persuading the Board of Freeholders to move the fair from Ocean County Park in Lakewood, where it was held from 1946 to the early 1980s.

Carvings from the chain saw carver will be for sale each day or can be bought at auction on July 18.

Wednesday will feature Katie Armiger, nationally-known country singer.July 16 will be Wild West Day with western activities for children of all ages.

There will be a pie-eating and pudding-eating contest for children on July 17 and 18, and the final day will include the annual egg hunt.

ON THE WEB: For more information about the Ocean County Fair and complete schedules go to the website http://www.oceancountyfair/

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Taylor Wright Sanson performs on a unicycle with Circus Smirkus. He grew up on York Avenue on Saratoga's east side.
Acrobats perform as part of Circus Smirkus.

The circus is in town

July 5, 2010, by Leigh Hornbeck

Circus Smirkus, the international youth circus featuring home grown unicyclist Taylor Wright-Sanson, opens today at the Saratoga Race Course.

The shows are at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. today and tomorrow. Proceeds benefit the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs, where Wright-Sanson is a senior. This is his fifth and final season with Circus Smirkus.
Tickets are $19 for adults (13 and up) and $16 for children. Two-year-olds on laps enter free of charge.
Interested residents can buy tickets in advance from Crytzer Equipment or from any Rotary Club member. They cost $10 for adults and $5 for kids. On show day, tickets will cost $12 for adults and $7 for kids. There are also coupons good for “one free child admission” scattered throughout local businesses.
Circus Coming to Kittanning

Comic clowns, Bengal tigers, limber acrobats, daring aerialists, and more will all be part of the Lewis & Clark Circus this year when it comes to Kittanning’s Community Park for two performances taking place Tuesday, July 13 at 5PM and 7:30PM.
“The Circus is well received,” said Promotional Director Ted Hill. “This is the third year for this particular circus to come to the Kittanning area.”
The acts will feature circus families going back as far as five generations. Many new acts will be making their debut this year under the sponsorship of the Kittanning Rotary Club.
The hour & a half performance takes place under a big tent, approximately 100 feet long & 70 feet wide, with yellow and red stripes and matching sidewalls. The Lewis & Clark Circus can seat about 900 patrons on seven individual sections of bleachers that are strategically placed for the best viewing of the action going on in the center ring. The Midway will feature camel and pony rides, a free children’s petting zoo, and a giant slide ride.
The circus is a small city on wheels that will only be in the area on July 13. Circus fans are invited to arrive early between 6AM and 8AM to watch the show setup.


Heat rises, and so does Big Top
Olivia Just, Correspondent Tuesday, July 6, 2010
STAMFORD -- During Tuesday's oppressive heat, crew members from the Big Apple Circus tugged at sections of the billowing blue and white Big Top tent like sailors teasing wind into a ship's canvas sails.
In Mill River Park, the five-hour process of raising the tent began at 8:30 a.m. and progressed in stages. The four sturdy steel interior masts and gold-starred cupola, which crowns the tent's 63 feet, were set up electronically, while the lower sections of the tent had to be put in place manually.
Members of the full-time, traveling crew labored in the tent's shade, pushing the 90 support poles into place, rolling the tarp that covered the ground, measuring the circumference of the ring area. The heat of the afternoon was trapped in the deceptively cool-blue interior of the tent, creating saunalike conditions. Everyone working or standing inside was drenched with sweat.
"It's tough manual labor on a nice cool, clear day," Joel Dein, director of communications for the Big Apple Circus, said as he watched the crew raise the tent poles. "It's like being inside a spa for five hours."
Temperatures across Stamford reached into the triple digits, according to Pat Standaert of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center. The crew members in the tent weren't the only ones suffering from the baking heat; outside, in a small striped pavilion near the big tent, a group of horses, trained for the show's equestrian act, stood idly, flicking their tails through the sticky air. Closer to the group of trailers parked around the tent, one lucky animal had his coffee-colored coat hosed with cool water by a trainer.

Extreme conditions are nothing new to the crew members of the Big Apple Circus, though that didn't make the weather any more bearable.
"We work in the heat, in the freezing cold, in the snow and the rain," said Tara Dragani, describing pitching the massive tent in downpours and shin-deep mud.
Dragani is one of two women on the crew, and she described her job as a "very rough life."
"For a girl like me, I have to work three times harder than everybody else, but I love it," she said. "Honestly, here, we're spoiled compared to other circuses."

During show times, the tent will be air-conditioned, meaning the 1,700 spectators seated in the bleachers won't suffer similar temperatures for the circus performances.
As the crew pushed the 16-foot support poles upward to raise the bottom of the tent, the gap between the dusty ground and vinyl tent yawned wider, and the bright white outdoors slid into view. A welcome breeze fanned across the interior as tentmaster Michael Leclair surveyed the work.
"Even in this heat, we did pretty good," he said.

The Big Apple Circus will run 26 performances of "Bello is Back!" in the big top tent from Friday to Sunday, July 25, at Mill River Park. For more information, visit

Sultan Kumisbayev hoses down one of the horses used in his equuestrain act as the Big Apple Circus is set up in Mill River Park in Stamford, Conn. on Tuesday July 6, 2010. Photo: Kathleen O'Rourke / Stamford Advocate


The “High Wire Daredevils,” one of the many outstanding acts in the UniverSoul Circus, played at the Northeastern parking lot on Columbus Avenue in the South End. The UniverSoul Circus was founded in Atlanta, Ga. 17 years ago and continues to surge to the top of the live entertainment ranks with its funky rendition of traditional circus. (Don West photo)
UniverSoul Rocks Roxbury
Richard Feloni The UniverSoul Circus brought its unique blend of black culture and classic vaudeville under a big tent in Roxbury, attracting several thousand attendees with their high-wire acts and zany antics.
For the opening two shows, UniverSoul teamed with Boston’s Community Relief Foundation to donate 100 percent of its net proceeds to Haiti relief efforts to help rebuild the country in the wake of January’s devastating earthquake.
The venue on the Northeastern campus kept the entire audience close to the ring, allowing interaction with the performers. Ringmaster Tony Tone, an actor and comedian who was recently featured in the Tyler Perry movie “I Can Do Bad All By Myself,” emceed the event with a quick wit and a dose of personality.
Tone’s comedic talent shined during each show when he gathered five men and five women, all over the age of 25, to participate in a Soul Train-styled dance-off.
On opening night, he almost lost his participants when he threatened to put a video of their dancing on YouTube, but the seemingly shyest audience members broke out the craziest moves.
After the challenge, Tone praised the brave audience members — sort of. “And for participating you have all won,” he laughed, “a free trip back to your seat!”

The “baddest cats in town” are in the “CATS” act, part of the UniverSoul Circus, ranked among the top three circuses in the country, along with Ringling Bros. and Cirque du Soleil. (Don West photo)

The circus acts spanned the globe, from the amusing choreographed poodles in “Pampered Pooches” of Russia to the graceful and stunning acrobats in “Chinese Silks” of China.
Paly Odimboleko (aka “Velocity”), of Belgium via the Congo, gave a display of basketball tricks with his partner Michael, of the Netherlands, in their “Double Dribble” act. “No matter where you’re from, the thing that relates us is the soul we got inside,” said Odimboleko, “It’s all about love.”
The love between the performers and between them and the crowd was apparent in each of the shows, and the “High Wire Daredevils” were an excellent example of this synergy. “Sometimes the people in the audience, they’ll be like, ‘Wow, this is amazing, how do they do it?’” said Cyriaque, of Gabon, Central Africa, on he and his three partners’ “life or death” high wire act.
The suspenseful performance included a spectacular display of three of the men balancing on each other’s shoulders while walking across the tightrope. “You got to have a lot of heart to do something like that,” Cyriaque said, but only before adding, “You know, I enjoy myself in there, too!”
Audience members represented Boston well, keeping the show at a high energy level. “I’ve never heard a crowd so live,” said Dominique Jenkins, a hip hop dancer from Queens, N.Y. Johan Torres, of the Dominican Republic and another member of the “High Wire Daredevils,” had never been to the United States before this year’s UniverSoul tour, and Boston left a lasting impression on him, largely due to the “beautiful, wonderful” crowd.
“Sometimes you might feel tired or don’t really want to perform,” said Odimboleko of circus life, “but when you see the crowd responding like that — even before you go on stage — it brings you an energy from inside.”
With a great turnout, the UniverSoul Circus’ stop in Boston was an apparent success — and a fun time for both children and adults. Roxbury resident Lashae and her daughter A.A. enjoyed the show, and Lashae said she liked it even better than the famous Big Apple Circus.
Fellow Roxbury resident Walter noted that the UniverSoul Circus’s strong point was that it spoke to his children’s generation and interests.
Walter’s young daughter Nia, rather than being afraid of the tiger in the “CATS” act, liked them most of all. “I liked how even though they tried to fight back, the trainer still faced them!”
from: The Bay State Banner


Zoppe Circus Show Debuts in Hanover Park
Submitted by Devinne Stevens on July 7, 2010
Beginning July 21 and ending on July 25 at Caputo's Fresh Markets in Hanover Park, world-renowned clown Giovanni Zoppé and his Zoppé Family Circus circus will make a return performance complete with trapeze feats, dancing dogs and horseback tricks. This is the only appearance in Chicagoland this year. Caputo’s Fresh Markets is located at 1250 Lake Street. The performance times for the five day-run are Wednesday through Friday at 7 p.m.; Saturday 1, 4 and 7 p.m.; Sunday 1 and 4 p.m. Adult ticket prices are $18 the day of the show and $15 in advance. A limited number of advanced purchase tickets are available with a $7.00 discount. Children’s tickets are $14 or free with a coupon from Caputo’s. Tickets can be purchased at any of the Caputo’s Fresh Markets or by calling the box office at 773-255-6788.
Giovanni, a sixth-generation circus performer joined legendary entertainers Charlie Chaplin and Red Skelton when he was the youngest ever inducted into the International Clown Hall of Fame. Giovanni, who combines comedy with acrobatic skills, received international attention with his aerial loop-to-loop performance as Nino, an old-world, European-style clown. He has traveled throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico and Canada performing his act. At the age of two, he was performing regularly with his family; by the age of nine, he became the youngest circus performer to accomplish a somersault on the back of a galloping horse.
Joining Giovanni in the ring will be a number of stars. As long as he is up from his nap, Giovanni’s eight month old son Giovanni Julien Veneto Zoppé will be making his Zoppé Family Circus debut. Little Giovanni is the first performer of the seventh generation of this renowned circus family. On the cloud swing will be Amy Zoppé, performing 30 feet in the air. And Giovanni’s sister, Tosca Zoppé, will once again perform equestrian feats. Tosca has been performing since she was two days old traveling around the country with her famous family.

Also in the ring will be Gentile Duo, a unique comedy foot juggling number which includes kicking, tossing and spinning a large vase. This act consists of circus family Carlo Gentile and his wife Orlene. Both trained with the Hebei Acrobatic Troupe, Wuqiao Acrobatic School in Hebei Province, China, and are graduates of the Circus Center San Francisco’s Clown Conservatory.
They are joined by Gregorio, a Russian style strong man who can lift over 1,000 lbs. His act follows the traditional circus strong man performers coming out of Europe.
This year’s show pays homage to patriarch Alberto Zoppé who passed away in March 2009 at the age of 87. As a circus performer in the Veneto region of Italy since his youth, Alberto was offered a job by John Ringling North of Ringling Brothers fame, who was putting together the circus acts for Cecil B. Demille's Oscar-winning film, “The Greatest Show on Earth” in the late 1940s. With this move, he introduced his talents to America with Ringling and his legacy is now continued with his family’s seventh generation of performers.
In a European-style, one-ring tent designed by the Zoppé family, the audience will experience a daring and funny performance. The show brings in the audience from being spectators to actually becoming part of the circus.
“We try to touch every emotion during the show,” Giovanni explains. “They’ll laugh, they’ll cry, and they’ll feel for the characters. It’s more of an event than a show.”


New Montreal circus festival kicks off with blend of urban culture, acrobatics
By: Nelson Wyatt, The Canadian Press
7/07/2010 MONTREAL - An edgy blend of urban street culture and acrobatics will kick off a major circus festival on Thursday when the curtain goes up on Montreal Completement Cirque.
The world-renowned Cirque Eloize will open the festival, which runs until July 25, with "Id," which explores the concept of identity in spectacular style.
"I have people from seven different countries," says director Jeannot Painchaud, explaining the show looks at how people from different backgrounds get along in a clan.
"Each of them is a unique character and a unique personality."
But nobody has time for navel-gazing in the show, which is driven by a dynamic electronic score.
Set in a futuristic city, "Id" is performed in front of omnipresent images drawn from science-fiction films, graffiti and cartoons.
Acrobats mix with hip-hop dancers. Gymnasts climb the stage on trail bikes. Skaters fly by like rockets and break dancers square off with contortionists.
"It's a very physical show so it's very demanding," Painchaud says of the Cirque's first effort using video and playing under a big top.
Alex McMahon, who composed the music along with Jean-Phi Goncalves, says it's the first time they've created a score for a circus. He says it was challenging to be in sync with all the movement.
"But all these things can be quite inspiring," McMahon said.
Painchaud, who co-founded Cirque Eloize, was swept up by the circus when he saw the first Cirque du soleil show more than two decades ago. He went on to study at the national circus school and became an acrobat.
"Today, 25 years later, to open this festival — it's something emotional," he said. "It's an honour."
After playing the festival, "Id" will head to Toronto in October where it will reopen the Sony Centre, followed by tours in France and the United States.
The festival is orchestrated by Tohu, a non-profit organization founded by the En Piste national association of circus arts, the National Circus School and Cirque du soleil.
Nadine Marchand, the festival's project manager, says the idea for the event has been floating around for a few years and the time seemed right now to go ahead with the project.
"The idea when Tohu was founded was to make Montreal one of the circus capitals and make a festival," she said.
"It's a challenge but we want to be a meeting point for everyone in July. They have a lot of choice."
She's not kidding. The comedy monolith that is the Just for Laughs Festival has gradually spread itself across the month during its 28 years.
"Yes, we have to take our place," Marchand says of the competition for spectators. "But the odds are good."
While she says she doesn't want to be pretentious, Marchand points out "Montreal is a circus city," something that's acknowledged in other parts of the world.
If nothing else, it's home to one of the best known circuses ever, Cirque du soleil, which has become a world-spanning empire and an entertainment phenomenon in its own right.
The festival prides itself on its diversity, Marchand says, noting spectators can see a bunch of shows and still come away surprised.
She says that's the result of the evolution of the circus, which has changed a lot from when she saw the Barnum and Bailey show as a child.
"Now we have theatre, dance, opera, flamenco — the different arts get into the circus and it's interesting."
The festival is drawing its acts from Quebec, Europe and Australia, with one of its crown jewels being the North American premiere of Tabu from Wales' NoFitState circus troupe.
The jumble of dance, mime, theatre and acrobatics takes place above the audience's head in the enthralling show, with clowns shepherding spectators to the best vantage points.
As he puts the final touches on Cirque Eloize's show, Painchaud says the festival is an idea whose time has come.
"It was about time to have a place where we can show our work to the world but more than that to invite people from other countries to show their work here and have a place to celebrate together," he said
The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Bethel adopts a circus atmosphere to celebrate P.T. Barnum's 200th birthday
Vinti Singh, Staff Writer Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Rosalyn Donofrio, of Bethel, cuts the cake at a town party for the native son P.T. Barnum's 200th birthday outside the Bethel Municipal Center on Monday, July 5, 2010. Photo: Michael Duffy / The News-Times

BETHEL -- More than 1,000 people attended P.T. Barnum's 200th birthday celebration Monday evening in front of the Bethel Municipal Center, an event that featured an animal
menagerie, reminiscent of the Bethel native who founded the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
"People (who went to the circus) were used to seeing barnyard animals, but not animals from around the world," said Ted Krogh, who brought his camel to display. "We all try to emulate him. He was in the business of making people smile."
Barnum was the man who brought the world Tom Thumb, the Fiji Mermaid, the Bearded Woman and other oddities.
Monday's event included live music, acrobat performances, belly dancers and clowns, and a cowboy ninja. People walked around wearing red foam noses and tried walking on mini stilts.
Bethel residents Rebecca Wild and Kendra Belleflew, both 10, jump for joy while the band plays at the celebration of P.T. Barnum's 200th birthday at the Bethel Municipal Center on Monday, July 5, 2010. Photo: Michael Duffy / The News-Times

Jen Cody, 18, and Andrew Baumgartner, 16, of Bethel honor the circus with clown noses at the birthday celebration of P.T. Barnum's 200th birthday at the Bethel Municipal Center on Monday, July 5, 2010. Photo: Michael Duffy / The News-Times

The celebration of P.T. Barnum's 200th birthday at the Bethel Municipal Center on Monday, July 5, 2010. Photo: Michael Duffy / The News-Times

P.T. Barnum sculpture David Gesualdi, left center, points out a structural detail to home owner Paul English, left, in the room of Barnum's birth, during a tour of the house on Monday, July 5, 2010. Mary English is right center, and Terri Kowwicz, is next to her. Molly Layda, 8, is with her grandparents, Richard and Pat Layda of Newtown. The P.T. Barnum house was on Richard Layda's paper route when he was a boy. Photo: Michael Duffy / The News-Times

Big Apple circus might set up show in Manville, NJ

MANVILLE — The circus could be coming to Manville this fall if an application to site it at the Rustic Mall property is approved.
Borough Council members Wednesday voted 3-1 in favor of a resolution that would allow the circus to bring its show to the borough. Councilman Rich Onderko voted against the resolution and Councilmen Ed Komoroski and Lou Fischer were absent from the meeting.
Since the circus is requesting temporary use on private property, Borough Administrator Gary Garwacke said the next step would be for Big Apple Circus representatives to gain approval from the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
Scott O'Donnell, vice president and general manager of the Big Apple Circus, said the site plan approval has been finalized and the circus is in the process of finalizing its application before the board.

Circus in New Milford continues Tuesday and Wednesday

Monday, July 5, 2010
NEW MILFORD -- Circus Vidbel, presented by Faith Church, continues its three daily shows Tuesday and Wednesday, with proceeds to be donated to the Hope Foundation for Kids, a scholarship fund for the Danbury area.
The circus features aerialists, jugglers, music, magic and, of course, clowns at 600 Danbury Road.
Tickets are $10 each. Shows are at noon and 3 and 6 p.m. For more information visit
Fifi in the big top.
Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/ Provision

Edward Fossett (Otto the clown) Fiona McCann (Fifi) and ringmistress Marion Fossett outside Fossetts Circus in Mallow, Co Cork. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/ Provision

Fiona McCann is transformed from journalist to Fifi the clown by Edward Fossett, in preparation for her stint at Fossett's big top

Clowning around at the circusThe Irish Times -
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Realising many people’s childhood fantasy, Fiona McCann runs away to join the circus, but discovers after only one day that being a clown is a serious business
I’VE RUN away to join the circus. In contrast to childhood fantasies, alas, I’ve only run away for the day, and it involves a train to Mallow rather than hitching a ride alongside some exotic stranger on a coloured wagon passing through town. None of this detracts, however, from the fillip of excitement as the bright blue Fossett’s tent looms into view and I take in the scurry of circus folk transforming Mallow Racecourse for tonight’s performance.
I’m becoming a clown for a day, following in a long circus tradition that stretches back to the legendary Joseph Grimaldi, which leaves me with some pretty big shoes to fill (kaboom-tsssh!).
It’s a task that would seem monumental were it not for the on-hand assistance from some of the best in the business: after all, the Fossett family has been in the circus game for six generations now, tracing their legacy all the way back to one George Lowe, a Mallow man who honed his skills as a performer on Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show.
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Sarah-Jane Wild with Not Roy the snake

Circus causes controversy in Belper

06 July 2010 By Laura Hammond
A visiting circus which includes acts by live animals has prompted a mixed reaction from people in the town.
Peter Jolly's Circus, which held shows for five days on land off New Road in Heage, has become well known for its use of animals in its performances, prompting distaste from animal rights activists around the country.
Campaigners claim it is unnatural for the animals to be kept in captivity and be made to perform, but owner Peter Jolly said the animals were well kept, well treated, and well trained and that the activists were just trying to stir up trouble.
Mr Jolly said: "They say these things but they've never been to the circus to see what it is we do. I'm very open about it.
"We have checks virtually every week. We're not doing anything wrong.

"At the end of the day people vote with their feet, and the amount of positive comments we have about the circus far outweigh the criticisms."
Jolly's Circus, which spent time in Heanor the week before coming to Belper and will move to Alfreton next, uses dogs, horses, llamas, a camel, a zebra, birds, a donkey, a goat, a long-horned cow and several snakes in its acts.
One of the acts involves an 'exotic dance' by some of the animals, in which the zebra walks around the standing camel and llamas.
Mr Jolly said the animals were on stage for no more than five minutes at a time and that they only performed simple tricks which were no different to those performed by other animals in captivity. The animals are put out to graze when they are not in the ring, and only come in when they are needed for the twice daily shows, when they are rewarded with treats when they walk in the right direction or put their front legs onto a low podium.
He added: "If you were cruel to the animals you'd get the completely opposite effect. They would not do what you asked them to."
Craig Redmond, from the Captive Animals Protection Society, said: "Most circuses now feature an all-human cast, removing the need to keep animals confined for long periods and transport them around the country.
"We would encourage people to avoid all animal circuses and wait until one of the many amazing all-human shows arrives in town."
Government body DEFRA has completed recent study which found no evidence that animals used in the circus were better or worse treated than animals in other captive environments.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010