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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Villain, pachyderm deserve top 'Water for Elephants' billing

Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon star as members of a traveling circus in the 1930s in “Water for Elephants.” (Twentieth Century Fox)

By Mal Vincent The Virginian-Pilot©
April 23, 2011
Set in the Great Depression, "Water for Elephants" has a great deal going for it. It is based on a best-selling book and has a cast that includes today's new "it" boy, Robert Pattinson, and yesterday's ultra-appealing young Southern actress, Reese Witherspoon.
On top of that, it comes at a time when we are desperately looking for something good at the movies.
It's a setup for a movie that is not as good as we had hoped, but is still better than most in theaters.
To tell you the truth, the real scene-stealer of "Water for Elephants" is a multi-ton pachyderm named Rosie, played by Tai. She uses body language in suitable proportion to her body. She's victimized and mistreated before becoming a major star.
read more at:
Police: Circus Prop Fell From Truck, Not Stolen

Clown Prop First Reported As Stolen

April 23, 2011

LEWISTON, Maine -- Lewiston police say a prop used by clowns in the Kora Temple Shrine Circus fell from a truck and was damaged, not stolen.
The "weight loss machine" was reported stolen from the back of Kracker the clown's truck Thursday. During the circus, lights flash and confetti and smoke pour from the weight loss machine.
A person also emailed pictures to News 8 WMTW to say he was driving on Interstate-295 in Freeport on Tuesday when he saw a Kora clowns box in the road and tried to swerve to avoid it, but struck it.
Circus Prop Stolen From Clown Car'Weight Loss Machine' Taken From Kracker's Truck

'Water for Elephants' puts spotlight on Sarasota's circus heritage

By Laura Bly, USA TODAY

Apr 22, 2011

The Five Graces Circus Band Wagon, once pulled by no fewer than 40 horses when it led the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey traditional circus parades, is displayed at the Museum of the American Circus in Sarasota, Fla.
Step right up, ladies and gentlemen: If you're enamored with the circus history on display in the new film adaptation of Sara Gruen's best-selling novel Water for Elephants, Sarastoa, Fla., the longtime winter home of the Ringling Brothers circus, offers a variety of Big Top-themed travel packages and attractions.
The Ringling Brothers were based in Sarasota from 1927 to 1992, and their legacy includes The Ringling Museum, home of the world's largest miniature circus, Cà d'Zan, a Mediterranean revival estate that served as John and Mable Ringling's winter home, and legendary circus performer Tito Gaona's trapeze school.
Among the movie-themed deals: a Courtyard Marriott Ringling Museum Package that includes room and two "Member For A Day" Ringling Museum passes from $129 per night.

Circus World collection goes global

Circus history buffs will have more to appreciate at Circus World Museum after it was announced Friday local history expert Peter Shrake, foreground, has been appointed as the archivist and librarian while circus enthusiast Ralph D. Pierce of Baraboo will work digitizing glass plate negatives taken between 1905-1930. Shrake said by summer the historic circus photos and a wide variety of other circus-related images and documents will become available to the public for free via the Internet.CONTRIBUTED

By Brian D. Bridgeford,

Saturday, April 23, 2011, from:

Fans of the circus will have help delving more deeply into its past after Circus World announced Friday hiring a new archivist and a staff member to work toward making the collection available online.
Former Sauk County Historical Society Director Peter Shrake has been selected to lead the Robert L. Parkinson Library and Research Center, according to a statement by Steve Freese, Circus World executive director. Baraboo business owner and circus fan Ralph D. Pierce has been hired to digitally scan 1,377 valuable glass plate negatives taken between 1905 and 1930, which will become available over the Internet.
The role of Circus World's archivist has been vacant since 2009, Shrake said. The museum was able to fill the post due to the generosity of a anonymous private donor.
The archivist's top job is to accept images, documents and small artifacts that are given to Circus World, preserve and organize them so they are available to researchers.
Shrake said the library receives many requests for information from across the nation and around the world. They include people wanting facts about specific circuses and sometimes genealogical information.
The library also serves people who come to Baraboo to peruse the collection in person. Over the past few days, for example, the library has been host to a researcher working on a book about a New York circus which is slated for publication by Yale University, he said.
"We get walk-in traffic, sometimes literally folks off the street, or people who make an appointment to come and visit the library," he said.
Pierce said the negatives were produced by Harry Atwell, a Chicago circus fan whose photography gained a measure of respect in the circus industry. Most of them are in the 4-inch-by-5-inch photographic format.
"This man named Atwell, during that period of time he was well known and a lot of his images were used by press agents around the country for promotional activities when circuses came to town," Pierce said.
Work has already begun on the thousand-plus negatives, converting them to computer files that can be stored and also displayed on the Web or printed in books and magazines, Pierce said. The work is expected to be complete in a month or so.
"It's a way to make sure they're preserved so they don't deteriorate any more or there's any damage because they're in a breakable format, glass," he said. "So they're not handled so much."
Once the negatives have been digitized, Pierce said, they will join other Circus World documents online so fans and history buffs anywhere can see what circuses of decades ago looked like.
"It's one of the ways we're getting our collection accessible to people around the country without them having to come right here," he said.
Shrake said the Web version of the Parkinson Library collection is still in an early stage of development. Because it needs more work, he is unwilling to make it available to the public yet.
Shrake promised to notify circus fans when Circus World's collection is ready for viewing online.
While the general public may think of Circus World more for the exhibits and the circus performances of summer, Shrake said the library and archives is just as important to understanding and celebrating America's circus heritage.
"The exhibits and the public programing is what gets people interested in this material," he said. "We're kind of that more quiet side of the operation, but I think we're equally important."
Send e-mail to bbridgeford
Gary the Clown turns New Franklin into a circus

New Franklin students get life lessons in circus show

Standing on stilts, Jacob Walker, a fifth-grader at the New Franklin School in Portsmouth, catches hoops tossed by Gary the Clown during a circus performance at the school on Friday.

By Jennifer Fealsjfeals@seacoastonline.comApril 23, 2011 PORTSMOUTH — If New Franklin School students pop up in a future circus act somewhere, the inspiration probably started this week.
During a weeklong residency with Rhode Island resident Gary Girouard, a.k.a. Gary the Clown, the school's fifth-graders learned entertaining circus acts. They also gained life skills Girouard hopes they will carry through all aspects of their lives.
Dressed in colorful clothes, with faces painted and energy high, the fifth-graders put on a show for their New Franklin peers and families filled with trapeze flying, juggling, spinning plates and more.
"Ringmaster" Max Moore balanced two plates spinning atop butcher-like knives while sitting on Girouard's shoulders, Thomas LaLime and others effortlessly walked on stilts and Jacob Morin caught rings on his arms and head while balancing on stilts.
"He says he's going to ditch town and join the circus," Jonah Hackett joked of her fellow performer Moore.
"It's always great to come back to this school," said Girouard, who has worked and performed with New Franklin students for 14 years. Girouard has been performing for 36 years and estimated that Friday's event was his 9,254th show.

Sadie Shore, a fifth-grader at the New Franklin School in Portsmouth, rides a miniature bicycle around the gym while balancing a plate during a circus performance at the school with Gary the Clown.

He worked with the fifth-graders for eight days, funded by a grant through the Title I program. While it seemed Friday that the tricks came naturally to the group, it took much practice, hard work and teamwork, Girouard said.
"If you can use what you learned today — you brought so much joy to your family and learned respect in performing together — think of what you can do the rest of your lives," Girouard told the group following their performance.
Working with the children, and using his art form of circus performance, Girouard said his goal is to teach students trust, respect and discipline in their work.
"If you have those three things, you will be successful in life," he said.
Students said they enjoyed performing for their school and families, but added they learned things they didn't think possible through the circus activity. "He built a lot of confidence. It's OK to mess up and just act happy and have a good attitude towards things," said Sadie Shore.
The fifth-graders said they learned to work together and to trust each other.
"It was fun because we had to work together," Anna Lukacz said. "You had all the practice and then it paid off."

Shenandoah County preps for 94th edition of fair

New website, nostalgia part of campaign to attract new visitors

By Preston Knight -

Apr. 23, 2011

WOODSTOCK, VA -- Smoke billows out from under the car's hood to the delight of a capacity grandstand crowd witnessing the demolition derby at the Shenandoah County Fair.
The year could be any. The black and white picture leaves you guessing. But some things, like the carnage of car body parts, are timeless about the week-long event, and organizers are now trying to push that point across.
At 94 years, the county fair is the longest-running such event in the Shenandoah Valley, and the time has come to use that to entice more people through the gates, Fair Manager Dean Morgan said. The campaign began a couple of weeks ago with the introduction of a revamped, which includes a "Days Gone By" photo gallery with images of things such as the demolition derby, and will continue as officials refer to the event as the "Great" Shenandoah County Fair, a name lifted from a 1924 newspaper.
The Sept. 5, 1924, paper, which serves as the backdrop of the fair's new website, touts "Four Big Days Four Glorious Nights," "Unrivaled Agricultural Display" and "Excelled By None Equalled By Few."
"So many things parallel what is still relevant today," Morgan said.
The fair, of course, goes beyond four days now, and the price of admission is not quite the 50 cents it was in its debut. This year's fair will run from Aug. 26 to Sept. 3, and the entertainment lineup includes REO Speedwagon, Luke Bryan and the Roots & Boots Tour consisting of Aaron Tippin, Joe Diffie and Sammy Kershaw. There are also more free activities, Morgan said.
Building on nostalgia, he said organizers are trying to put exhibits together to reflect fairs of years past. Ideas include old fair attire or memorabilia.
"We'll continue to play on that theme," Morgan said.
Organizers attended a Virginia Association of Fairs event and began seeing what other officials did. The question of the oldest fair came up. Morgan said upon returning to Woodstock, the 1924 newspaper was discovered, and research revealed that the local event was the oldest in the region.
The timing was right, he said, because the website needed a change.
"We took that theme, built on that, sort of made it the background of the website," Morgan said. "It has been appealing for people. We're getting positive feedback."None more so than the old pictures.
"Now people are chiming in on Facebook, 'That's my grandpa,'" Morgan said. "We'd love to identify them all."

Friday, April 22, 2011



APRIL 17, 2011


Jim Earhart

Jim Earhart, Fichi

Kayla Earhart

Bill Prickett, Colleen Pages, George Pages

Jorge Pages (Son)

Yolanda Pages Earhart
Raise a glass to the fair at the fair

Ohio beer, wine to be sold, but only at certain events

Thursday, April 21, 2011

By Kathy Lynn Gray
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH The Hot IssueShould beer and wine be sold at the Ohio State Fair?For the first time anyone can remember, beer and wine will be sold this year during the Ohio State Fair.
But don't expect to wander the grounds with a draft in hand.
Sales and consumption will be limited to two buildings under a proposal approved unanimously by the Ohio Expositions Commission yesterday.
The alcohol will be sold at the Celeste Center during certain concerts and at Taste of Ohio, the circular mid-fairgrounds structure where Ohio-raised food is servedRaise a glass to the fair at the fairAll the beer and wine will be made in Ohio.
"We're here to celebrate Ohio, and we believe we'll be helping Ohio companies this way," said general manager Virgil Strickler. "We're trying to increase business in Ohio, and our agricultural business is the biggest there is."
Purchasers won't be allowed to carry the beverages out of either building, Strickler said. And it will not be sold during religious-based concerts or children's events.
Alcoholic beverages already are sold during other events at the fairgrounds, including the All American Quarter Horse Congress.
Most state fairs allow sales of alcohol, Strickler said.
The topic has been debated in Ohio at least since 1969, when then-Gov. James Rhodes declared there'd be no alcohol at the fair as long as he was governor.
In 2007, a majority of fair commissioners liked the idea, but Gov. Ted Strickland didn't. At the time, Strickler suggested selling it around the grounds, in a beer-and-wine garden, or at concerts and the Ohio foods pavilion.
This time, Strickler said, Gov. John Kasich's administration has approved the idea. Kasich's press secretary confirmed that yesterday.
Cox Concessions, which has the concessions contract for the fair, will sell the beer and wine. Breweries and wine companies interested in selling at the fair should contact Cox, Strickler said.
Dave Corey, chairman of the state-fairgrounds commission, has advocated adding beer and wine sales for several years.
"Timing is everything, and now is the time to do it," he said.
The sales will give Ohio beer-and-wine manufacturers the chance to showcase their products, he said.
Jim Tucker, president and CEO of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions in Springfield, Mo., said whether a fair sells alcohol depends on its location.
"Fairs reflect the community, and in certain parts of the country you will find it less likely," Tucker said.
The main purpose of the Ohio State Fair, he said, is to showcase agriculture, and both beer and wine are agricultural products.
Kids clown around with Circus Smirkus in Kennebunk

By Amy Johnson

April 21, 2011

For those who have always dreamed of running away with the circus, this may provide a chance to get a sneak peak of what life would be like.
River Tree Arts is holding a week-long Circus Smirkus vacation camp with circus expert Rick Davis.
"Kids will be learning the fundamentals of circus arts; juggling, clowning, balance tricks, diablo sticks and performing," said Juliette Coldreck, marketing coordinator for River Tree Arts. "We will also have art stations throughout the Town Hall for kids to create their own circus posters, flags and tickets and to experiment with clown make-up,"
Based in Vermont, Circus Smirkus is a children's travelling circus that performs throughout New England during the summer months to sell-out crowds. Shows are held under an authentic big-top tent.
The performers, called Troupers, are between the ages of 10 to18 years old are known to dazzle and amaze the crowds. Circus Smirkus has performed locally in the summer at Rockin' Horse Stables in Kennebunkport.
Coldreck attends the Circus Smirkus performances with her family each summer and had researched the company's artist-in-residency program. She had wondered if it could be converted into a camp during vacation week.
"Circus Smirkus was receptive to the idea and we were able to get one of their most talented teachers after we realized the head of residency programs at Circus Smirkus, Rick Davis, and River Tree Arts registrar Nancy Garrick were old friends," said Coldreck.
Davis, a former clown with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, switched to teaching after performing for many years.
"Teaching school kids about the secrets of the circus is something I really enjoy," said Davis while surrounded by the laughing, happy kids attending the camp Monday, April 18.
The kids had been busy balancing plates on sticks and peacock feathers on their heads, and making tickets for their end-of-the-week performance.
River Tree Arts is a community arts center that offers music, art and performing arts classes at its location in Lower Village Kennebunk. A complete list of class offerings can be found at
This particular camp has been divided into two daily sessions. Mornings are set aside for kindergarten through second-graders. The afternoon camp session is for third-graders and up. The camp will conclude with an all-campers performance for parents and friends.
"Circus Smirkus is known and loved in our community," said Steve Joffe, executive director of River Tree Arts. "The week-long camp offers a different opportunity of participation with kids receiving 15 hours of arts instruction."
Circus Smirkus will be returning to perform again this summer with four shows on Aug. 8 and 9. It will be the group's sixth summer visit to Kennebunkport.
The summer performances are hosted by Kennebunkport Consolidated School PTA.
Tickets to the summer Circus Smirkus performances will be able to be purchased at 1-800-Smirkus. Visit for more information.

Circus Vargas comes to local area

Youngsters get a chance to meet the Circus Vargas stars. (Herald News photo by Alejandro Cano)


Thursday, April 21, 2011 From:

A memorable quote reads, “Take time to laugh - it is the music of the soul.” Another one reads, “Laughter makes the world go around.” Indeed.
For more than 40 years, Circus Vargas has made the music of the soul resonate as it makes the world go around with extraordinary “how-in-the-world-did-they-do-that” type of performances; and now and until May 9, Inland Empire residents can enjoy the artistic and well-executed show.
The “Big One is Back” to the region with shows until April 25 at the Ontario Mills Mall, just north of Interstate 10 at Milliken Avenue. From there, Circus Vargas will move to San Bernardino at Interstate 10 and Waterman Avenue beginning April 28. The big top will conclude its regional visit with performances in Victorville from May 5-9.
Katya Quiroga, co-owner of Circus Vargas and seventh-generation circus performer, is offering local residents a “family-friendly” show with experienced acrobats and world renowned artists.
“We have something for everybody, from the classic clown and trapeze artists to flying acrobats and the heart-stopping motorcycle globe of death,” said Quiroga. “Our show will make people forget their everyday routine, it is magical, and very funny.”
By definition, a circus is a traveling company of acrobats, clowns and trained animals that gives performances, typically in a large tent, in a series of different places. Circus Vargas does not fall into this definition because it has, by choice, excluded animals from the show.
Circus Vargas stopped using animals two years ago and it now offers a wide range of artists from cyclists and high-wire performers to bone-bending acrobats, said Quiroga.
“We wanted to update our show and offer something more human. The human aspect has been very well received by the public. To be honest with you, people like it more when there are no animals involved,” added Quiroga, who is also a trapeze artist.
The circus has also implemented the idea of including children in the ring an hour prior to the show to motivate them to do exercise and to develop discipline, said Quiroga.
“They will learn how to balance feathers, do hula-hoop, and juggle scarves. We wanted them to feel like they were part of the show. Perhaps this will motivate them to develop their artistic skills,” she added.
Circus Vargas was founded in 1969 by Clifford E. Vargas, fulfilling his childhood dream. After his death in 1989 and with the show in jeopardy, the circus was maintained by Roland Kaiser and Joseph Muscarello. When they retired in 2003, Nelson and Alberto Tabares, from the “Flying Tabares” of Argentina, jumped in to save the show. In 2005, Nelson, along with his wife Katya, founded Tabares Entertainment, which presents America’s Favorite Big Top Circus.
The California-based circus’ fame is recognized all over the world and soon it will grow thanks to the movie “Water for Elephants,” in which the entire cast participates. Directed by Frances Lawrence, “Water for Elephants” features Reese Whiterspoon and Robert Pattinson.
With out-of-this-world tricks, and the commitment to satisfy everybody’s taste, Circus Vargas will continue make souls happy and the world go ‘round.
Tickets start at $15 for children and $25 for adults. For more information, visit
Allegria comes to Gulf Coast

Apr 21, 2011
BILOXI, MS (WDAM) - It's not your average big top circus. The acrobats in the Cirque Du Soleil show, Alegria, come from extensive gymnastics and balancing backgrounds in order to be a part of the show that tours around the world.
From flipping and flying to playing with fire with their feet, the performers only get one day of rehearsal in each city before the gates open. 4 days, 8 shows, and hopefully, zero mistakes.
Artistic director, Tim Smith, says their extremely athletic performers are well taken care of to assure their safety. Smith said, "What these people do and provide for the audience nightly in front of your eyes takes quite a lot to maintain." Surprisingly, Smith says they haven't had any major accidents on stage. And with the amount of risk each performer takes, either flipping on a narrow trampoline over other people, flying 40 feet high without a harness, or doing a one-handed balancing act five feet in the air, upside down, keeping in shape is necessary.
Fernando Dudk got started in gymnastics at a young age, and says it's just another day at the office for him. Dudk said, "At the beginning it's very exciting, but after doing it for eight years, it becomes casual, it's my work, you know, it's my life, doing this." Dudk says touring with a group of acrobats and performers like himself, but from all over the globe, brings each of them closer together, saying, "It's like a big family, there's some ups and downs, like, we get to really know each other, and some conflicts come and go, but it's never too big, there's never problems about people getting really bad to each other, it's fun. It's a good group."
To pull off a show that's known for being nearly flawless across the world, there's a lot that goes into it. Shocker, right?
From the five months of training each performer goes through before the tour, to the strength and agility training at each venue, then on to costumes and makeup, everyone that works at alegria agrees that it's all in the details. Amy Brown is in charge of making the performers comfortable in costume, and staying very precisely true to the show's original theme. She said, "The show was designed by a woman named Dominique Lemieux, and it is our responsibility to make sure that all of the costumes that go on stage are true to her design, so everything from tightening loose buttons, to this one, getting it's tail repaired."
The show itself, called, "Alegria," is the Spanish word for joy, and that's what Tim Smith said they want each person in the audience to feel when they leave. Smith said, "Whether it's the first time or they've become a fan and they see them often, is, you'll see something you've never seen before." And with the amount of high flying acrobatics, like the Russian bars, the Power Track, Flying Man, or your standard trappeze, there's really not a bad seat in the house.
For safety reasons, some of the performers wear their costumes both in rehearsals and on stage, so the cleaning and repairs can get extensive. Amy Brown, a wardrobe assistant for the show said, "We do a lot of wash. We do 10-15 loads of wash a day, depending on whether it's a one or two show day."
And when it comes down to it, every little detail makes Alegria one of a kind, and a show that you don't want to miss.



The Lewis & Clark Circus, featuring Miss Elizabeth and more under the Big Top, comes to to Boone April 23. Photo submitted

by Staff Reports

The circus is coming to town on Saturday, April 23, at the High Country Fairgrounds in Boone, with show times at 2 and 4:30 p.m.
The Lewis & Clark Circus is a one-ring, European-style circus under the Big Top featuring continuous action in the center ring.
Families attending the show can expect to see high-flying trapeze artists, hire-wire artist, soaring acrobats, juggling, zany clowns, horses, camels and much more circus excitement.
The circus midway will be open prior to show time, featuring pony and camel rides, concessions, a free petting zoo and more.
Tickets for Lewis & Clark Circus can be purchased online at Advance ticket prices are $10 for ages 17 and above. Children ages 14 and under can receive free admission with a special coupon available at and at local merchants.
Tickets purchased on the day of the show are $15 each for adults, $8 for students (15-16 years old) and $5 for children ages 14 and younger.
Circus slams animal exploitation protest

ANIMAL stars . . . Kashmir and Sabia the camels with Madalane Timmis, left, and Cinzia Timmis

Reporter: Richard Hooton

20 April 2011

A CIRCUS performing locally has defended itself against criticism that it exploits animals despite a protest outside the big top.
The recent high-profile case of Anne the Elephant — who is enjoying retirement at Longleat Safari Park after suffering abuse at Bobby Roberts Super Circus — has highlighted the use of animals for entertainment.
But Circus Mondao, performing at The Soccer Village in Milnrow until Monday, insists all its animals are well cared for.
As well as traditional entertainment like trapeze artists, clowns and plate spinners, the Lincolnshire-based family circus has horses, ponies, camels, llamas and zebras.
Animal rights groups have claimed that the animals are carted around in lorries and are constantly caged.
Last night, police were called to Wildhouse Lane when protesters set up a roadside display and used a megaphone to complain to visitors about the use of wild animals. One supporter of the Captive Animals Protection Society said: “This protest has been widely publicised on Facebook. Consultation by Labour before the election showed that 95 per cent of people wanted a ban on animals in circuses. We have had a lot of support because of Bobby Roberts.”
But Mondao’s ring mistress Petra Jackson says the animals travel in purpose-built transporters, are out to graze all day and live in appropriately-sized paddocks. Only treats and positive reinforcements are used during training.
She told the Chronicle that staff are government-registered and licensed animal trainers and the circus is regularly inspected by animal welfare officers, trading standards, government vets and the RSPCA.
Ms Jackson said: “Our animals are much-loved working partners in our circus. It’s obvious that, if they were mistreated, we would not have the close relationship with them, which our audiences can clearly see.
“Our pets in the circus live a longer and more fulfilled life than their counterparts in zoos, safari parks and especially the wild. They have an active life, good conditions, exercise, training and a non-stressful environment.”
“Last week was full for every performance. It was absolutely fantastic. We have so many compliments about our animals and how well they look are looked after. We love to show our animals to people around the country.”
She attacked campaigners and the media for their criticism, saying she was determined to get rid of the cruel circus label imposed by animal activists.
“Animal rights groups are totally opposed to animal ownership.
A lot of people have pets and they are totally opposed to that as well as police dogs, dogs for the blind and hearing dogs for the deaf.
“They don’t agree with animals being enslaved to humans. They are fanatical people and tar all circuses with the same brush.”

Jimmy the chimpanzee: profile of the 'Cezanne of the Simians'

Jimmy, the chimpanzee at the centre of a court battle over his freedom in Brazil, spent his early years in a circus, performing tricks such as balancing on a wire and riding a monocycle.

Jimmy does not like to play with toys as other chimpanzees do and instead spends at least 30 minutes a day painting Photo: AP
By Robin Yapp in Sao Paulo, Brazil
22 Apr 2011
When he was not performing, Romano and Ana Garcia, who ran the circus, would treat him much like a human baby.
"My husband brought from overseas three newborn chimpanzees, but we just kept Jimmy," Mrs Garcia, 80, told Brazil's O Globo magazine last year. "He used to drink from a baby bottle, used diapers and slept in a bed."
In 1987, the Garcias became tired of life in a circus and sold Jimmy to D'Italia Circus, where he remained for the next 13 years.
He was donated to Niteroi Zoo, near Rio de Janeiro, in 2000.
According to the Great Ape Project (GAP), many people wrote to animal rights campaigners to complain that Jimmy should not be kept in the zoo before the case seeking to move him to a sanctuary was eventually launched.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Man hopes to bring circus elephant to Maine
By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff
Posted April 20, 2011
HOPE, Maine — Jim Laurita, a veterinarian in Hope, feels bad for Rosie the elephant. He wants to give her a new home in Maine and help her with her hurt leg.

Rosie suffers from arthritis. Rather than let her live out her days moseying about in Oklahoma with a herd of 27 other elephants from the Carson and Barnes Circus, Laurita and the circus have a new idea: Send Rosie to Maine and use her as a sort of experiment in elephant physical therapy. Laurita then will share any tactics that work with the circus to help trainers with any future bouts of arthritis in the herd.




Yolanda Pages Earhart and Jorge Pages

On 4-17-11, Nancy and I visited Circus Pages at the Sale Barn in Bloomington, Il. The 1pm show was packed. Concession were $2.00
for popcorn and cotton candy, and elephant and camel rides were $5.00 for children. Photos with elephant were $5.00 also.
This show is geared toward the kids, fast moving, and it keeps your attention. Performers changed into beautiful costumes for each
presentation. Long lines at intermission for the elephant (two) rides and camel rides (two). Photos with elephant/camels were taken
after the performance. Immediately after the 1pm show, workers were busy cleaning building floor to get ready for the 4pm show.
Be sure to visit this show when their in your area and take the whole family. Photos by Bill Prickett.

Freida Pages, Bill and Nancy Prickett, Jorge Pages

Freida Pages

Jorge Pages

Colleen Pages


Pony Ride


Yolanda Pages Earhart and Jim Earhart, Ringmaster


Circus forced to close before opening show

Apr 19, 2011,Reporter: Meredith Anderson

Circus forced to close before opening show They say "the show must go on," but it couldn't Tuesday night in North Augusta. A small traveling circus had to close down before it even started, and now a lot of kids are wondering why.

Organ said to be from Bozo show, authenticity questioned

Ameet Sachdev, Chicago Tribune

April 20, 2011
A prominent Chicago auction house is advertising the sale of a piece of Chicago television history: an electric organ used on Bozo's Circus. But its marketing materials are not entirely accurate, according to people familiar with the once-popular show.
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers plans to sell a Hammond electric organ with speakers on May 2. The company says the organ was part of the 13-piece "Big Top Band" that played on Bozo's Circus from the debut of the show on WGN-TV in 1961 until 1975.
But Al Hall, the longtime former producer of the show, said the band never had an organ.
"The 13-piece band was brass and piano," Hall said. "It never used an organ."His recollection was confirmed by George Pappas, who works for WGN and is known as the station's unofficial Bozo's Circus historian. WGN and the Chicago Tribune are both owned by Tribune Co.
However, when the band took a day off, an organ was used to provide music. Hall, after seeing a photo, confirmed that the organ for sale is the one that was used occasionally on the show.
Unknown to Hall, was that Roy Cone, one of WGN's sound engineers at the time, purchased the organ in 1975 and had it shipped to his house.
"My mom liked to play the piano so he bought her an organ," said Greg Cone, one of Roy's children.
Greg Cone remembers taking organ lessons. He said his dad retired from WGN in 1989 after 46 years at the station and died in 1996.
The family decided to sell the organ because his mom eventually wants to sell her house, Greg Cone said.
"I'm the one who's attached to it, but I don't have room in my house," he said.
Cone provided Leslie Hindman with a copy of the canceled check his dad used to buy the organ from WGN. It had been stored in the organ's bench.
Corbin Horn, an account executive at Leslie Hindman, said the organ is a unique piece of Chicago's history. It is worth between $1,000 and $2,000, he said, and bidding will likely start at $500.
When asked about the error in the marketing brochure, Horn said he may have been mistaken about some of the details. He said the marketing brochure was based on research done by the company and information provided by the seller.

Circus coming to Eden, NC

By Latala Payne

April 20, 2011

The Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars is coming to Eden, and it’s sure to be an event that’s talked about for years to come.
Featuring lions, tigers, elephants, llamas, camels and clowns, the event will allow guests to experience these exotic animals up close and personal. Rides on the elephants, camels and ponies will be allowed one hour before each scheduled performance.
The festivities will take place Monday, April 25, and Tuesday, April 26, with performances at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. each day at the Eden Mall, located at 201 E. Meadow Road. Circus spokesperson Debra Houston said the tent is scheduled to rise Monday morning.
“The crew will start at daylight and probably take about four hours to get the tent setup – it is truly a sight to see,” she said. “We will have beautiful white and golden tigers as well as a spectacular motorcycle show and the world’s largest cannon. It’s going to be a great show.”
Tickets are $19 for adults and $14 for children two to 12 years old. Tickets can be purchased for $5 less in advance until April 24 at Loredo Soaps and Candles in the Eden Mall, and by visiting or calling (800) 332-5200.
Also known as “The World’s Largest Circus under the Big Top,” the Circus of the Stars also features a flying trapeze, aerial ballet, motor show, amazing one-finger stand and the human cannonball.
'Circus Morning' a free event in Paulden, AZ


Special to the Chino Valley Review

"Circus Morning" is a free event April 29, 9:30-10 a.m., when people can watch the corner of Highway 89 and Big Chino Road in Paulden being transformed into a bustling Circus City. Activity swirls around the grounds as animals are unloaded, the Big Top is erected, and rigging is prepared for performances later in the day.
"Circus Morning" of the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus and the two shows are hosted by the Paulden Area Community Organization (PACO).
Then people will get a free walking tour of the circus grounds, a face-to-face opportunity for families, schools and interested community members to meet and learn all about the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus family. People will learn interesting facts about the performers, the history of the show and the different species of animals at the circus.
In this presentation, people also will hear about the hygiene, grooming and the veterinary care that the C&M animals receive.

4 New Rides Open at Coney Island

Matteo Ferrari, left, and his brother Marco, right, react while riding the "Sling Shot" one of four new Coney Island rides, Wednesday, April 20, 2011.

Wednesday, Apr 20, 2011

By Susannah Griffee

This summer, Coney Island will debut the first new roller coasters to be built in New York City since the Cyclone opened in 1927.
Scream Zone, a new amusement park featuring four thrill rides, will operate alongside Luna Park, which opened last year.
The new Soarin’ Eagle coaster will suspend riders horizontally and send them upside down in dives and swoops. Another coaster, the Steeplechase, creates a modern version of the historic Coney Island ride involving horses racing around a track.
“Last year we brought the fun back to Coney Island, and now it’s time to Scream,” said Valerio Ferrari, president of Central Amusement International, the company responsible for Scream Zone and Luna Park.
The Sling Shot may be the scariest new ride, launching passengers more than 150 feet into the air at speeds faster than 90 mph. The Zenobio offers a more moderate thrill, taking riders up 100 feet at speeds of 60 mph.
“Last summer was Coney Island’s biggest in nearly a half century, and this year – with the addition of the first new roller coasters since the Cyclone opened in 1927 – it’s going to be even bigger,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.
The city’s Coney Island Revitalization Plan will foster development on Coney Island over the next few years. In 2009, the city rezoned Coney Island and purchased 6.9 acres of land to create new amusement parks in the area.
The city has spent more than $6.6 million on Luna Park and Scream Zone. Central Amusement International has spent an additional $30 million on both parks over the past two years.
The Scream Zone will open for weekends through Memorial Day, when it will begin daily operations. Visitors will be able to pay for single rides at $7 to $20 per ride using refillable cards.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011




Helmut Brumbach, circus director, inspects the damage after a fight between two warring circus clans in the southern German city of Regensburg. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

From correspondents in Regensburg, Germany

From: NewsCore April 20, 2011

A DUST-UP between two warring circus clans left six people wounded, police said overnight, after confiscating guns and other weapons from the performers. Police said it was unclear what sparked the melee yesterday between the two families, who were each camped on the eastern fringe of southern German city of Regensburg.
Neighbours reported hearing shots and police arrived to find a 48-year-old with a bullet wound in his leg and another five people between the ages of 17 and 55 with minor to moderate injuries.
Each of the families claimed three victims.
"It is still a complete mystery what led to the massive run-in between the two families from the circus scene," police said.
Authorities seized three guns, several knives and batons as well as banned implements such as brass knuckles.


Tarzan Zerbini Circus

18 April 2011

- by Atlanta FunThe Tarzan Zerbini Circus, which is sponsored by Shriners Fraternity, thrills carnival-goers with high-flying acts, a bustling midway, and more than 40 rides. Huddle under the big top and feast peepers on hurtling human cannonballs, traffic-law-defying motorcycle stunts, and high-flying wirewalkers and sway-polers. Shriner circus clowns and a friendly elephant make for humorous cameos in between the death-defying deeds. After a rousing bout of tentertainment, browse kid- and family-friendly attractions or spin, drop, zoom, and flip on a collection of rides that keeps the adrenaline percolating for thrill-seekers, little ones, and oversized sentient plush gorillas.
Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Rd., SWMarietta, Georgia 30008

Amusement rides return to Carolina Beach

Photo By Mike Spencer

Amusement rides arrive near Carolina Beach boardwalk Monday, April 18, 2011.
By Shannan

Tuesday, April 19, 2011 .
With some new rules in place, the seasonal amusement park that has become a familiar backdrop along the Carolina Beach Boardwalk is back for a third year.It was spring 2009 when a Florida-based amusement park operator and local business owners succeeded in gaining town approval for the amusement rides, concessions and games on five parcels surrounding the Boardwalk area, and the Carolina Beach Town Council gave another nod of approval last week for Robert Megerle's return this season.
Some rides were assembled this weekend, and Megerle told town officials he plans to have several running by Easter – which is Sunday – and a complete carnival operating Memorial Day weekend.
Megerle's conditional-use permit allows him to operate the amusement park each year or stop it at any time, and he is required to discuss plans with town officials before returning for another season.
This year, concerns emerged about an incident last year when a man who was a subcontractor and not an employee of Megerle's was accused of a sexual offense, Planning Director Gary Ferguson said.
The park's conditional-use permit requires criminal background checks on all ride operators and full-time employees and states that anyone convicted of a felony or a sexual offense shall not be hired.
In response to concerns, all employees now will wear identification photos indicating they work there.
But overall, town officials speak positively about the amusement rides, saying they have boosted tourism at the more at:

Two German circus families duel over tent space

by Katie Nolan
Germany’s known for a lot of things: beer, fast cars, and more varieties of sausage than there are suggestive jokes to be made about sausage.

One thing I didn’t know Germany had a ton of was travelling circus families.

But if debates over jurisdiction are getting this heated, soon may come the day where we look to the Fatherland for the newest trends in trapeze artistry.
According to a story from Reuters, two competing circus families engaged in a brawl over tent space on Monday night. The situation escalated to a full-on battle when knives, guns, and batons were used by both camps. Three people from each family were injured, including a 48-year-old man who was shot in the leg, but none of the wounds were serious, said Regensburg police.
Totally not where I thought that was going. When I picture a German circus, I picture an old school freakshow with dudes swallowing knives and spitting fire on audience members with no signs of remorse. I expect to be greeted with a waiver upon entry which absolves the performers of all liability for bodily harm caused during the show. So when you see a story like this, you sort of hope there’s video of a knifethrower going head-to-head with a whip-wielding lion tamer. But no serious injuries? Sounds like a bunch of bearded ladies twirling batons and shooting off flare guns. Really blew the bratwurst on that one, Germany.
and here's the story:

German circus families in shootout over tent space

Tue Apr 19, 2011

BERLIN (Reuters) - A shootout between two German circus families competing over tent space has left six people injured, police said on Tuesday.
The disagreement came to a head on Monday evening as the families fired guns, used knives and attacked each other with batons, police in the Bavarian city of Regensburg said.
Three people from each family were injured, including a 48-year-old man who was shot in the leg. None were seriously injured, police said.
(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Paul Casciato)
Baraboo's Circus World

On Wisconsin: Sauk County could have been a star

Harold “Heavy” Burdick has worked at Circus World Museum for 36 years and will appear in the upcoming movie “Water for Elephants.” The wagon behind Burdick will be restored and the fictitious Benzini Bros. name will be removed. The museum received $350,000 for its participation in the film, which opens nationwide Friday. CRAIG SCHREINER – State Journal


April 19, 2011

BARABOO - When the Benzini Bros. Circus train steams across the big screen Friday, Wisconsin will be well represented, but the state could have had a starring role right along with Reese Witherspoon and teen heartthrob Robert Pattinson.
That's because the movie's director, Francis Lawrence, wanted the love story, "Water for Elephants," based in a 1930s circus in upstate New York, to be as historically accurate as possible.
In 2009, Lawrence spent time at Circus World Museum here, studying photographs, films, costumes, documents and circus wagons.
He also got a feel for the topography of Sauk County, which is similar to that of the rolling hills of upstate New York.
At the time it appeared to Steve Freese, executive director of Circus World, that Wisconsin had a reasonable shot of being the backdrop for Lawrence's movie, which is based on Sara Gruen's best-selling 2006 book.
Freese had visions of a circus parade filmed in downtown Baraboo and of scenes shot at Circus World using the old railcars on the grounds. The big top and midway could have been on the sprawling land at the nearby decommissioned Badger Army Ammunition Plant.

This photo of a Depression-era circus will be among the images from Circus World that will appear in the movie “Water for Elephants.” The movie makers studied some of the 80,000 photos owned by the museum for guidance on how to accurately portray circuses from the 1930s. CRAIG SCHREINER — State Journal
But any chance the state had of landing the movie was erased when later in 2009 Gov. Jim Doyle eliminated a state-funded tax credit program for movie makers. So, much to the chagrin of Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton, who supported the tax credit program and had been working to persuade Lawrence to film here, Lawrence took his show on the road and filmed in Tennessee, Georgia and California. The mountains of Southern California were erased during the production process and digitally replaced with a backdrop that looks pretty much like Wisconsin, Freese said.

Steve Freese, executive director of Circus World Museum in Baraboo, would like to see a film tax credit reintroduced in Wisconsin. CRAIG SCHREINER – State Journal

"It was just a lost opportunity," said Freese, who served in the state Assembly as a Republican from 1991 to 2007. "It would have brought an enormous investment into the state.

Man on Fire

Credit: Larisa Robinson

The Human Fuse, and the entire Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey family, are in town with the circus this week.
By Larisa Robinson
April 19, 2011
Richmond, VA--At this year’s Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey, which starts this week in Richmond, the Human Fuse prepares, shoots and soars after he’s purposely lit on fire.
Brian Miser is known to the Ringling Bros. family and fans as the Human Fuse, or the Human Cannonball. Every show, he wows an audience with his high-flying, Phoenix-like act as he’s shot from a cannon. Miser flies over 100 feet in the air, at almost 65 miles per hour at a jolt that’s seven times the force of gravity…all while on fire.
When Miser first began his cannon act with the Ringling Bros. eight years ago, he didn’t include the fire element.
"From the audience perspective, this is a lot more exciting," Miser said. "You can’t find the reaction I get from the people anywhere else but at the Ringling Bros."
Although Miser knows the danger behind his work, fear is what motivates him.
"I get a little bit nervous, but it’s an excited nervous feeling," Miser said. "I like having a little fear and being pushed to face it over and over again."
Miser was born in Peru, in, a city sometimes called the "Circus Capital of the World." Peru served as winter quarters for many circus troupes in the early 1900s. It also served as the city where Miser and his three brothers performed together in amateur circus acts.
Miser was young when he got his first gig with the Ringling Bros. In fact, he was hired the same day he graduated high school.
"That was my life’s dream," Miser said. "I was very lucky to get it."
Now, after being shot out of a cannon 6,000 times within 14 years, Miser has advice for up-and-coming circus performers.
"It’s a lot harder work than most people think is to it," Miser said. "But if you stick with it, you’ll have fun."
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is in Richmond from Wednesday, April 20 to Sunday, April 24.
Circus coming to Osgood May 1

The Batesville Herald Tribune

Apr 19, 2011
-- — Come one, come all, to the greatest show on earth!
Once again, the Kelly Miller Circus, sponsored by the Osgood Area Kiwanis and Ripley County Parks and Recreation, will present two shows in Osgood. The Kelly Miller Circus is Sunday, May 1, at 2 and 5 p.m. at the Ripley County Fairgrounds Park.
“They come every two years, and this is the fourth time they have come to the county,” reports Kiwanian Lila Neal.
The shows will feature elephants, horses, tigers, llamas, camels, clowns and a cast of international circus stars under a huge tent that seats 1,500, she reveals.
“The morning of the circus (9 a.m.), that tent is put up by man power and elephant power. Those elephants pull that tent up .... (and) there will be people there watching it go up.”
Neal is looking forward to “seeing the crowd come and the smiles on the children’s faces .... that’s why we keep bringing it back. (Otherwise) most don’t have an opportunity to see an actual circus.
“We’ve been told by people who are lucky enough to go to the bigger circuses .... that they like this one better because there’s more one on one with the audience. The entertainment is just as good, but on a smaller scale.”
She adds, “The first show is always sold out, and the second one usually is, too, or close to it.”
Proceeds go toward educational programs for Osgood children and to help families with medical and emergency situations. It also supports Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, and helps take care of Ripley County Fairgrounds Park.

Family Fun: A Cirque-style circus at the Kravis Center

Cirque Illumination at the Kravis on April 20th - 24th.

By Hap Erstein

April 19, 2011


Palm Beach--Neil Goldberg has been producing European-style circuses for 18 years under his Cirque Dreams brand. The 53-year-old former New Yorker sends theatrical circus productions around the world from his offices, workshop and rehearsal space in a nondescript warehouse park in Pompano Beach.
His latest human variety act extravaganza, Cirque Dreams Illumination, comes to the Kravis Center for six performances from Wednesday through Sunday evening.Here’s what to expect:A TV dance show influence: “Illuminations is really about current, modern times, the many genres of entertainment that exist today on the streets. A lot of the influence came from So You Think You Can Dance?, America’s Got Talent, Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, all those kind of things.”An urban setting, with colorful, fanciful twists: “It actually takes place under a train overpass, because I sort of like the imaginary concept that a train moving by is time moving by. And cardboard boxes and trash cans and tires and park benches and street lamps, everything that’s around get used. It’s really everyday, ordinary people finding everyday, ordinary objects and doing extraordinary things with them.”Of course, there’s a clown: Martin Limberti plays a role that Goldberg dubs “The Vagabond.”
“You meet him right from the onset of the show and he’s with the trashcans, lifting the lids, the typical impression I think one would have of someone living on the streets today. But he makes you smile and he makes you laugh and he just brings a smile to people’s faces. And I think that’s important in entertainment today.”

Water For Elephants Has Special Significance For Area Circus Fan

Submitted by Mort Gamble, Circus Fans Association of America,

2011-04-18. from:

Berlin , CT --"Water for Elephants," the movie love story set in a Depression-era circus and based on the bestselling novel by Sara Gruen, opens April 22.
One of the first in line to see the movie will be Plainville resident Gary Payne, a vice president of the Circus Fans Association of America (, whom Gruen consulted for historical accuracy as she wrote the book. Now Payne has helped to organize a local premiere to celebrate the movie's arrival.
"Sara tells me the movie follows the book closely," Payne says. "She went through a box of tissues at the screening she attended several weeks ago."
As Gruen drafted the novel, Payne, a lifelong circus fan, provided anecdotes and helped with the lingo and logistics of a circus in 1930's America for this historical work of fiction.
"She would send 20-30 pages of the manuscript at a time," he says. "I guess I was the first "public" person to read "Water for Elephants."
Payne's passion, the circus and the Circus Fans Association, he has enjoyed since childhood. Like many young circus fans, he often helped shows set up their big top tents. One thing he did not do, however, was carry water for the elephants to earn a free pass to the circus--a key misunderstanding about circuses that not only made it into Gruen's novel but helps explain the book's title.
"I set up seats, did chores, helped lace up the big top," Payne says. "But you can't satisfy the thirst of an elephant a bucket at a time."
The local movie premiere will be on Friday, April 22, at the Rave Theater on Frontage Road in Berlin, with festivities beginning at 7:45 p.m. There will be Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson star lookalikes, a red carpet, lights, and excitement.
Eagerly anticipating the movie, Payne is amused to remember his early prediction to author Gruen that her novel, which spent weeks on bestseller lists around the country, would not be successful.
"I told her early on that it would sell in my opinion maybe 300 copies," he says. "When it got to be a number-one bestseller, she told me, 'Hey, Gary, you know that book you said wouldn't sell?' I recently told her that I was never so thrilled to be wrong in my life."