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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lamb Chop to bring smiles to Pasco County Fair

Mallory Lewis says the sock puppet Lamb Chop was her "only sibling'' while growing up.
By WALT BELCHER The Tampa Tribune

Published: February 18, 2011 02/18/2011
Pasco County Fair Lamb Chop jokes and riddles
TAMPA - Mallory Lewis grew up with a funny little pal named Lamb Chop, a sock puppet that became a TV star.
"She was my only sibling," says the daughter of entertainer Shari Lewis. "When I was very young my mother used to put on Lamb Chop at bedtime. I could tell my little sister anything and not get in to trouble.
"Of course, that didn't work so well when I got to be a teenager and tried 'Lamb Chop, I wrecked the car today,' " she jokes.
Although Shari Lewis died in 1998, Lamb Chop and her sidekicks Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse are still entertaining thanks to Mallory, a writer and TV producer who is carrying on her mother's legacy.
"I'm a lot like my mother, I inherited her tush and her voice," Lewis said in a recent telephone interview. She also has her mother's sense of humor.
Mallory Lewis is bringing Lamb Chop to the Pasco County Fair in Dade City which opens Monday and runs through Feb. 27. They will be performing Monday through Saturday at the fair's Back Porch Theater.
"I love to do county fairs because it's an intimate setting with children and adults and that's a perfect venue for Lamb Chop," says Lewis, 47 (formerly Mallory Tarcher). She also tours with the USO and performs for charities.
"Young children are immediately attracted to Lamb Chop and adults who remember my mother begin to recall their inner child and it reminds them of a more innocent time in their lives," she says.
Shari Lewis was a teenager when she first rose to fame on "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" in 1952. "Mom was known as ventriloquist but she could sing, dance, juggle and do magic and a lot more – and she was very attractive," says Mallory.
In the 1950s, Shari Lewis worked on numerous New York-based children's shows where she had various puppets. But it wasn't until a guest appearance on "Captain Kangaroo" in 1956 that she introduced Lamb Chop.
In the 1960s, she appeared on numerous TV variety shows and even had her own prime-time series. She also appeared on Broadway and played Las Vegas casinos. "Lamb Chop could do grown-up humor, too," says Mallory (and still does in Mallory's comedy club act).
In the 1990s, Mallory worked closely with her mother as producer of the PBS TV show "Lamb Chop's Play-Along" which ran five years and "Charlie Horse Music Pizza" show. Her mother was diagnosed with uterine cancer in 1998 and died a year later at age 65.
Mallory, who has written more than 20 children's books, says she decided to keep her mother's creation Lamb Chop going because the character brought joy to people.
"My mother always said that we don't aim the humor at children but at the child inside all of us," says Mallory.
Lamb Chop and Mallory will be grand marshals at the Pasco County Fair Parade at 1 p.m. Monday in downtown Dade City. Their performances at the Fair's Back Porch Theater are at 5, 7 and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 2:30, 5:45 and 8:15 p.m. on Saturday. (There will be no Sunday performance).
For more information go to
Rescued Bolivian circus lions arrive in U.S
By Keith Coffman, Reuters
February 18, 2011
Twenty-five circus lions arrived in the U.S. in good health thursday, en route to a Colorado wildlife refuge.Photograph by: Rick Wilking, Reuters, ReutersTwenty-five Bolivian circus lions rescued from poor conditions arrived safely in the U.S., bound for a Colorado wildlife refuge.
Dubbed Operation Lion Ark, the 14 males and 11 female cats arrived at Denver International Airport on Wednesday on a jet chartered by Animal Defenders International, a British-American venture that advocates circus-animal rights.
"This has been a dream for so long, to empty a whole country of its circus animals," ADI president Jan Creamer told a crowd of about 100 who assembled at a United Airlines hangar to watch the event.
Former game show host Bob Barker, a longtime animal-rights activist who funded the relocation, was on hand to welcome the cats alongside actress Jorja Fox of TV's CSI franchise. Workers unloaded the animals in individual crates amid applause from animalrights advocates in attendance.
Veterinarian Mel Richardson, who accompanied the animals on the 11hour flight from Bolivia, pronounced them in relatively good health ahead of their move to The Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colo. The sanctuary is constructing a biosphere on the 32-hectare site so the lions can weather the cold winters. Their longterm care will be paid for by ADI.
The cats were taken from eight circuses after Bolivia passed a law in 2009 outlawing use of animals in circuses. Many were found emaciated and in poor health, and the animals underwent rehabilitation in Bolivia before the trip.
After passing the law, Bolivian government officials gave circus owners one year to cease using animals, even domesticated ones, in their acts or face criminal penalties. ADI rounded up the animals from the circuses, effectively shutting down the industry in South America's poorest nation.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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Circus entertains, raises money for Palmview Crime Stoppers

PALMVIEW, TX - 18 FEB 11 The performing tiger listen to commands during the show at Kelly Miller Circus in Palmview Friday afternoon February 18, 2011.
photo by joel martinez/

February 18, 2011
from:http:themonitor.comGail Burkhardt
Tigers leapt, dogs danced, acrobats flipped and elephants performed while children and adults alike clapped and laughed under the big top Friday night at the Kelly Miller Circus in Palmview.
The Oklahoma-based circus started its 2011 tour of 215 cities in Brownsville last week, and shows will continue in Palmview through Sunday. This year the show includes a new dog act in which the canines dance on two legs and jump through the air, a Western-themed show that includes acrobats and an 83-year-old cowboy, an entire family of acrobats from Argentina and new elephant and tiger routines.
“They were hopping and one jumped over the other,” said 5-year-old Palmview resident, Noah Ezzee Rojas enthusiastically as he mimicked the tigers’ jumping act.
His mother, Maricela Rojas, said her son was so into the show that he would not even look at her when she talked to him during the act.
Even ringmaster John Moss, who has been in the business since 1986, still enjoys the shows.
“I get a front row seat at the circus,” he said, explaining why he continues to work in the field.
In all, the show features 35 human performers, three elephants, seven ponies, seven tigers and 10 dogs, said Jim Royal, the general manager.
Animal advocate Diana Ho said the non-human performers should not be in the show because they are treated inhumanely. She and fellow animal advocate Cristina Cruz stood at the entrance to the parking lot holding up signs and passing out literature asking people to boycott circuses with animal performers.
Ho said circus trainers use violent methods to train animals. She also said that the small cages the animals travel in, as well as the tricks they perform, are unsafe and unhealthy.
Royal said the Kelly Miller Circus does not use violent means and has not received any citations for animal mistreatment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture since the new owners took over the circus in 2007. He also said the animals are domesticated and are accustomed to the travel.
Ho and many other animal rights activists are planning a larger protest when the Ringling Bros. Circus comes to Hidalgo in May, she said.
The Kelly Miller Circus is an annual fundraiser for the Palmview Crime Stoppers, an organization that accepts anonymous tips to solve crimes. Crime Stoppers receives 15 percent of all of the profits. As of Friday at 6:30 p.m., about 850 people already had purchased tickets to the shows.
Crime Stoppers typically raises between $2,000 and $3,000 each year through the circus, said Lt. Lenny Sanchez, an assistant coordinator for the group.
A human cannonball? Yes, at the circus this weekend.

“Human Cannonball” Shawn Marren in his cannon outside the Westchester County Center in White Plains. (Xavier MascareƱas/The Journal Newsari/Th)

By Karen Croke •
February 19, 2011
What's tougher? Being the father of rambunctious 1-year-old twins, or being shot out of a cannon?
If you said the latter, well, you're not Shawn Marren. The 26-year-old "Human Cannonball" says that hurtling through space at 70 miles per hour is kids' play compared to the responsibilities of being a dad."I told my wife, when she was eight months pregnant and shooting me out the cannon, that it wasn't even scary compared to having kids," Marren says.His sons were born prematurely and spent some anxious days in the hospital. "People don't even realize how dangerous being shot out of the cannon is, but at least, there you are in charge. With the cannon, it's on my shoulders. With the kids, you can't do anything."Today, the twins, Shawn and Anthony, are happy, healthy and sporting matching superhero costumes to watch their dad get shot out of the cannon at this weekend's Royal Hanneford Circus at the Westchester County Center. This is Marren's first job as a headliner and he is debuting his act in White Plains."It's so exciting," he says, even as he admits he sometimes gets the feeling, when flying by his rapt audiences, that "half the people watch and go, 'Oh my God, I hope he misses.' "For all his bravado, Marren is not a born daredevil."My mother came to see my first shot and she was distressed," he says. "All she said was, 'how did I raise a cannon ball?' "Marren began his circus career in the same way many before him have — he was intrigued by the notion of ditching his responsibilities for a more carefree existence, and a life on the road.While studying trumpet at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he met the director of the Ringling Brothers Circus band."He had all these stories, and I just thought, none of that can be true," says Marren. So when Ringling was looking for a keyboard player, Marren, who was then a junior at USF, jumped at the chance to try out, although technically, he'd never played keyboards."But I convinced them that I could," and soon after, he quit school and ran off with the circus. "We'd do three shows a day, three days in a row. The music is the same for each act, but you're dealing with animals and technical difficulties, so no two days were the same".read more at:
Battling odds, Indian circus owners try to keep show going
Press Trust Of India
Pune, February 19, 2011
With lions and tigers out of the ring, circus owners in India are not a happy lot as they struggle to survive with their band of artistes in the world of entertainment. The ban on displaying the wild animals---lions and tigers---as well as bears and monkeys, coupled with the curbs on recruiting chil d artistes who later grow into mature performers supporting the industry, appears to be having a sapping effect on this age old mix of fun and thrill that used to enthrall children before the advent of the small screen.
"Today we badly need the support from government and corporate sponsors to keep this age old art of circus in India alive. In the absence of conducive atmosphere for survival and necessary amenities this business continues to be in the red," said Sujit Dilip, owner of the two decade old " Rambo" circus who is also member of Indian Circus Federation and European Circus Association (ECA).
Dilip, who just returned after making a presentation on Indian circuses at the 35th International Circus Festival organised by the ECA at Montel Carlo in Monaco held in the last week of January, told PTI here that while the owners of circuses in India need to incorporate creative and innovative elements in the arena of the world circus, the industry here was suffering from a host of problems that could spell its doom if not addressed properly.
"The decade-long ban on lions and tigers in circus has dealt a body blow to the industry as despite our best efforts to enhance the content of human acrobatics to make for the absence of wild animals, the entertainment vacuum remains," he added.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

All aboard for FunHouse attraction
EnterTRAINment Junction revamps its 7,000-square-foot maze area
into circus-themed attractions.

Staff photo by Greg Lynch
Brian Kienlen, who works with the sound, lighting and special effects at EnterTRAINment Junction, works in the A-Maze-N Funhouse scheduled to open in March.
By Eric Robinette, Staff Writer Thursday, February 17, 2011
WEST CHESTER TWP. — Starting next month, EnterTRAINment Junction will transform into a circus.
On March 1, the train-centric attraction in West Chester Twp. plans to open the “A-Maze-N FunHouse,” replete with all kinds of circus-style attractions.
EnterTRAINment Junction is not adding to its existing facility at 7379 Squire Court, but has a new theme for its maze attractions to the left of the main entrance, said Bill Mefford, the publicist for the center.
“We add stuff (to our train displays) every day, but this is our first major expansion since 2008, when we opened,” he said.
Up to now, the 7,000 square feet of space in question was the home to two mazes that changed by season. They are being revamped into what EnterTRAINment Junction calls “the greatest funhouse on Earth.”
At the entrance, the bright colors, flashing lights and circus staples such as a coin-operated Zoltar fortune-telling machine, create atmosphere.
Past the entrance, there will be four tents: Curtain Chaos, Clown College, Mirror Maze and Outer Limits: Journey to the Black Hole.
The Mirror Maze is 2.5 times larger than the similar maze the junction had when it opened. Similarly, Curtain Chaos will have hanging curtains throughout its maze, and this also is larger than a similar maze that was in place at the junction’s opening.
Clown College has rooms filled with practical jokes and optical illusions, such as an Ames Rooms, in which people seem to grow or shrink just by walking across the room.
In the Outer Limits room, visitors head into a spinning vortex, through which they escape via a “claustrophobia room.”
These attractions replace the Victorian Village walk-through. The Journey to the North Pole Christmas maze will still figure in the holiday season, Mefford said.
For the month of March, admission to the funhouse attractions will be $4.95. After that, regular admission will be $9.95.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus IS "Fully Charged!"
February 16th, 2011
Do you like this Review?
The weather is supposed to be mild this weekend - no snow in sight which means clear roads. With the holiday weekend upon us why not take the kids to the circus?
I had the pleasure of attending opening night of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® presents “Fully Charged” circus on Wednesday, February 16, and what a thrill-ride it was. Clowns were entertaining, acrobats were mesmorizing, and the animals were trotting around delighting fans of all ages.
“Fully-Charged” is the all-new Ringling Bros.® show featuring the "Human Fuse" who sets himself on fire and soars across the arena sky.
In addition, The Greatest Show On Earth® also boasts Dmitry and Ruslan, the Ukrainian Strong Men pair, whose incredible feats of strength and endurance include lifting and balancing each other’s 300-plus pound frames. Without giving away their feat, it was worth the price of admission by itself!
The three-rings keep your eyes glued to the colorful costumes, the in-sync juggling and dancing, and the tight-rope walkers never waver.
In town at the Wells Fargo center through Sunday, February 20th, there are both day and evening shows and ticket options for every budget. Access for tickets, prices and times.



It's clown time in El Cajon. No, seriously.
By Steve Schmidt
Wednesday, February 16
Circus Vargas, one of those old-timey traveling road shows with trapeze artists, clowns and the like, will pitch its big tent in El Cajon for a five-day stint starting March 3.
The circus plans 10 performances at the Westfield Parkway shopping center, including three shows on each Saturday and Sunday during the run. Seats run from $15 to $50. More information is available here.
The East County stop is part of a regional tour that will also take the circus to National City, Del Mar and other local cities. The California-based business does not use animals in its acts.



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vegetarians can munch away down the midway

By JEFF HOUCK The Tampa Tribune
Published: February 13, 2011

TAMPA - In a small white tent with a banquet-table serving counter, Loving Hut stands like a healthy oasis amid a caloric wasteland at the 2011 Florida State Fair.
A hundred feet to the south, fried Twinkies are being sold. Fifty feet to the north, fried candy bars are the delicacy of choice. A five-minute walk away, the fair's restaurant row offers a blur of turkey legs, doughnut hamburgers and grease-dripping pigs on a spit.
Next door to Loving Hut, children encased in giant inflatable balls flop around like gerbils in a pool of water. To the right, a sunglasses salesman stands waiting for the glare to lure customers. Above, a hovering helicopter dangles an aerial acrobat 150 feet in the air.
In the middle operates Xianying Wei, who meekly sells her hummus and chips, her vegetarian chocolate chip cookies and her Yogi Subs made with grilled chicken-flavored tofu, cilantro, tomato and vegan mayonnaise.
She even fashioned a makeshift mini-drumstick filled with rice instead of chicken.
Ying, as she prefers to be called, operates a Fletcher Avenue restaurant of the same name. A former scientist, she started Loving Hut on a mission to spread the healthful gospel of vegetarian and vegan eating.
"It's easier to teach them by eating than to just tell them why they should choose to eat this way," she said.
Truth be told, a vegetarian can happily eat almost as many decadent treats at the fair as a card-carrying carnivore.Vegetarians can munch away down the midway
For every meatloaf and gravy on a stick, there's an equally unhealthy crispy, fried corn cob. Dipped in milk and dredged in flour and seasoned bread crumbs, the cob goes for a swim for four minutes in hot oil before being perched on a wood skewer for easy nibbling.
When asked if the treat qualified as a vegetarian meal, a man at one Crispy Corn booth who identified himself only as Tony replied, "Probably not."
Not far away, fried tomatoes and roasted corn slathered in butter were on the menu. Near the Expo Hall, fruit smoothies awaited customers.
Another vendor along Food Row hawked fried peach slices with whipped cream and a sugary dipping sauce for $5 a serving. Again, it technically qualified as a vegetarian-friendly dish, if not cardiologist-approved.
Nathalie Bettin, a 20-year-old nursing student at Hillsborough Community College, temporarily stopped gnawing on a piece of raw sugarcane she got at a nearby pavilion to try the peach treat.
"It tastes like dessert," she said.
When asked which she would choose, the sugarcane or the peaches, she gave it some thought and replied, "Both."


Bryan LaPalme and Bill Prickett
John Moss & son Johnnie

Steve Copeland

Armando Loyal & Workers enjoying dinner

Charlie Belatti and Bill Prickett

Ryan Easley (Radar)

Vickie & Captain Lucky Eddie Straeffer (Band)


don't forget click on each pic to enlarge & read!

Downtown Residents Rail Against 'Disruptive' Street Fairs
Downtown residents say street fairs generate noise, traffic and garbage, harming local businesses.

A fair on Murray Street in TriBeCa last summer. (Flickr/NK Eide)
By Julie Shapiro
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer
February 14, 2011-LOWER MANHATTAN — Street fair season is still a few months away, but arguments are already breaking out downtown about the value of the schlock-and-greasy-food fests.
Detractors complain that the fairs generate noise, traffic and garbage, harming local businesses and reducing residents’ quality of life. Supporters argue that the fairs are worth the inconvenience because they boost the cash-starved nonprofits that sponsor them.
Further complicating matters, Community Board 1, the organization charged with weighing the pros and cons of the street fairs and issuing an advisory opinion on them, plans to raise about $30,000 this year by sponsoring seven of its own fairs.
CB1 will use the money to pay for office supplies and equipment, and also to keep a buffer against threatened city budget cuts, said Noah Pfefferblit, district manager of CB1.
"Unfortunately our city funds are not sufficient to meet our needs," Pfefferblit said in an e-mail.
Other organizations that sponsor street fairs downtown include the New York City Police Museum, the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, Chabad of Wall Street, the Independence Plaza Tenants Association and the 1st Precinct Community Council.
Good causes or not, many people downtown loathe the fairs
Read more:
Tuesday TV Picks: Larry the Cable Guy gets his own show
'Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy'
Picture this (if you can). The "Get 'er done" comedian travels across our country to find unique and different aspects of our history. Tuesday, Larry heads to a gator-infested swamp, goes undercover at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and races in a soapbox derby. 9 p.m. Tuesday on History (
Circus comes to town

Photo courtesy of Circo Aereo.
Circo Aereo, a circus group from Finland, will perform tonight in the de Jong Concert Hall..
By Carmen Dunford- Mon, 02/14/2011
Finnish circus, French juggling and flying high are what make the act “Espresso” the epitome of circus.
Circo Aereo, a contemporary circus group from Finland, will perform tonight in the de Jong Concert Hall. The show begins at 7:30 and tickets range from $11 to $21 for students.
Maksim Komaro, director, said in an e-mail the show will feature many ideas and genres of circus.
“We have a bit of everything,” Komaro said. “Vaudeville, traditional circus, street show, more contemporary ideas of circus; it’s a bit of a strange mix, but it hopefully comes together by the end.”
Jeff Martin, arts manager at BYU, said the show is a throwback to old-time traditional circus about comedy, physicality and juggling.
“I think people will be impressed with their level of skill,” Martin said. “I think it’s just something that people don’t get to see very often, so it will be kind of a fun opportunity to experience another culture.”
The group, formed in 1996, features four performers that have different backgrounds. Komaro said the others have studied in circus schools and have background in juggling. Komaro is self-taught, his love of circus stemming from when he saw an American magician on TV at age 5.
“I was hooked ever since,” Komaro said. “It started literally as child’s play for me, turned into a hobby and eventually into my profession. Magic, juggling and circus have been my passion and I have found my wife and most of my friends through this world.”
Komaro’s wife is an aerial acrobat and he said their 2-year-old son is obsessed with juggling and performing and plays that way all day long.
BYU will be the first stop on Circo Aereo’s tour to the United States.
“‘Espresso’ is a high-speed ride through the labyrinth of the history of circus,” according to program information. “The kind of voyage where one’s gaze can only grasp images, glimmers of light and movement.”

Monday, February 14, 2011

Extreme Riders - Kosair Shrine Circus 2-12-11


Don't forget click on each picture to enlarge & read!


John & Shirley Ringling North
On Oct. 05, 2010, members of the Byrd Family Tent, CFA, met in S. Jakcsonville, Il., and prepared and helped serve dinner for the
performers, workers, and owners of the Kelly Miller Circus. Chef Brian LaPalme prepared three delicious salads, wives of the tent
members brought deserts, and tent members Dave Williams, Andy, and Mike Sorrill grilled the hambergers and brats.
Performers and workers able to dash into the cook house tent at the intermission of the first show and enjoy the delicious meal.
After these people were served, tent members and wives, were able to enjoy their meal and visit with John and Shirley North.
After clean up, the tent members and wives enjoyed the second show in the big top. Bill Prickett (photos by Bill Prickett)
John Moss (RM) and John North

Armando Loyal and Charlie Bellatti

John North, Charlie Bellatti, Jay Jamison

. Dave Williams, Andy and Mike Sorrill



Kosair Shrine Circus Wows Louisville
50,000 Residents Flock To Watch Traveling Circus
February 13, 2011, From:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Circus officials said about 50,000 people flocked to watch the 86th Annual Kosair Shrine Circus at the Broadbent Arena in Louisville this weekend.
But circus officials said spectators were not the only ones that were attracted to the show. Protesters from the group called Animal Lovers of Louisville were also outside the arena to voice out their disapproval.
"(The circus) raises ethical questions of behavior towards other living creatures, and we are committed to stopping this practice in this community," protester Marc Wessels said.
However, Kosair Shrine Circus spokesman Randy Coe said they do not mistreat their animals.
"We would never allow cruelty at our circus and we have no history of that whatsoever, but I'm glad we live in a country where people can lawfully disagree," Coe said.
But there were no disagreements from the thousands of spectators, as they said the show was one that everyone must see.
"It's fun to see the circus through the eyes of kids. They're had such a great time," circus-goer Stephen Moore said.
Circus performer Nina Carden said one of the reasons circus members perform well together is that they were all born into the business.
"It is a very family oriented business, so it's a hard business to get into if you're not from it," Carden said.
“It's very exciting because everybody's a great performer. These people who come out here and travel with the circus are fifth generation circus people. Their grandparents were jugglers and trapeze artists," circus host Louie Michael said.
Coe said more than 300 volunteers work year-round to help make the annual show possible.
Circus officials said one of the biggest attractionsat the circus is getting the opportunity to ride one of six 9,000-pound elephants. "Isn't riding the elephants a lot of fun? It brings the kid out in all of us," Coe said.
Because the circus is for children, the Shriners said they were pleased that they were able to give out 12,000 free tickets to "Kosair Kids" with special needs.
Longest-running circus in Australia brings the big top fun to Armidale
Rob Levy putting on a show with the miniature donkeys
14 Feb, 2011
from: The Armidale
ROLL UP to one of Australia’s last remaining exotic circuses at the Armidale Showground.The Lennon Bros Circus is coming to town from February 17 to 20 - the only one to arrive in Armidale this year.
“We’re an exotic circus, meaning we have lions, monkeys, alpacas, camels, miniature horses and donkeys,” advanced marketing manager Patrick Houghting-Anderson said.
“We’re only one of two circuses left in Australia who have the exotic animals.”
The Lennon Bros Circus is the longest running circus in Australia, having been around since 1893.
Be amazed by the trapeze, high-wire act and acrobats, contortionists, clowns and the Double Wheel of Death in the two-hour show.
“We try to put the ‘wow’ factor back into circus,” Mr Houghting-Anderson said.
“We want to excite our guests and enable them to have an experience that they wouldn’t normally get.”
The Lennon Bros Circus remains family owned, with Geoffrey and Warren Lennon operating the circus.
Mr Houghting-Anderson, who has worked with a number of circuses, said that the animals here are well maintainted.
“The animals are our livelihood, but they’re also members of our family,” he said.
Circus for the soul;
UniverSoul Circus Review
Feb 13, 2011,By Monica Hill, Atlanta Unique Arts Examiner,
Once an unprecedented idea; a black circus -- first became a reality here in Atlanta! After 18 years, the soulful circus is still bringing the funk to it's birth home (with both the animals and the music). Located in the Green Lot of Turnerfield, under the UniverSoul Circus Big Top, Atlanta becomes as interactive as a Braves game with the help of some familiar friends. All the traditional circus components were apart of the show. With an engaging Ringmaster, awesome tricks, smelly animals, elements of danger, and food that smells better than it tastes, a circus wouldn't be a circus without all of those things. However, there's one thing that UniverSoul Circus has that makes it incomparable to others. Well it's pretty oblivious, since it is apart of the name, but, in case you missed out on it -- it's Soul!
When the word soul is used most of us will think of music. Though pop culture is infused into the entire show, the focus of soul for UniverSoul Circus is more than any hip-hop song can offer alone. A circus for the soul must interact with the people. From the high ropes acts to the appearance of Black Jesus, every part of the show is delightfully engaging. For instance, the ringmaster, "Shuckie Duckie" had to have passed my seat three times to get personal with those in attendance. There were giant beach balls to keep the audience busy even while the set was changing. The performers are an array of ethnicities and their costumes are just as colorful. The faithful were even surprised with a spiritually evoking grand finale. So it's safe to say, someone might have been led to the lord courtesy of "Big Top".
Thus, with soul being one half of the differentiating feature of this one-and-only world renown African-American circus, the better half is the audience. And, from the looks of it Atlantans know how to bring the soul with them to a circus.
It's no wonder why we needed to create our own. The Ringling Brother's surely ain't havin' all the ruckus during a show! But, under the "Big Top" the hooting and hollering is generously encouraged. 'Praise': A "joyful noise", that's what the Bible calls it and maybe the UniverSoul Circus performers would agree. Kudos, to the creators/owners of the black circus, Cedric and Cynthia Walker for providing culture to a culture that is often not allowed in the leading lane. The UniverSoul Circus under the Big Top is the definition of what happens when you create the lane -- success!
The circus will be here in Atlanta until February 27th, 2011.
So get your tickets in advance because it's bound to be...
Souled Out!
For more information on the UniverSoul Circus & ticktes:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Circus Finocchio, Rome


4-28-1932 to 2-2-2011
Dickie passed away last Wednesday morning in Gibsonton FL! He was the concession manager on Hoxie's Great American Circus back in the 70's and will be greatly missed by all! He requested to be creamated and will have no service, please keep his close friends and family in your prayers
"Dickie" was a great friend who taught Bill and I a lot
about the novelty business.
Hometown boy makes circus ring
Goldsboro native Andrew Hicks, 19, performs as a clown Friday during The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
By Molly FlurryFebruary 13, 2011
"Mom, Dad, I'm joining the circus." When Andrew Hicks told his parents that, he was not clowning around. "I've been clowning my whole life, so it wasn't a surprise to my parents that I would want to go further,"
Local group protests Shiner's Circus
Feb 12, 2011 LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB Fox 41) -- A group of animal rights activists are protesting the circus that's in town this weekend.
Members of the group, Animal Lovers of Louisville, held signs and stood outside the state fairgrounds protesting the Kosair Shriner's circus.
They claim circus animals are mistreated and forced to do "unnatural activities."
They want it to stop.
"It's important to me to come out and show the community that this type of behavior is unnecessary, that it raises questions of ethical treatment towards other living creatures. And we are committed to stopping this practice in this community," said Dr. Marc A. Wessels, Animal Lovers of Louisville.
The group has made a habit of protesting.
We tried to contact the Kosair Shriner's Circus but there was no answer.
A circus with a lot of history comes to town

Ringmaster Peter Sturgis, a 30-year veteran of the profession, will oversee the proceedings.
By Don Steele
Dodge City Daily Globe
Feb 12, 2011
DODGE CITY — Kids in Lebanon learn tumbling much the same way kids in America learn baseball — it’s the national pastime. And that’s how George Hamid’s passion for the circus got started — tumbling through the dirt streets of his hometown, Broumana, in the early 1900s. Hamid’s grandmother sent young George to join his uncle’s acrobatic troupe, which happened to be touring France with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1907. When the troupe returned to America in 1908, Hamid was taught to read and write English by a fellow performer: Annie Oakley. Having learned his way around show business from one of the best, Hamid rose to the top of the industry. He won the Acrobatic World Championship at the age of 13. By the age of 17, he owned his own act and began his own booking business for other acts. He became a recognized expert on fairs, circuses and expositions and even bought the Million Dollar Pier in Atlantic City, N.J.
In 1932, Hamid joined forces with veteran circus producer Bob Morton and started a touring show that continues today, now known as Hamid Circus Inc. The family business is now run by James Hamid Jr., representing the fourth generation of Hamid showmanship. Schooled by his father in all aspects of circus production, from sound to lights to logistics, Hamid proudly continues the family tradition of bringing smiles to hundreds of circus-goers across the country.
Come join the circus Hamid and his troupe arrived in Dodge City earlier this week, gathering here to put together the very first performance of the 2011 tour, the 80th anniversary for the family business. “We have acts coming from all over to join this year’s tour,” Hamid said in an interview with the Globe just two hours before the first performance. The tour will take its 40 members across the country at a rate of one city per week through October. “It will be a while before we get back home,” Hamid said. Hamid’s wife, Shirley, who is eighth-generation circus, and their three children are along for the tour. “Our manager also has three kids, and they all appear in the show,” Hamid said.

With a snappy greeting for kids of all ages, one of the larger members of the Hamid Circus troupe pauses while getting ready for the first performance of the nine-month tour.
As the weather gets warmer and business picks up on the circus circuit, Hamid will have as many as three separate groups making stops across the country. “Dad and I always joked that if we could put 52 units together, we’d work the first week of April and take the rest of the year off,” Hamid said. So what would Hamid’s great-grandfather think if he could see one of the performances of the 80th anniversary tour? “He would miss the sawdust, but he’d be amazed at the technology,” Hamid said. And he would undoubtedly appreciate that his descendants still display the flexibility it takes to put on a show.
As all the acts made their way to Dodge City to put the tour together, one group was trapped in Arkansas when Interstate 40 was closed. Trapped for three days, the performers really wanted to get on the road, but good judgment and the threat of a $1,000 fine kept them safely stranded. Not everyone was as wise. Stranded in the same location, the Harlem Globetrotters headed down the road but only made it 16 miles before getting stuck.
“We want them to get here, but we want them to be safe,” Hamid said. The group was expected to arrive in Dodge City late Friday.
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