2014 Convention



Saturday, March 26, 2011


Families Enjoy Opening Night at Shriner's Circus

Reno, NV, 03.25.11

Many of us are familiar with Shriners as the men with fez hats on, and mini cars, but the Shriners also provide the Circus to attend this weekend.

Toddler injured in fall from stands at NYC circus .
MARCH 25, 2011
Associated Press
NEW YORK — A toddler attending a New York City circus with his family has suffered head trauma after falling more than 10 feet from the stands.
The 1-year-old boy was attending a show at the UniverSoul Circus tent Friday morning in the Bronx when he slipped through the bleachers.
The child was taken to a nearby hospital. His condition was not immediately known.
Circus spokesman Hank Ernest said it was "a truly unfortunate accident." He said they were hoping for a speedy recovery for the boy.
The Atlanta-based circus was founded in 1994 to showcase the talents of black performers but has an international cast.
Featured acts can include a contortionist, stilt dancers and trick dogs.

Circus Arrives in Youngstown

Circus coming to DL not once, but twice

It’s time to break out the twirley light-sticks and prepare for a cotton candy-induced sugar rush.

By: Paula Quam, DL-Online

The Kent Freeman Sports Arena is preparing for two circuses, set to roll into town on Monday, March 28 and Thursday, March 31 — the first of which will be the ‘world-class family entertainment’ of the José Cole Circus.
The José Cole
The Minneapolis-based José Cole Circus is being sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, Council 3166 of Detroit Lakes.
Co-chairman of the circus Bobby Heimark says the José Cole is similar to most circuses, with one small difference.
“They do have the three rings and the elephant rides, but what I’ve heard is that this one is geared more toward younger kids, but it really is for anyone.”
The José Cole promises new and amazing acts from around the globe, supplemented with exciting music, special lighting to dramatically highlight the performance, and a world-renowned ringmaster.
The Knights of Columbus organization in Detroit Lakes, which has 320 members regionally, has been working with this circus for years as a fundraiser, getting them 20 percent of the ticket sales.
Heimark says this usually translates into anywhere from $900 to $1,300 a year, with $300 of that going to book the arena.
Representatives from the José Cole pre-sold tickets to local businesses in January, and Heimark says many of those businesses end up donating their extras to non-profit groups around the area.
“I know they will give to places like the Holy Rosary school, Boys and Girls Club, group homes, the Divine House … places like that.”
The José Cole Circus has been around since 1975, and is the only locally owned and operated circus in the upper mid-west.
Their show is Monday, March 28 at 7 p.m.
Prices are $7 for children 3 to 12 years old, $9 for those 13 years and up, and children under 3 are free with a paid adult.
Tickets are available at the door.
read more at:
Hejaz Shrine Circus returns to Anderson for four performances
By Jake Grove Anderson Independent Mail
March 25, 2011
There might not be the traditional lions and tigers and bears traipsing through the Civic Center of Anderson this weekend for the Hejaz Shrine Circus, but you can be rest assured that more than a few wild animals will come through the doors for a fun-filled family frolic.
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Hejaz Shrine Circus returns to the Civic Center of Anderson for three days and four shows of one of the most amazing acts on Earth. The checklist is set and the tickets are ready to be snatched up.
Horses. Check.
Clowns. Check.
Elephants. You better believe it.
“You know, this is always one of the biggest shows of the year at the Civic Center,” said Charles Wyatt, executive director of the Civic Center of Anderson. “It packs out the building for three days and it accomplishes some pretty important goals for us.”
The first goal is providing family entertainment at an affordable cost, Wyatt said. And at $11 for an adult ticket and $9 for child admission, that was easy to accommodate. But it also does something good for the community, as all the proceeds from the event will benefit the Shriners Hospital here in the Upstate.
“The Shriners raise a lot of money for the hospital with this circus tour,” Wyatt said. “It’s a great show for a great cause.”
The reason it packs the house every year is because of those “wide-eyed moments” Wyatt said. And there is no bigger wide-eyed moment than when the elephants come parading through the center stage.
It only makes sense. After all, if a two-ton elephant came strolling up right beside you, wouldn’t your eyes get a little bigger than normal? Wyatt said no matter how many times he sees the elephants come through the door for the first time, it’s something he knows he will never forget. He hopes as many people as possible will come this weekend to experience the same thing.
“Our load-in doors at the back of the Civic Center are called elephant doors,” Wyatt said. “It’s because they are big and can fit just about anything. Well, this weekend they really will be elephant doors.”
They will also be clown doors, dog doors, horse doors, high-wire act doors and ringmaster doors, because the whole circus experience will be ready and set up by Friday night.
The Hejaz Circus is one of those rare opportunities to make memories, Wyatt said. Even though parents and grandparents may have seen a circus plenty of times in their lives, they have the chance to see their children and grandchildren marvel at the showcase of imagination that comes right to their hometown.
Wyatt said he and the staff love seeing the parents step back a bit and watch their children run up to a clown or see the horses trot into the center ring. And they can’t believe their eyes as trapeze artists fly overhead and land with the grace of a jungle cat.
“These kids are making memories and the parents get to see that in action,” he said. “You might never have the chance to see a show like this again.”
The shows will be at 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available at $11 for adults and $9 for children. The price will go up by $2 on the day of the show.
Circus Vargas returns to Temecula

Courtesy photo - Acrobats at Circus Vargas
Friday, March 25th, 2011
"America’s favorite big top circus," is bringing "the big one" back to the southwest Riverside County – with big heart, big laughs, big talent and big fun.
Circus Vargas will be held March 31 to April 11 at the Promenade Temecula.
Striving to present the finest in family entertainment, Tabares Entertainment proudly presents an entirely new production of Circus Vargas for 2011.
This time around Circus Vargas hopes to take guests on an artistic journey, encompassing the cultures of the world, in a series of vignettes depicting the experiences, memories and visions of a traveling circus performer.
Join the circus on a captivating jaunt across the globe, seen through the eyes of the talented aerialists, acrobats, comedians and more, as they transcend language, age Advertisement
[ Berry-Bell and Hall Mortuary ] and cultural barriers, through the art of circus.
Thirty minutes before show time, fans will get an exciting pre-show peek into the world of Circus Vargas, hosted by reality television personality from the CBS show "The Amazing Race," Jon Weiss.
Prior to every show, Weiss will be front and center welcoming the audience and inviting children to take a "center stage" look at life under the big top.
Everyone is encouraged to participate in the pre-show action, and to join Weiss as he guides them on a quick crash course in circus skill and stamina.
More information about Circus Vargas can be found at, on the phone at (877) GOTFUN-1 (877-468-3861) or at the circus box office
Cirque stretches idea of circus

By David Maurer,
March 25, 2011
When one-time clown and circus owner James L. Thayer brought his show to Charlottesville in 1870, he made an interesting observation.
The man with the nickname “Doo” stated with straight face that the performances he was offering were so entertaining that the “consumptives and dyspeptics” in the audience would be cured.
Tim Smith, artistic director for Cirque du Soleil — Alegria, isn’t claiming any curative abilities for the spectacular he’s bringing to the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena next week.
Nonetheless, he’s confident that people will be astonished, dazzled and certainly entertained by the international cast of 55 performers and musicians from around the world. Cirque du Soleil — Alegria opens the first of eight shows at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
“We’ve found that 99 percent of the audience members who see Cirque du Soleil shows, especially Alegria, walk away saying they have never seen anything like it before,” Smith said recently during a pre-show visit to Charlottesville. “Then they often ask, ‘Where do you find these performers?’read more at:
Carnival sneak peek kicks off fair activities
By Tori Brock, Staff Reporter, The Huntsville Item
Thu Mar 24, 2011
HUNTSVILLE — Even though opening ceremonies for the Walker County Fair won't be held until Saturday at 1 p.m., several people turned out for Thursday night's sneak peek of the carnival.
Rides, games and many food vendors were open, turning the Walker County Fairgrounds into a plethora of sights and sounds
Cassidy Yeager, 8, said she couldn't wait to buy an armband and ride all the rides.
“I like the boat ride where you go up and down and it stays in the air,” she said. “And I like the balloon popping. Please come to the fair, it's very fun.”
From carnival ride operators to workers in food stands, foreign tongues could be heard ringing out throughout the night. Gold Star Entertainment, the company that runs the midway entertainment area, employs a team of people from South Africa.
Simone Clifton hails from the country and said she loves running the snack booth stocked with candy apples and cotton candy.
“There's a lot of us actually here,” she said. “It's exciting. When it's busy you can meet lots of people, go on the rides and have fun. We do it from the end of February until halfway through November. Then we go home again.”
Miranda Fontana and Kaitlynn Bell were running around riding every ride in sight. The Huntsville teens said the Zero Gravity ride was their favorite.
“Because it's fun,” Fontana said. “It like, takes you up in the air and it spins you and you like, stick to the back and you don't fall off.”
Bell agreed, and said, “and like your head is like suction-cupped to it.”
“Your cheeks are going everywhere,” she said. “You can feel the fat on your face just sucked back. I'm going to try to come (Friday night) because everything will be all lit up and it'll be cool.”
The Walker County Fair will continue through April 2.
Wallendas, human cannonball part of Shrine Circus

Jennifer Schneider, better known as the Cannon Lady, looks down the barrel of a 27 foot truck mounted cannon as she eyes the cannon's position to ensure a safe and precise landing on the elevated net in the background on Thursday. Schneider will blast from the cannon like a human cannonball for her act at the annual Shrine Circus held inside the Bismarck Civic Center today and Saturday. By KAREN HERZOG Bismarck Tribune
March 24, 2011
The Floridians that run the Shrine Circus are a bit traumatized with the North Dakota weather they're trekking through to bring the circus to town, said show producer Cindy Migley.
But the show must and will go on.
Tigers and elephants, high-wire aerialists, including the world-famous Wallenda family, will go on Friday and Saturday for performances at the Bismarck Civic Center.
Among the acts will be a white tiger, and a Doberman pinscher act "that's very different from the usual dog act," she said.
Shane Johnson will perform a comedy Model T car act and there's also a magic quick-change act from Russia and a contortionist who flew in from San Diego, she said.
Aerial trapeze performers will include their youngest performing aerialist, 12 years old, who will climb to the top of the Civic Center, Migley said. She is part of the Wallenda troupe, Migley said.
The high-wire Wallendas are world-famous, and the grandson of Karl Wallenda, Rick Wallenda, recently recreated the sky walk in Puerto Rico in which his grandfather died, she said.
The show finale this year will be Jennifer Smith, "the human cannonball," who will be shot across the Civic Center, Migley said.
Performances start at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Friday. Saturday's performances are at 10 a.m., 2 and 7 p.m. The circus also will raffle off children's bicycles during each performance.
Reserved seats are $16; general admission is $12. Children under 3 get in free if they can sit on a lap. Car seats are not allowed unless a ticket is purchased for the car seat. No strollers will be allowed.

Friday, March 25, 2011


DeLand-based circus hits home

March 25, 2011
DELAND -- Surrounded by a flurry of fur, Laura Harriott uses the loud snaps of equestrian whips like a conductor in a chorus to direct a draft horse, camel, llama, and a 30-inch miniature horse named Tornado making rounds in the Cole Bros. Circus ring.
Soon clowns roll by under the big top in a tiny car, followed by female pirate acrobats and a group of yapping pink poodles in a matching buggy. Motorcycles spin in the ThunderDrome before a man shoots out of a cannon.
On Thursday morning -- two days before the Cole Bros. Circus opens for a weekend of shows -- it's still a little early for the glitz and glam of costumed animals and performers at rehearsal. Nearly 150 performers and crew came out of winter hibernation from all over the country to start the circus' 127th edition at the tent on U.S. 17-92 near the DeLand Municipal Airport.

The DeLand-based circus will tour about 100 cities mostly east of the Mississippi, stopping for a couple of days and, in some cases, a week in big cities.
On tour this time will be a new big top with a higher ceiling to replace the circus' 10-year-old tent, said Renee Storey, vice president of administration.
"It's really as international as our cast," Storey said. "The engineering was done by an Italian firm and reviewed by an American engineer. The fabric for the tent was made in France; the concept for the design came from an Englishman, (circus owner) John Pugh, and the tent itself was manufactured in Mexico."
During rehearsal, fast-paced Arab music fills the new big top for Harriott's "Living Carousel of Wonderment."
Harriott, 55, who was born in Ohio and then promptly taken on the road, grew up in the circus and loves to travel, she said. She has all the comforts of home in an RV, set up next to a corral for her animals.

And just outside the circus tent plenty more trailers and RV generators hum loudly. Performers who can't afford RVs live in small rooms built into a semi trailer, equipped with showers.
"I look at it as being an American gypsy," said Harriott, who loves to cook and visit new grocery stores. "I'm excited to look forward to eating different ethnic things in different parts of the country."
With motors and wheels being a circus performer's "life's blood," getting stuck on the road with animals in tow can be a nightmare, she said. Already delayed by a couple of days by transmission issues, they were briefly stopped on the road for about an hour Wednesday before making it to the circus grounds.

Staff and performers take a break during rehearsals Thursday for the Cole Bros. Circus at the DeLand airport showgrounds. (N-J Peter Bauer)
In the background, "Phantom of the Opera" played in the tent as a woman from Kazakhstan did a split -- upside down and balancing on her head -- while Harriott, a fourth-generation performer, told her story.
"I'm presenting an act right now that is handed down," said Harriott, whose home base is Texas. "I learned all my skills from my grandfather and my father that handed down to generations."
Harriott's three children carry the fifth generation. This season, her 35-year-old son John Walker III will perform with three Asian elephants. It will be his girlfriend's first time performing and she will ride atop one of the pachyderms.
"It's a dream world. You don't have to clock in and clock out. You're at your job; you're where you want to be. You don't have to drive through traffic," said Walker, a Sarasota exotic animal trainer who grew up training in jazz and tap.
The tough part of the job is having no vacation for most of the year, working seven days a week.
"Now the elephants, they only work six minutes a day, twice a day, so they're living an easy life," he said.
Not everyone agrees.
This weekend as hundreds of people file in to watch the extravaganza, activists from Animal Rights Foundation of Florida will ask customers not to enter the circus and protest the use of elephants and other animals.
"All animals in circuses are abused simply by the fact that they're made to live in cages," said Don Anthony, spokesman for the animal rights group. "Their natural needs are hindered and their training is always brutal."
Last month, Cole Bros. Circus pleaded guilty to unlawfully selling a pair of endangered elephants across state lines.
Nearly 6,000 people attended the circus last year, said Storey, compared to about five protesters last year.
"People have an opportunity to see the animals and judge for themselves," Storey said. "We are very open people and offer the opportunity to walk the circus backyard to watch the trainers and interact with the circus animals."


Mariano & Gabrilla Savio

Paul Dean, Clown & Cook

Generator Truck & Mechanic's Shop

Concession Supply Truck

Tanya Herrmann Pick-Up

Tanya Hermann Hortse Trailer

Cook House & Small Animal Trailer

How to run away, join the circus and get a job
The circus-arts sector is hiring even in this economy
March 25, 2011
By Kim Hjelmgaard,
LONDON (MarketWatch) — It used to be enough when all else failed to simply run away and join the circus. And in today’s mediocre hiring environment, it turns out the circus may still be a reliable source of job openings.
“There’s lots of employment opportunities in this field. It’s an unusual field, admittedly, but we offer a very unusual training,” said Marc Lalonde, the executive director of the National Circus School in Montreal, one of North America’s top finishing schools for the so-called circus-arts disciplines.
Lalonde said the National Circus School has an extremely high success rate in finding work for its graduates because there are more jobs available than the industry can find suitable applicants for. “In some years,” he said, “nearly 100% of our students find work within the first few months of graduating.”
Still, the life of a circus artist isn’t always easy. Pay will vary widely by discipline, and it can be a short-lived career.
“It’s very difficult to say how long a circus artist’s career will last, or even what they get paid, because it varies from discipline to discipline and artist to artist,“ said Lalonde. “If you’re a juggler you can have a very long career, but you won’t get paid as much as an acrobat where it’s much more difficult on the body and chances are after the age of 40 you will probably retire or find another speciality. A clown, on the other hand, can have a very long career. And if you work in the cabaret in Germany, for example, where it is very popular, you might perform night after night and earn quite a lot.”
Lalonde, a former dancer, presides over an institution that offers intensive training in such specialized disciplines as Cloud Swing, Antipodism, Korean Board and the Rola Bola. And the National Circus School, according to Lalonde, is one of a handful of training centers globally that is heavily geared toward producing professionals for what he called an emerging or “underdeveloped field.”
In a further sign of the sector’s untapped status, Lalonde said that he has not noticed any decrease in the number of available jobs for his graduates as a result of the recent recession. “There are very few schools … training circus artists in the Western world right now,” he said. “And there simply aren’t enough performers to meet the demand at the moment. It’s as simple as that.”
Statistics hard to pin down With the U.S. jobless rate hovering around 9% is it worth becoming a fine study in Chinese Hoops Diving? One complication is that there are few, if any, repositories of information that track the size of the industry, or that are capable of describing it in terms that accurately reflect its various career prospects
Cole Bros. kicks off circus season in DeLand

BEACON PHOTO/JEN HORTON A couple of real clowns — Stephen Smith, left, and Cory Miller point to a sign in front of The Beacon advertising tickets for the Cole Bros. Circus. Smith and Miller are both clowns with Cole Bros.
Mar 23, 2011
Cory Miller and Stephen Smith are a couple of real clowns. No, really, they’re both professional clowns who will be on tour with Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars.
Miller, Smith and Chuck Werner, senior marketing director for the circus, stopped by TheBeacon to talk about this year’s show — and about being a clown.
Werner said, in his experience, clowns are born, not made.
Smith, a former firefighter, has been a clown for 12 years, and just started touring with Cole Bros. in 2010. Clowning for a living is the realization of a lifelong dream for Smith.
“When I was 7 years old and people would ask me ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ I would say ‘A clown,’” he said.
Miller has been a clown since he was 14.
He used to tell his mom he was going to run away and join the circus. Growing up in St. Louis, he learned some of the skills of the trade, like juggling, by talking to street performers.
This year will be Miller’s first with a circus.

BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN Stephen Smith — RJ the clown is having a pretty good time during DeLand’s dog parade
Both men said it’s rewarding to be the guys who make people smile.
“It’s just the magic; you help people forget their worries for a while,” Miller said.
“Our goal is to have folks come and experience the show and truly be able to forget about everything,” Smith added.
Clowning as an occupation does have hazards. Both Miller and Smith have worked private parties, events and grand openings. There have been pulled noses and stepped-on shoes.
Turns out, those items of clown apparatus aren’t cheap.
A good pair of clown shoes starts out at about $300; a good wig costs another $300.
“Just into the costumes, I probably have $8,000-$10,000,” Smith said.
That doesn’t include the unicycles, stilts, gags and juggling props, each adding to the price tag.
Makeup takes time, too. The men said good clown makeup is all about knowing your own face and your own expressions, and highlighting those features for the best effect.
Werner said, each year, the circus has a bit of a face-lift. It brings the audience a new show and keeps the feeling of magic fresh, he said.
This year, Cole Bros. has a new tent, with better seating capacity, and the seats are closer to the acts.
“No seat is more than 50 feet away from the show,” Werner said.
Clowns, of course, will be interacting with the audience.
Additionally, the big-cat show — lions and tigers — is back. There’s also an exotic-animal review featuring zebras, llamas, camels and ponies, and the Abduhadba Family and their Cartoon Poodles are back.
And, yes, there will be elephants.
Cole Bros. Circus has more animal entertainers than any other circus in America, Werner said.
Other features this year include the Flying Ponce Family on trapeze, a new aerial ballet, a motorcycle dome and the human cannonball.
Ringmaster Chris Connors will lead the show, which is being hosted by the DeLand Jaycees.
Showtimes are 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26, and 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 27.
Tickets cost $19 for adults, and $14 for children ages 2-12. Reserved seats cost an extra $3, and VIP seating costs an extra $6.
Free children’s tickets are available at, or at several area stores.
Buy tickets at Beacon, J.C.’s
Tickets to the Cole Bros. Circus performances March 26 and 27 in DeLand may be purchased in advance at The Beacon, 110 W. New York Ave. in DeLand, and at J.C’s Bikes and Boards, 345 S. Woodland Blvd. in DeLand. For more information, visit
Circus deflects animal complaints
By Barb Shepherd and Jen Horton,
Mar 23, 2011
When the circus comes to town, these days, the animal-rights protesters come along, too.
The Beacon has received several e-mails questioning why the newspaper would sell tickets for a business that practices animal cruelty.
Cole Bros. Circus senior marketing director Chuck Werner is familiar with the accusations, which follow the circus from town to town.
Werner talked about circus tigers. Not only are the animals treasured investments, but a person can’t make a cat do anything it doesn’t want to do, regardless of the size.
“These people make their living with these cats, so they take care of them,” Werner said.
He said the tigers and other circus animals get better care than their wild counterparts.
“They get regular veterinary care,” Werner said. “If a wild tiger gets a toothache, it’s stuck hurting.”
If a tiger is having an off day, or doesn’t seem like it wants to perform, Werner said, the tiger doesn’t perform.
“You don’t make a 400- to 500-pound tiger do anything it doesn’t want to do,” he said.
He said circus animals are given additional amenities, including extra space for play and exercise, a place to sun, and a pool to swim in.
“They have it pretty good,” Werner said.
Groups like PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and Born Free USA disagree. They say it’s unnatural — and unhealthy — for wild animals to travel by truck and perform in circuses, no matter how much food and veterinary care the circus provides.
These organizations publish lists of circus infractions and citations having to do with animal treatment, rally their members to write letters about animal cruelty to newspapers in towns where the circus is performing and, sometimes, assemble protesters on the circus showgrounds.
Werner said the circus has nothing to hide. Cole Bros. wants people to see the animals, and enjoy watching and interacting with them.
“At the circus, we don’t hide the animals. They’re right out in the open so that people can come and see them,” Werner said.
Animal entertainers in the 2011 show include lions, tigers, elephants, ponies, dogs, llamas and camels.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This came in the mail yesterday.
I've been being treated for my legs for the last few months.
And two weeks ago was supposed to be my last appointment.
But guess what?
I've got to go back next Monday!
And I've got to say that the staff there is A-OK!
To quote an old friend--
Circus daredevil doubles the danger

By Stacey Carmany
March 23, 2011
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's Daredevil Brian Miser "doubles the danger," lighting himself on fire before launches more than 100 feet through the air from his giant homemade crossbow.Longtime daredevil Brian Miser is taking his human cannonball routine to a death-defying new level.
As if being shot more than 100 feet through the air at 65 mph from a giant homemade crossbow wasn’t dangerous enough, Miser doubles the danger, doing so while engulfed in flames.
The 47-year-old performer, nicknamed “The Human Fuse,” is the star of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Fully Charged,” which comes to the Covelli Centre this more at:
Circus featuring wire walkers, motorcycle stunts runs through Sunday 3/23/2011
from: The Prescott, AZ Daily Courie
rThe American Crown Circus is coming to town and will put up its big tent at Prescott Gateway Mall for a weekend full of performances beginning at 7 tonight.
The crowd can expect to enjoy the traditional circus trappings from "high-flying flyers" and "gravity-defying wire walkers" to "spine-chilling motorcycle heroics of the Globe of Death" and the "crazy antics of circus clowns."
Tickets cost $16 each for adults, which include two children's tickets. Additional children are $5 each.
Performances continue at 7 p.m. Friday, 3, 5 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday. The circus big top will be located near Sears.
For more information, visit and the
New Shanghai Circus acrobats coming to THCA
March 23, 2011 Special to Clay Today
ORANGE PARK – Coming from China, to Clay County’s Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts, the New Shanghai Circus will amaze and astound family audiences with their agility and flexibility, this Saturday, March 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for The New Shanghai Circus’ only Northeast Florida performance are $25-$35 and can be purchased by calling the THCA Box Office at 904-276-6750 or online at Groups of 12 or more can save 20 percent on their ticket purchase by calling the THCA group sales line at 904-276-6766.
The New Shanghai Circus features more than 40 talented acrobats performing thrilling feats like the lion dance, jar juggling, hoop diving, trapeze, aerial ballet and more.
The combination of elegant Eastern dance and acrobatics along with colorful costumes and beautiful music make this show a must-see.
County fairs must steer around California budget cuts
The Cow Palace would lose $140,000 of its $4.5 million budget, which the Daly City venue currently uses to support the Junior Grand National during the nine-day Grand National Rodeo in October, due to state budget cuts. (Getty Images file photo)
By: Shaun Bishop 03/23/11
The purse for that prize-winning steer may be a little less meaty at this year’s Junior Grand National at the Cow Palace.
Leaner payouts at the annual livestock show for kids could be one of the few tangible impacts on the Peninsula from the governor’s proposal to eliminate $32 million in funding for the state’s 78 county fairs.
The Cow Palace would lose $140,000 of its $4.5 million budget, which the Daly City venue currently uses to support the Junior Grand National during the nine-day Grand National Rodeo in October.
Cow Palace General Manager Joe Barkett said the rodeo will go on, but the state cut would likely mean reducing the several hundred prizes — ranging from $2 to several thousand dollars — for the cows, sheep, pigs and other animals presented at the show.
“A big beef cattle class, where it costs a lot of money to raise these animals, would have a higher award or purse than the kid with the little rabbit,” Barkett said, “but it’s important to all of them.”
Meanwhile, the San Mateo Event Center, which will lose about $100,000 in state fair funds, is predicting no impact on the nine-day San Mateo County Fair in June.
The event center, with a budget of $8 million, is largely self-sufficient and does not receive a subsidy from the county.
“We’re operating this facility as if we’ve lost the funding already,” General Manager Chris Carpenter said.
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

Uploaded by ringlingbros on Mar 23, 2011

Watch the Ringling Bros. clowns and animals as they stroll through Washington, DC on 3-22-11.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® is roaring into town with Barnum 200, a new jumbo-sized, un-miss-able event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of legendary P.T. Barnum. From the moment that you arrive, The Greatest Show On Earth® comes to life in a way that can only be inspired by the greatest showman who ever lived. This funtastic and funbelieveable experience answers the FUNundrum!



The Liliputians of Connecticut: Princess Nellie and General Tom Thumb
Connecticut residents played important role in the development of the modern circus

Princess Nellie's "traveling box"Credit postcard
By Philip R. Devlin, March 22, 2011
The circus has a history dating back to antiquity. The word itself goes back to the Greek “kirkos” meaning “circle,” but it was the Romans who really popularized the circus with the famous “circus maximus.” Horse races, chariot races, gladiatorial combat, trained exotic animals, jugglers and acrobats—these activities were all part of the offerings at a Roman circus. American influence on the development of the circus as a form of popular entertainment came about largely as a result of a famous Connecticut resident—Phineas T. Barnum of Bridgeport. One of Barnum’s innovations was to develop “sideshows,” sometimes referred to as “freak” shows. Such shows would often feature human oddities such as a bearded woman, extremely thin or fat people, or extremely short or tall people. Two of the shortest people who made a name for themselves as circus attractions-- and a very good living as well—were also from Connecticut: General Tom Thumb of Bridgeport and the lesser-known, Princess Nellie, of the East Haddam/Salem area. In fact, Princess Nellie was born 127 years ago this week on March 25, 1884.

Tom Thumb's wedding in 1863 (CDV)---Credit
The son of a Bridgeport carpenter, Charles Sherwood Stratton (AKA General Tom Thumb) was born on January 4, 1838. Although rather large at birth—9 lbs. 8 oz.—young Charles stopped growing for awhile after reaching just 15 lbs. in weight and 25 inches in height. That’s when P.T. Barnum entered his life and changed it forever. Barnum made financial arrangements with the Stratton family to “show” young Charles, who was soon dubbed “General Tom Thumb” by the age of 11. Barnum taught the doll-sized Tom Thumb to sing, dance and impersonate people. His popularity exploded, and he became Barnum’s biggest attraction.

General Tom Thumb's Grave in Bridgeport, CT--Credit Carole Szoke
General Tom Thumb went on extended American and world tours and made an enormous amount of money. He then married another dwarf named Lavinia Warren of Massachusetts in 1863 in New York City (see photo) . The newlyweds greeted guests at their wedding reception from atop a grand piano, charging $75 per person. Five thousand attended; do the math—that’s a ton of money for that time! Mr. And Mrs. Tom Thumb were arguably the most well known celebrities of their time. President Abraham Lincoln even received them in the White House in the middle of the Civil War! Tom died of a stroke at age 45 in 1883. Lavinia lived to be 77 and died in 1919. Both are buried in Bridgeport, CT.

Aladdin Shrine Circus returns to Columbus

The 2011 Aladdin Shrine Circus will return to Columbus this weekend for its 61st season. / Submitted photo
Mar. 23, 2011
COLUMBUS — The 2011 Aladdin Shrine Circus will return to Columbus this weekend for its 61st season.
The circus kicks off Thursday and will feature animal and aerial acts, including majestic jungle cats, high-flying acrobatics, a human cannon ball and, of course, elephants.
An indoor carnival also will be featured — with rides, games and concession stands. Ride tickets and wristbands can be purchased upon arrival and are not included in the circus tickets.
Kiddie train wreck:
‘I was going too (expletive) fast’Reports allege driver of Spartanburg children’s train commented on speed after accident; 911 tapes point to chaotic scene

By MEG KINNARD - The Associated Press
Wednesday, Mar. 23, 2011
SPARTANBURG — The man driving a children’s train that crashed over the weekend, killing a 6-year-old boy and injuring dozens of others, told police he knew he was driving too fast just before the wreck, according to documents released Tuesday.
“I was going too (expletive) fast,” Matt Conrad told a police officer riding with him to the hospital after Saturday’s crash, according to incident reports released by the Spartanburg Public Safety Department.
Conrad, 42, was operating a nearly 60-year-old mini train known as “Sparky” at Cleveland Park in Spartanburg. During a third loop around the track, the train went off its tracks, toppling off a bridge and injuring the 28 passengers on board.
One of those passengers, 6-year-old Benji Easler, died in the crash. A vigil was planned for him Tuesday night.
Other injuries ranged from bumps and bruises to broken bones. Some of the children were taken away on stretchers.
The 911 tapes obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday revealed a chaotic scene, with witnesses flooding authorities with more than 30 phone calls pleading for help for screaming, bloodied passengers.
“Hurry. There’s a whole bunch,” one frantic caller said. “One kid’s leg almost tore off. One kid’s not breathing.”
“The train fell off the bridge, and there were a bunch of little kids on it,” another caller said, screams filling the background. “It’s a bloody mess,” said another.
Authorities have not said what caused the crash, but Conrad’s statement bolsters comments from witnesses who said the train sped up during its third lap around its circuit.Read more:


Royal American Circus showed 4-05-96, in Pekin, Il. (my hometown), at the indoor ice arena in Pekin Park. The temperature inside was
chilly, but the reception was warm from the almost full house for the first show. Show carries their own concession dept.- popcorn,
snow cones, cold drinks, and novelty stand. Along one side,some seating was provided by show bleachers, but the other side utilized
seats of the ice arena. Miniature horse rides were offered before the show, and did a great business. Also photo session with the
snakes at intermission. Coloring book pitch by Ray MacMahon. One of the acts was Tanya Herrmann and her unrideable mule, assisted
by Mike Donoho, and Tanya's bareback riding. Tanya and Mike worked seven weeks with Ray and then left the next day to join Bentley
Bros Circus in Deming, NM. Another horse act would replace them.


From Bill Prickett Collection

Ray MacMahon, owner & producer

Wet & Dry Concessions

Novelty Joint

Lynn Valenca and minature horse pony ride


Show owned Seating

Sound, Music, tape equiment

Nettie MacMahon

Tanya Herrmann & Gabrilla Savio

Pepe Valenca


Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Just a quick “heads-up” reminder that World Circus Day II – a day set aside worldwide to celebrate the circus – is slated for Saturday, April 16, 2011.
If you haven’t made plans to stage a circus event, attend a circus, watch a circus movie, or perhaps host a neighborhood backyard circus, there is still time.
Additionally, the Third Annual Worldwide Circus Photo Contest, hosted by the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque, also begins on WCD II and runs through June 15.
This year’s theme is “Children and the Circus.” That should produce some wonderful photographs!
Register your WCD II event and/or download a Contest Entry Form for your photo submission (after 4/22) at
Rodney Huey Fédération Mondiale du Cirque
Elephants Parade Through Downtown Youngstown

Elephants were marching down Market Street on Tuesday, which means the circus must be in town.
The animals arrived aboard a train around 2:30 p.m. The exotic cargo then made their ceremonial walk to the Covelli Centre. The journey was just a half mile, but it was still an unusual sight in the middle of downtown.
The Ringling Brothers "Fully Charged" Circus starts Friday and runs through Monday at the Covelli Centre.
"We have individuals here from around the world, over 80 different countries. High wires, zebras, elephants, clowns. You get a little of everything, all the action," said animal caregiver Ryan Henning.
Tickets for all eight shows are available through Ticketmaster or by calling the box office at 1-800-745-3000.