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Saturday, March 5, 2011


Fair's military appreciation repays those who sacrificed so much

Fair-goers stand at attention as the colors are presented Friday during opening ceremonies at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta. (Joselito Villero)
Imperial County came out in droves to recognize the sacrifices of the nation’s military personnel Friday at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta in Imperial.
What better way to show appreciation for U.S. service men and women than free admission to the fair, said organizers.
Bo Shropshire, fair board president, praised the military personnel as a color guard from Naval Air Facility El Centro paraded just prior to the opening. It was time “for everyone to show appreciation for those on the front lines for their country,” Shropshire said.
Handing out tickets to active-duty personnel and veterans was Korean War veteran Tom Landrum. He wanted to support the vets in any way possible, he said.
One thing he loves about the fair is the “can-do” spirit on the faces of all the children competing in livestock judging and contests, Landrum said. That enthusiasm typifies the American spirit, he said.
And for any military personnel requiring guidance on veterans’ affairs a veterans’ booth stocked a wealth of information in the Preble Building. Vietnam veteran Lee Quarcelino, provided any vets needing guidance accessing a Veterans Administration clinic of benefits with brochures to steer them in the proper direction.
He passed along critical information to those just returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to get them into a program for post-traumatic stress disorder. He also had employment tips from the Employment Development Department to fast-track veterans from the service to the job market.
Quarcelino said he has been attached to the fair since he was a child.
“I’m too old to ride the rides but I love all the exhibits,” he said.

Shrine Circus parade Saturday in St. Charles

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Friday, March 4, 2011
The 69th annual Moolah Shrine Circus parade willl be held at noon on Saturday in St. Charles.
The parade will head south on North Riverside Drive, ending at the parking area for the Lewis and Clark Boat House and Nature Center at Boone's Lick Road. Until recent years, the parade was held in St. Louis.
There will be more than 100 parade units. The staging area will be at ACF Industries, 602 North Second Street.
The circus will perform at the Family Arena March 17-20. Proceeds benefit the Shriners hospitals.


George Hanneford III pats one of his performing elephants during the 26th annual Muskegon Shrine Circus held at the L.C. Walker Arena on Friday, March 4, 2011. Chronicle photo by Kendra Stanley-
Daquon Bates, 3, left, and Ja'Ricus Burks, 4, play with fiber optic light toys while attending the 26th annual Muskegon Shrine Circus held at the L.C. Walker Arena on Friday, March 4, 2011. Chronicle photo by Kendra Stanley-Mills

Mario Espana rides a motorcycle on a raised platform at the 26th annual Muskegon Shrine Circus held at the L.C. Walker Arena on Friday, March 4, 2011. Chronicle photo by Kendra Stanley-Mills

Carlos Svensson lets his pygmy goat "Max" climb on his shoulders during the 26th annual Muskegon Shrine Circus held at the L.C. Walker Arena on Friday, March 4, 2011. Chronicle photo by Kendra Stanley-Mills

Carlos Svensson reacts to his horse "Prince" pulling off his wig during the 26th annual Muskegon Shrine Circus held at the L.C. Walker Arena on Friday, March 4, 2011. "Prince" is a 8-year-old Shire that weighs 2,250 lbs. Chronicle photo by Kendra Stanley-Mills

Elena Kambarova Garcia performs with Hula Hoops during the 26th annual Muskegon Shrine Circus held at the L.C. Walker Arena on Friday, March 4, 2011. Chronicle photo by Kendra Stanley-Mills

Circus entertainers prepare to perform an aerial ballet during the 26th annual Muskegon Shrine Circus held at the L.C. Walker Arena on Friday, March 4, 2011.

In the center of the ring: Brian Crawford Scott relishes keeping Ringling Bros. circus on track

Xanthos for News
Brian Crawford Scott said his parents had no idea he was auditioning for the circus.
Saturday, March 5th 2011
For Brian Crawford Scott, life is a three-ring circus.
The newest ringmaster for the Ringling Bros. Circus, now in its 141st year, performs as many as 500 shows a year — moving the Greatest Show on Earth along with a little narration and introducing acts including the Human Fuse.
He even sings.
A former struggling actor who waited tables at City Winery downtown for two years, Scott, 24, lived in Astoria. Now he lives on a train hopping from city to city.
He'll be center stage as the circus wraps its final week at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., and moves to the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum March 16-20.
When offstage, he says he lives by a strict "no talking" policy to maintain his voice.
"I follow a very specific routine for myself so I feel good and I feel like I'm able to perform. We perform as many as three shows in one day. Those are days where I don't talk at all.
"I only speak when I'm performing. I only sing when I'm on the floor. Otherwise, I don't speak to anybody. It has become a big joke among the crew. They think it's funny and they like to pick on me during the shows."The singing ringmaster is a new feature.
"The ringmaster used to be equestrian directors and they worked with a lot of animals and that's where the whip and the chair and the lion-taming came in.
"But now the ringmaster's role is much more like a narrator, and like a guide for the audience," says Scott. "I sing to lead the audience through what they're seeing and open the show."
You know the old story about running away to join the circus? Scott's parents didn't know he was auditioning forthe job.
"It surprised everybody," he says. "My mother and father were like, ‘Wait, you just got a job doing what?' All my friends were like, ‘You're joking, right? That can't be real.' But everyone's really enthusiastic and really supportive. My mom and brother came to see me in Florida and they really enjoyed it."
It's not as if becoming a ringmaster was Scott's life goal. He had never seen the circus before getting hired.
"I had no tie to the circus before I got there. But I would say as a performer, this opportunity is a dream come true," he says. "I'm getting to travel across the country. I'm getting to work in a very professional setting with amazing acts that I've never seen before. I get to do what I was trained to do and what I want to do.
"Oh, and I get a shower in my dressing room."
That's a big deal, he says. The biggest perk is having his own dressing room. "For the first time in life I feel like I have a space which I don't have to share."
Read more:

Friday, March 4, 2011

World Circus Day is a special day for families all over the world to celebrate the magic of the circus. Stage a special event, take a kid to a circus, throw a circus party, dress up like a clown, join a circus fans association, or create your own circus, complete with your family pets.
Make World Circus Day a day for the world to remember!
The Second World Circus Day will take place on Saturday, 16 April 2011.
Water for Elephants Official Trailer 2
FunHouse opens, includes circus-themed mazes

Bill Balfour, General Manager of EnterTRAINment Junction, demonstrates the effect of the "tilt room" which is part of the new A-Maze-N Funhouse.
By Eric Robinette, Staff Writer
March 3, 2011
WEST CHESTER TWPEnterTRAINment Junction can now turn the world sideways and get people lost in a glut of punching bags.
And if that sounds zany, that’s exactly the idea.
The train-themed attraction, just off Interstate 75’s Tylersville Road exit, opened the A-Maze-N FunHouse this week, a collection of mazes themed around the circus.
The funhouse is just to the left of the main entrance, where the Victorian and Christmas mazes have been located. The Christmas maze is still in place and figures in the new attraction. But the circus theme dominates the remainder.
The entrance will be decked out in circus tents, and to the right, visitors can peak through the glass at a Christmas display, which will be open year-round, said Bill Balfour, the general manager of EnterTRAINment Junction.
From there, visitors can check out any number of circus-themed mazes, but they don’t have to do so in any particular order.
When the junction had a funhouse-type attraction in its early days, “a lot of parents with little kids said they were scared of the black light. They would say, ‘Mommy I don’t want to go in there,’ ” Balfour more at:


Murat Shrine Circus back in town
Shows run Thursday through Sunday with tickets ranging between $10-20.
By News Staff, Fox59 March 3, 2011
Indianapolis — The Murat Shrine Circus opened at the Pepsi Coliseum Thursday. A group of Central Indiana students got to enjoy a free performance as part of the opening ceremonies.
Shows run Thursday through Sunday with tickets ranging between $10-20.
"Animals, clowns, aerial acts, the only double wide flying trapeze, you saw elephants, we have mixed animals, we have something for everyone here,” Ringmaster Peter Sturgis said.
Part of the money raised goes to help fund Shriners Hospitals around the country.
From: Fox59

Cirque show can morph over time
Friday, Mar. 04, 2011
After months of hype, Cirque du Soleil fans are finally getting a peek at "Totem," the new production that just landed in Charlotte after a couple of successful runs in Europe.
But the "Totem" we see this month might not be the same "Totem" we'd see if it returns to town a few years from now.
As the show's artistic director, Melanie Lalande works closely with writer/director Robert Lepage and her team of 11 support staffers to tirelessly look for "new ideas to help further develop the show ... from looking at lighting, music, the acts, costuming, just anything artistically that has to do with the quality and integrity of the show. That's my job, to sort of keep it to the high standards of Cirque."
Based on Lalande's feedback, the show could undergo anything from changes in tiny details to major revisions - up to adding, eliminating, or rearranging acts.
"It just depends on the situation and the point you are in the show's life," she says. After shows are created, "they're set to go on tour in a big top for about 12 years, and then they go on to an arena for another six years. So they're created with the idea that they'll live to be about 18 years old traveling the world, and there's quite some changes that one could go through (over time)."
Lalande, 36, has been with Cirque for three years; previously, she ran her own dance company in the Washington, D.C., area. "Totem" is the second show Lalande has worked on for the company, after "Kooza" (currently playing in Tokyo).
Though the George Mason University School of Dance graduate's performing days are mostly behind her, she still cops to being tempted by the prospect of trying some of Cirque's more exciting stunts.
"Circus arts are crazy. I watch them and I'm like, 'These people are crazy,'" Lalande says. "But (a couple of acts) - like the Wheel of Death in 'Kooza,' for instance - it's very appealing and you do want to try." Read more:
The smallest show on Earth
Ed’s Amazing Flea Circus comes to Seekonk

Mya Lamonte, 10, asks "where's the flea?" while participating in a magic trick during Ed's Amazing Flea Cricus on Monday.
By George Morse, 03/03/2011
EAST PROVIDENCE - The circus came to Seekonk Monday night but this big top was small enough to fit inside the library’s program room. Among the circus’ star performers were Bruno, who displayed extraordinary strength, Fifi, who displayed impressive acrobatic work and Fernando, who showed off with a few daredevil maneuvers.
Not that any of these performers could be seen to the naked eye. This circus, and its stars put on their show using no more than a few feet of room. The entire circus, as a matter of fact, fit onto a small table.
It’s Ed’s Amazing Flea Circus and earlier this week, it was the feature of Seekonk Public Library’s family night.
Before the show began, a couple dozen youngsters who gathered around the stage were given a look at one of the show’s fallen performers using a small, handheld magnifying glass. Though some kids looked on eagerly, others shied away.
The man behind the flea circus is Ed Popielarczyk. Mr. Popielarczyk is a native of Florence, Mass. He works as a full-time performer. In the past, he’s put on magic shows at Seekonk Public Library, the result of a childhood hobby that turned into a profession. He is also a professional balloon artist.
“When I was in middle school I taught myself to juggle,” he said
“Then, when I was a kid, gong shows were the thing and a friend and I entered a bunch of gong shows in high school and I took up magic to add to that and juggling kind of fell to the wayside.”
The flea circus is a recent addition to Mr. Popielarczyk’s show. He said he started doing the circus about three years ago although it has always been of interest to him. Mr. Popielarczyk said the hardest part of starting the flea circus was building it.
“I like to entertain, I like to have fun with the kids, I like to get them to laugh and I use magic as a crutch to get the kids laughing,” he said.
On Monday night, the show seemed to be a hit with the young audience. The children on hand laughed and looked on as Fifi walked the tight rope and Bruno lifted playing cards. For the grand finale, Fernando was shot out of a cannon though a volunteer was able to catch him on a marshmallow.
As for where the fleas come from, Mr. Popielarczyk said he has three dogs and two cats.
For more on Mr. Popielarczyk, visit

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yak's Last Ride - Yakima Canutt by Clyde Lucas (bmi)

Circus Goes On Despite High Fuel Prices

Imagine traveling across the country every week, hauling tons of animals and equipment. That's the issue facing the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus as they set up shop in Augusta. WJBF News
Pooches part of trainer's family
Hans Klose, his wife, Mariya, and their family of dogs will perform during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
By Charmain Z. Brackett Correspondent, The Augusta Chronicle
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Circus performer Hans Klose has a nontraditional family.A lot of people ask about animal care. Circus people are good people. The animals we train become part of the family," said Klose, a dog trainer with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
The circus begins five performances of ZING ZANG ZOOM at James Brown Arena tonight at 7. Shows are also set for 7 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
Klose has 18 dogs, including four standard poodles, seven fox terriers, one Great Dane, an Australian shepherd and a couple of mixed-breed dogs. Thirteen of them are part of his and wife Mariya's act.
Klose spends most of his days with his dogs. Although they practice only about an hour each day, he and Mariya take turns running and playing with them about six times a day.
Some of his performing pooches have not come from expensive breeders but from animal shelters.
"I do go look at shelters if I'm in need of a new dog," he said.
When Klose chooses a new dog, he has some specific criteria in mind.
"They need a lot of energy," said Klose, whose parents were also circus performers and formed the dog act that was passed down to him.
A dog that likes to sleep most of the day does not make a good performing animal. Also, he looks for younger animals between the ages of about 8 months and 18 months.
Older dogs can learn tricks, but Klose said he has to consider the overall lifespan of a potential performer.
It takes a lot of time to train a dog, and typically, dogs will begin to slow down between the ages of 8 and 10.
He does have some older dogs in his act.
"They sit there and look pretty," he said.
Once they are unable to perform, they retire as his personal pets.
"Once I get a dog, it stays with me all its life," he said.
Klose said he's often asked the toughest part of his job.
"The work with them is personal. When one passes away, that's the hardest part of the job," he said.
Strawberry festival opens today

By GEORGE H. NEWMAN The Tampa Tribune
Published: March 3, 2011
PLANT CITY - Let the celebration — and the gluttony — begin.
The Florida Strawberry Festival opens at 10 a.m. today for an 11-day run. The celebration of King Strawberry includes carnival rides, livestock shows and mountains of shortcake.
Volunteers at the three shortcake booths, operated by two churches and the East Hillsborough Historical Society, often work hard to keep up with demand for the $3.50 per bowl treat.
"If the weather's good, we could sell upwards of 30,000 shortcakes," historical society President Shelby Bender said.
Some visitors have voracious appetites for the sweet fruit topped with whipped cream, she said. "We've had some big fellows come back through the line three or four times."
Festival General Manager Paul Davis said he's anticipating 40,000 visitors on opening day and 500,000 or more over all.
"We brought in new rides, to make it fresh, new vendors, new food products and with good weather we are expecting a lot of people to come through the gates," he said.
This is the 76th annual festival, which celebrates the harvest of Plant City's biggest crop. Nearly all the nation's strawberries are grown on about 8,000 acres in the area during a harvest that lasts from about Thanksgiving to Easter.
At Spivey's Southern Grill, workers were busy Wednesday getting ready to sell Italian and Polish sausage and cheese steak sandwiches.
"We are gearing up for a big opening day crowd," said grill master Craig Stansel, as Italian sausage sizzled on the grill.
Maintenance man T. L. Porter, who has been working for the ride owner Bobby Myers for 10 years, said he's looking forward to the festival.
"We're hoping for good weather and a lot of people to come out. That will keep me working."

The Spectacular Shrine Circus Returns to Metro Detroit March 30 – April 3
Daily Performances Under Brand New Big Top Features Amazing Aerial Acts, Acrobats and an Array of Extraordinary Animals

March 02, 2011 HAZEL PARK, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Experience the wonder and magic of the Detroit Shrine Circus under the “World’s Largest Big Top” from March 30 – April 3, 2011 at the Hazel Park Raceway. The 105th Shrine Circus will feature dazzling and breathtaking performances by acclaimed international acts, many never before seen in Detroit, that promise to be more astonishing than ever.
.Join Ringmaster Devin Chandler for an action-packed experience featuring performing pachyderms, prancing horses, clown comedy and new this year:
•The spellbinding stratospheric sensation Joseph Dominic Bauer on “The Original Wheel of Thrills” •Hilarious bouncing antics of America’s number one high-diving act, Don Otto •Direct from Italy, and for the first time in the United Sates, a new big top masterpiece designed exclusively for the Detroit Shrine Circus. Show times are as follows:
Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1: 10:00 am, 4:00 pm, and 7:30 pm
Saturday, April 2: 10:00 am, 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm
Sunday, April 3: 1:00 pm, 5:30 pm
“Our Shrine Circus Big Top gives children and adults an up-close and intimate experience with our exciting lineup of world famous acts,” said Chuck Baer, Circus Director. The Shrine Circus, established by the Detroit Moslem Temple Shriners in 1906, has become a worldwide phenomenon.
Children of all ages are welcome to marvel at the magnificent big top performances, and lose themselves in the whimsical sideline entertainment that includes cheery clowns, exotic elephant rides, colorful face painting and moon bouncing and much more. Concessions are available throughout the performance.
The Hazel Park Raceway provides fenced, secured and lighted parking, a huge petting zoo, carnival attractions, and of course, the big show. Tents will be heated, handicap accessible and have first class amenities. The first Shrine Circus was held at Light Guard Armory, located at Larned and Lafayette in downtown Detroit where a historical marker indicates the location’s prominent place in history.
Tickets are on sale now at Prices range from $15 - $50 when purchased online and the box office. Discounted coupons are available at select local retailers, including Hungry Howie’s and Genisys Credit Union. For more information please visit Hazel Park Raceway is located on the corner of 10 Mile Road and Dequindre in Hazel Park and accessible from area freeways. The Shrine Circus box office, located at Hazel Park Raceway is open 9:00 am-7:00 pm beginning March 1st.

The Circus Poster - A Special Book About a Special Little GirlDiscovering Her Family’s Past Leads a Little Girl to the Future of Her Dreams
PRLog (Press Release) – Mar 02, 2011 – As much as a mother wants the best for her daughter, sometimes she has to let her child make her own decisions and “fly out of the nest” on her own. The Circus Poster is a special book about a special little girl.
Bianna Koslov loves gymnastics and practices all the time. But the 7-year-old just can’t convince her mother that she doesn’t wish to become the prima ballerina that her mother wants her to be. One day Bianna finds a large, dusty trunk in the basement, and an old circus poster. She wonders what these things have to do with her family, and where the items came from.
With the help of a locksmith, the Koslovs unlock secrets about their unique family history, and Bianna discovers that she comes from a wonderful heritage.
From rides to 'freaks,' carnival arrived here for 1-week engagement

In this year leading up to Arizona's centennial, on Feb. 14, 2012, we'll reprint a story each day from the Arizona Daily Star or Tucson Citizen archives.
March 3, 1912
With its steam piano, riding devices, laughing gallery, "freaks" and confetti, the Cosmopolitan Carnival company will open a week's engagement at the Elysian Grove Monday night, arriving here Sunday afternoon from Phoenix.
The carnival attractions will occupy the baseball grounds at the Grove, the hippodrome merry-go-round being stationed at the main entrance. The press agent says some of the attractions include "Zip," the half monkey and half human, "Dotty," the fat girl, a two-headed wonder, a man with a glass-front heart, deep-sea divers, glass blowers, a man who "leaps the gap," a minstrel show, two big six-in-one shows and the "big city show" featuring the Texas Tommy dance.
- Tucson Citizen

Spring carnival comes to Wilmington
Mar 02, 2011 WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The annual spring carnival is setting up shop in the Independence Mall parking lot.
Powers Great American Midways has come to Wilmington for the past 10 years. The company is family owned and operated out of Burgaw.

For $15 during the weekdays ($20 weekends) families can play all day on 15 rides. New this year: Monster Truck, Chopper Hopper, Ships Ahoy and Flying Bobs.
The carnival opens Thursday at 5:00 p.m. and is open 5:00-10:00 p.m. on the weekdays, 12:00-11:00 p.m. on the weekends.
The carnival will travel up the coast to New York before returning to Wilmington in November.

Circus with Soul

Credit: Ron Elkman
This week, UniverSoul Circus is returning to Richmond for the 10th consecutive year.

By Crystolyn Macklin
Published: March 02, 2011 from:
Whenever UniverSoul Circus comes to town, you can bet on Valerie Burrell-Muhammad to be there. The Richmonder has not missed a show of the black-owned circus in years, which features the talents of African-American performers.
"I am in love with all things by us and for us—that’s why I continue to go again and again," said Burrell-Muhammad. "That isn’t to exclude other cultures, because the show does an excellent job of including those from various walks of life. It’s just more powerful than anything we’ve ever known. It’s a universal concept—it really is."
This week, UniverSoul Circus is returning to Richmond for the tenth consecutive year with a range of performances in a combination of circus arts, theater, and music at the Richmond International Raceway.
"We will always produce a show filled with soul and hip hop music, and we will always feature only the most dynamic performers from around the world," said founder and CEO Cedric Walker in a statement. "It doesn’t matter if you’re an urbanite or a suburbanite, old school or new school, generation X or Y, pre-school, high school or grad school – I strongly believe everyone will find something to enjoy at our show."
Walker started the circus in Atlanta in 1994, realizing his dream of creating a show that features African-American performers to entertain and enlighten a wide demographic of spectators. Today, the cast features performers from 11 different countries. Walker travels the world himself to select the artists. Over the years, the circus has done more than 500 shows in 32 major cities.
"Our show is very up-close and many enjoy it because of the personal connection they feel from the performers, such as one of the characters Onion Head who interacts with the audience throughout his act," said circus promoter Hermione White, who also travels with the circus while it’s on tour.
The show, which is about two hours long, launches today (March 2) at the Richmond Raceway Complex and runs through March 6. On March 2, 3, and 4 shows start at 10:30 a.m. and at 7:30 p.m. On March 5, there will be shows at noon, 4 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. On March 6, show times are at 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $12-$27 (plus fees) at the box office or at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Acro-Cats hope to climb, jump and swat their way into New Orleanians hearts

March 02, 2011,
By Brendan Twist, The Times-Picayune
While Carnival rages across the city, the Shadowbox Theatre will play host this weekend to Samantha Martin and the Acro-Cats, a circus cabaret starring domestic house cats and featuring perhaps the world's only feline-fronted band, the Rock Cats.
"It's unlike anything you've ever seen before in your life, " Martin said.
For most of us, that's not hyperbole.
An Indiana native, Martin earned an associate degree in animal husbandry and moved to Chicago in the late 1980s to train animals for use in movies and advertisements. She also assembled a trained rat show that gained a cult following.
"There's no future in rats, I discovered, " Martin said. "Nobody wants a rat as a spokesperson."
Martin began collecting more exotic animal breeds, training them for TV and film, and exhibiting them at schools and birthday parties. In the early 2000s, she shifted her focus toward domestic cats, seeing greater earning potential and a chance to explore her gifts as an entertainer. Martin devised the Acro-Cats, and, after performing in Chicago for several years, she took the act on the road.
read more at:



Joie Chitwood Thrill Show Tampa Florida 1977

Thrill Show Flashback: Meet the Hurricane Hell Drivers!


The show was good and well received. Had two full houses and they spent money. Tommy Liebel had the elephant, pony rides, and moon bounce. He had a troupe of five orential girls, Jack Cook, boxing kangaroo, three musical clowns, motordrome, roller skating, cube juggling, and contortion acts. It ran ninety minutes.Mr. Garden was in attendance and very attentive to business.