2014 Convention



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Get Your Dance Shoes On: From Samba to Circus, the Dance Parade Shimmies Downtown
Friday, May 20, 2011
By Julia Furlan : WNYC Culture Producer

5th Annual NYC Dance Parade from Josephus Tudtud on Vimeo.

The NYPD — that's the New York Dance Parade — will be issuing citations on Saturday for citizens they see who are refusing to get down.

That's because some 8,000 dancers and 176 different dance troupes of varying styles will be dancing their way from 22nd St. to Tompkins Square Park for the fifth annual Dance Parade.

From Nepalese sherpa dances to pole dances straight out of the club, the parade represents a kaleidoscope of nationalities, traditions and movement styles.
Guess why the Coalition is afraid to ban circus animals? The Human Rights Act

A jumping lion in St Petersburg (Photo: Reuters)
By Pete Wedderburn Health and lifestyle

May 20th, 2011

from: The Morning Telegraph, UK

Pete Wedderburn qualified as a vet twenty-five years ago, and now spends half his working life writing newspaper columns. He lives in Ireland with his wife, two daughters and a menagerie of dogs, cats, poultry and other furry and feathered companions.picture

A jumping lion in St Petersburg (Photo: Reuters)
The Coalition government seems to be digging an entirely unnecessary hole for itself over an issue that should be a no-brainer: the banning of wild animals in circuses.
Last week, the Coalition Government stated that it was loathe to legislate because the Austrian Government had recently been taken to court for its “attempt” to ban wild animals in circuses.
When supporters of the ban investigated this claim, they discovered that, in fact, there was no legal challenge involving the Austrian Government’s circus ban. The Austrian ban has been firmly in place for over six years and other European countries such as Denmark have implemented similar bans without challenge.
Yesterday, when the Defra Minister, Jim Paice, was put under intense pressure to explain the Government’s position he admitted that comments made regarding the Austrian legal case were incorrect. To scoffing laughter from MPs, he then went on to say that legal advice suggested that a total ban “might well be seen as disproportionate action under the European Union Services Directive and under our own Human Rights Act.”
The government seems to be scrabbling around desperately, looking for excuses not to take action. Labour’s Mary Creagh was right to describe the government’s approach as “an all-singing, all-dancing disaster”.
It’s now over a year since DEFRA published the results of a public consultation into the subject. The results were unequivocal: 94.5 per cent of those responding supported a complete ban on wild animals in circuses. Recent surveys of public opinion have provided more support for a change in the law. A recent independent online poll carried out by YouGov asked impartial participants aged over 18 to what extent they would support or oppose a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses: 72 per cent of the public backed a ban with only 8 pe rcent against. Meanwhile, a recent poll by ADI also found strong support for a ban in the House of Commons with 63 per cent of MPs in favour and 14 per cent against.
Is the Government deliberately trying to be unpopular?

Perch Act presented by CGEAgency

A look at the original StarTours at Disney's Hollywood Studios

LIFE & CULTURE MAY 21, 2011.

Visualizer: 'Celebrations of Curious Characters' Conjurers, Con Men & Other Strange Celebrities .


For the past 30 years, Ricky Jay, the sleight-of-hand artist and actor, has been gathering material about magicians, con artists and other eccentric performers, human and animal. His newest book, "Celebrations of Curious Characters" (McSweeney's), features images and anecdotes from his collection. Mr. Jay, who is well known for his card tricks, shares tales about dancing rats, Lionel the Lion-Faced Man, and the conjurer Chung Ling Soo (born William Ellsworth Robinson) whose on-stage shooting in 1918 was officially labeled "death by misadventure." Here is a look at some notable characters.

Heck Houston (left).Chicago detective Clifton R. Wooldridge called himself "America's Sherlock Holmes" and detailed his exploits in a series of colorful books. In his 1907 "The Devil and the Grafter," he demonstrated some of his disguises, including Heck Houston, cattle baron from Wyoming.

McSweeny's Book

"Bismarck, the Pig of Genius: His Life and Labours, His Wonderful Education and How He Got It" There is an entire genre of books about (and sometimes, supposedly, by) clever animals, including the 1871 "Bismarck, the Pig of Genius: His Life and Labours, His Wonderful Education and How He Got It." In the woodcut at right, Bismarck shows off his math skills.
McSweeny's Books
Hubert's MuseumHubert's Museum, open from 1925 to 1965, was a fixture of New York's Times Square. Its trained flea circus was a major attraction, allowing spectators to watch fleas juggle a ball, rotate a miniature merry-go-round, race chariots and dance.

McSweeny's Books

Giovanni Battista BelzoniGiovanni Battista Belzoni, born in Italy, first found fame as a performing strongman in the early 1800s. Then his career took an unusual turn into archaeology, and he became known as the world's leading Egyptologist.
Paul Boyton was a major 19th-century celebrity. He was the first person to "swim" across the English Channel—although he did so with the aid of a rubber suit and paddle.

McSweeny's Books

Theodore PullIn his shows, Theodore Pull feigned a trance and foamed at the mouth to add drama. The foam came from eating soap.

Neutral Science Okays The Circus

Article Date: 20 May 2011
UK - I am the former Chairman of a group representing the circus community in several years of discussions with DEFRA on the question of circus animals. It's a great frustration that the views of the circus community are almost universally ignored by the media; I am grateful to be given a voice here.
In our discussions, scientific evidence was submitted by groups on both sides of the debate. The conclusions of the six scientists who reviewed the evidence were published as part of the so-called 'Radford Report' of November 2007, still available via the DEFRA website. The six included academics who are often heard to speak against circuses on behalf of animal campaign organisations. It is noteworthy that all six specialists jointly concluded that there is no scientific reason to ban any species of animal from circuses, and that circuses are as capable of looking after their animals as are zoos and safari parks.
That's the opinion to be listened to; because it is science-based, it is politically neutral, without partisan bias on either side.
Naturally, when film is released such as we've seen recently of an elephant-keeper abusing an animal at a circus, people are upset and angry. The circus community is angry, too; this is not how we treat animals! Such cases are rare - there have been only six prosecutions of circus people in almost 200 years.
Throughout our DEFRA discussions, we asked for strict government Regulation to be imposed. That's not because we believe we're doing something wrong; neutral inspectors confirm our standards are good overall. But we wish to make sure no stupid individual can treat our animals like that again: like everyone else, we'd like the elephant-abuser caught and locked up.
This government has promised to impose strict Regulation. Animals are an essential part of a traditional circus; circuses are acknowledged by Arts bodies as an important part of popular culture. Rather than rage about the politics, we need to think calmly about ensuring the welfare of all circus animals. By protecting the animals, following standards laid down by zoological experts and verified by DEFRA vets, we're also protecting the circus.
© Chris Barltrop 2011 Copyright: Medical News Today
Universoul Circus
Mobile Alabama

State cuts to impact area county fairs

Friday, May 20, 2011

County fair organizers throughout North Central Illinois are finding creative ways to keep their summer pastimes going as state lawmakers continue to propose funding cuts to state and local fairs.

Among the budget cuts in the latest spending proposal out of Springfield is a nearly 10 percent cut to local and state fair budgets. The Illinois Department of Agriculture, which pays for the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and DuQuoin State Fair in DuQuoin, also helps to support dozens of local fairs in counties statewide.Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget proposal set aside $900,000 for county fair distribution. The state House proposal increases that amount by $900. The state Senate budget plan, however, trims the governor’s budget to $675,700. Either way, fair organizers throughout the area anticipated the cuts.“The Department of Ag has been telling us that this was coming,” said Jovanna Kocher, president of the Marshall-Putnam Fair Board. “We (the Marshall-Putnam Fair Board) have been proactive. The board has been very conservative in its spending habits.”Providing a quality, affordable fair for people remains a high priority for the board, the office staff and all the volunteers who help with the fair. Kocher said people still don’t have to pay to enter and park at the fairgrounds.“The secret to the success of our county fair is the three C’s — community, commitment and cooperation,” Kocher said.To trim costs in the future the board may have to look at relying more heavily upon volunteers, Kocher said. Carol Ramer and other members of the Tri-County Fair board of directors also aren’t surprised to learn there will be even less money in the state’s fair budget again this year.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Shrine Circus coming to Blue Line this weekend

The Shrine Circus is coming to town this weekend, and bringing along Bo, a 6.5-ton elephant. Submitted photo

May. 19, 2011

It’s Shrine Circus time in Sheboygan.

The circus, which has been operating since 1906, rolls into town Saturday and Sunday with four shows at the Blue Line Ice Center.

It’s hosted by the Tripoli Shrine.Performances are scheduled at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, and at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday.

“The Shrine Circus is pulling out all the stops this year,” said George Carden, the event’s producer, in a press release. “Not only do we have the best acts to perform in Sheboygan, but we’ve added new performances never seen in North America before.” Adult tickets are $16, and for children, $12. Carden said there are “buy one, get one” ticket coupons, sponsored by the Tripoli Shrine, available in the community and The Sheboygan Press.

In addition to a thrilling circus performance, this year’s attendees are invited to a “Pre-Party” thrown by the Shriners. The audience is invited into the three rings of the circus before, during intermission, and after the circus. Carden called his Tripoli Shrine Circus, “The only interactive circus in the world,” and added with a laugh, “For most people, this is as close as you can get to running away to join the circus.”

The Shrine Circus is a family affair for Carden and the Tripoli Shrine. Carden works with his wife, Alexandra, a former acrobat and aerialist, and son, Larry, an elephant trainer. Carden was previously an animal trainer as well before he decided to focus on the Shriners’ philanthropic and fundraising goals. The family experience is not limited to Carden and the Shriners. Carden cited the fact that most of his performers and employees are from circus families and still perform together in the Shrine Circus. “These talented folks can trace back their families for three to five generations, 100-plus years in circus life,” Carden said.

Carden’s troupe is especially fond of Wisconsin. “We’ve been coming for 30 years,” he said. “This is where we start our summer tour each year. I have literally watched most of our audience grow up.”

In addition to the elephants in the Shrine Circus, the show also features a fierce display of white Siberian tigers trained by Vicente Pages. The Shrine Circus also has one of the only female ringmasters in the entire circus world, Audrey Michelle.

“The Shriners here do so many good things for children and families,” Carden said of the impact the Tripoli Shrine Center has on Sheboygan. “I hope the families of this city will come out to meet my family, the families of the Shrine circus, and the Tripoli Shrine.”

The Tripoli Shrine is has partnered with a number of local sponsors to ensure deserving children will be able to attend this year’s Shrine Circus at no cost. Shriners are one of the oldest fraternal organizations in the world.

When a circus becomes ‘Cirque’...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Cirque du Soleil changed the landscape of the traditional circus, using a heightened artistic framing of world-class acrobatics.
Now, a new generation of Cirque style show returns to the Lorain Palace at 8 tonight — Cirque D’Or.
Cirque D’Or, which first packed the Palace three years ago, features a cast of world champion acrobats, contortionists and aerial artists primarily from China, packaged in an equally world-class production of ornate costumes and props.
Evolved from the former Golden Dragon Acrobats from the Hebei province of China, Cirque D’Or performers seem to defy the laws of physics—and physicality, said promoter Joe Zappia. “The show features spinning, juggling, climbing, balancing, jumping and twisting in unfathomable combinations.
“I love coming to Lorain. We have had a lot of success working with John Handyside over the years, and I think the venue is fabulous.”
Handyside, Palace executive director, said in an earlier interview that the last time the Lorain Palace hosted a full-fledged circus of the old school was in the mid-1980s, with the Shrine Circus. The Palace has also hosted The Golden Dragon Acrobats.
The troupe and the Palace have gone full “cirque-al,” with “Cirque d’Or,” French for “circus of gold.” The lavishly appointed Palace presents the perfect environment for the fantasy-type costumes, props and music, Handyside noted.
“I love the cirque shows, because it’s the human element, rather than the lion tamer, cracking his whip and making the animals do tricks,” Handyside said.
“It’s comedy, it’s splendor — and no one’s getting beaten up over it.”
Daring feats Continued...
Roll up, roll up as circus goes Dutch

Pom Pom the Clown, PICTURE: SeventhWave Imagery

Friday 20 May 2011


There’s something magical about the circus. Kids today are inundated with entertainment, in the form of games consoles, TV, cinema and theatre shows. But sitting in the Big Top tops them all.Perhaps its the element of the exotic or the unknown. Perhaps it’s the fact that they set-up camp so fleetingly – arriving and departing on the summer breeze.Most likely it’s the nostalgia of a good-old fashioned travelling show and it’s place in fairytales and folklore.Whatever its appeal, the circus is something that all children should see.

And next week a new circus comes to town.

It’s not that the circus itself is new (it’s been going since 1948), but it’s the first time it has visited Portsmouth.

The Netherlands National Circus is here from Tuesday until Sunday, June 5, taking up residence on Southsea Common for a Bank Holiday extravaganza.It comes to us direct from Brighton, where it has been wowing crowds at the Fringe Festival.

There are no animals in this circus troupe, but plenty of acrobats, aerialists, trapeze artists, barre artists, jugglers, clowns and a live band. The show features skilled and daring performers from Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Hungary and of course Holland.

And highlights include the Flying Neves from Brazil (and their incredible triple somersault), springboard acrobats from Hungary and the trio Bokafi.Although the circus is a British invention, it has always enjoyed a much higher artistic status in Europe.

In fact, the European Parliament recently voted to support the traditional circus as ‘an important part of European culture’.

Circus spokesman Chris Barltrop says: ‘This Circus is from Holland, but the circus is close to people’s hearts everywhere.‘It’s marvellous to be on tour here with such a special show.

‘We’re helping families fight back against the cost of living. Seat prices are competitive, and travel costs are low because we come to you!’ Tickets cost £10 to £24 from the box office which is open daily on site from 10am until 8pm. Alternatively, you can book over the phone on 0844 415 5228. There is discount of £3 for tickets booked in advance online at







Uploaded by MetroCastChannel10PA on Apr 7, 2011

When the Lewis & Clark circus came to town recently, MetroCasting took the opportunity to talk with performers, workers and owners about modern day circus. This story gives a pretty good view of their lifestyle.
Unicyclist's suit falls flat in court as judge scoffs at idea constitutional rights were violated

Linda Rosier/News

Kyle Peterson shows off some of his tricks on the Coney Island boardwalk.


May 19th 2011

A Brooklyn federal judge has let the air out of a circus performer's claims he was falsely arrested for riding his unicycle on a Brooklyn sidewalk.

Judge Brian Cogan acknowledged the law prohibiting two- and three-wheeled bikes on the sidewalk doesn't cover unicycles, but scoffed at Kyle Peterson's lawsuit claiming his constitutional rights were violated."I expressed some skepticism that a statute originally enacted to protect African-Americans from the most heinous deprivations of life and liberty in the Reconstruction era had devolved into permitting circus performers to recover money ... for having wrongfully received two minor summonses," Cogan wrote yesterday.

Peterson filed a $3 million suit after he was ticketed by cops in 2007 and 2011 for riding on the sidewalk. The tickets were eventually dismissed.Cogan said the cops "mistakenly but reasonably" thought he was breaking the law.

The cops are entitled to qualified immunity from being sued because they "mistakenly [but reasonably] thought plaintiff violated the law."

He also suggested Peterson may have been "emboldened" to ride on the sidewalk after the first summons was dismissed.Lawyer Paul Hale says he's not deterred by the decision. "I will continue to fight for the rights of all New Yorkers, whether they are unicyclists, jugglers or sword swallowers," Hale said.
The Art of Collecting Collections

A signature feature of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont is a round barn.



May 19, 2011

SHELBURNE, Vt. — There is a mystery about the Shelburne Museum. And you could easily spend a day here, just south of Burlington, walking around its 45 acres, amazed, awed and amused, and still not figure it out. During these opening weeks of its half-year season, it might seem to resemble an eccentric botanical garden. More than 400 lilac bushes in 90 varieties are scattered over the grounds. The setting is pure Vermont Pastoral. Even during a recent day of spring rain and splashing mud, the red-painted wood of one of the state’s few surviving round barns looked almost radiant. Is this a farm museum perhaps? With garden tours? Or is it the home of a local historical society?
Not even close. Over a hill you can make out a black smokestack belonging to an early-20th-century steamship that once toured Lake Champlain, dry-docked on the lawn. Nearby is a decommissioned 19th-century lighthouse with no navigational purpose. Atop a hill, a Greek Revival manse sits with calm authority. There are a one-room school house, a covered bridge, an apothecary, a restored carousel.

Caleb Kenna for The New York Times

A 3,500-piece miniature three-ring circus carved out of wood by Edgar Decker Kirk.
A historical village, then? A Disneyesque New England fantasyland? Whatever this museum collects, it must surely include buildings; there are 39 of them, and 25 were moved from other places. But walk into any of them, and the act of collecting, you see, goes far beyond imagining.
Some of the collections are just mounted for this season by the senior curator, Jean Burks, and her colleagues: more than 100 Vermont firearms going back to 1790; Belle Époque fashions, with some partial outfits completed by contemporary design students; an exhibition of new and historic quilts; and artworks made out of cut, folded, rolled and processed paper.
Other collections have been here for decades. Inside a barn shaped like a semicircular ribbon, you come upon a 3,500-piece three-ring circus, with a brass band, a tiger cage and acrobats performing before an arena of spectators. But the figures are just inches tall, carved out of wood with a penknife and a jigsaw by Edgar Decker Kirk. Along the curved walls, glass cases display a 500-foot-long circus parade, with 4,000 miniature figures carved by another craftsman, Roy Arnold. read more at:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Robert Cline on

facebookMay 19 , 2011

The Circus Historical Society is greatly saddened at the loss of Mr. John McConnell, who passed away May 16, 2011. He had been a member since 1971, and Board of Trustees member since 1998. He owned and produced Circus Royale from 1986 through 2005. He wrote many books including several on circus topics, including the Hanneford family and the Shrine circus that originated in Detroit, and authored articles on circus history. John is survived by his wife and three sons, two of whom were with him in the circus business, his daughters-in-law and four grandchildren. ( Photo is courtesy of Paul Guthiel )
Bill and I first met John on the Royal Hanneford Circus
way back in the early 70's when they played Salisbury, MD
I beleive that he was the man who put Tommy's show in arenas.
He was a real gentleman and showman!
Chicago Ad Man Shows Love for Circus With Movie Promotion

from adrants.comby

Steve Hall

PETA certainly won't like this campaign but there are people out there who love the circus and want to see it stick around for a while.

One such circus lover is David Wojdyla, president of Chicago ad agency & Wojdyla. Wojdyla created a poster campaign for two non-profit circus venues, the AI. Ringling Theater and the Circus World Museum both in Baraboo Wisconsin, birthplace of Albert, Otto, Alfred, Charles and John Ringling and the circus they founded in 1884.
The poster features AIbert Ringling along with Water For Elephants stars Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattison. The poster is s riff off another poster which features the five Ringling brothers.
The campaign touts the Baraboo premiere of Water For Elephants May 20 and aims to raise money for the two non-profit organizations that, together, celebrate circus history.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK - Circus brings smiles

Thursday, May 19, 2011

from: South Brunswick Post

By Mary Brienza, Staff Writer

Cloudy skies and intermittent rain showers did not deter about 2,000 people from attending the Zerbini Family Circus last weekend.
The South Brunswick Lions Club sponsored the annual event May 14-15 at Crossroads Middle School South on Major Road and raised about $4,000 for the organization, club treasurer Barbara Hendrickson said.

Staff photos by Mary Brienza
A performer for the Zerbini Family Circus kisses an African alligator during the show at Crossroads South Middle School on Major Road Saturday
read more at:







Circus Vargas opens Thursday at Westminster Mall

Kenyan acrobatic performers, from left, Shida Nguwa, Omar Athuman, Peter Munga, and Marumbi Nzao, pitch in to raise the big tent in the parking lot of the Westminster Mall for Circus Vargas first leg of their Orange County tour. Shows will be in Westminster from May 19-30 then it will move to Santa Ana for five days then on to Irvine for another six days.



May 18, 2011

Workers raised the blue and gold Big Top on Tuesday in the parking lot of the Westminster Mall as the performers as Circus Vargas prepare to start their summer season in Orange County.Circus Vargas will put on shows Thursday through Memorial Day. They will then move to the Westfield Main Place Mall in Santa Ana and the Irvine Spectrum in June. The show on opening night will be at 7:30.

Vittorio Arata, left, tent master for Circus Vargas, plugs his ears as he keeps an eye on giant steel spikes being driven through the asphalt to support the giant circus tent being erected in the parking lot of the Westminster Mall.

This year, the circus will take viewers on an "artistic journey" in a series of vignettes showing the experiences, memories and visions of a circus performer traveling around the world. Circus Vargas' show will feature aerialists, clowns, acrobats and stunt performers. Spectators are also invited to a pre-show where Jon Weiss, star of the CBS show "The Amazing Race" will give them a sneak peek to life under the Big Top.According to statement released by Circus Vargas, the Big Top tent that distinguishes this circus was hand-made in Milan. It consists of 90,000 square feet of canvas fabric, which is supported by 500 individually placed stakes and more than four miles of rope and cable weighing about 17 tons. It seats about 1,200 people. It takes 20 men about seven hours to raise the Big Top.
The giant tent for Circus Vargas begins to take shape
in the parking lot at the Westminster Mall

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Circus performer to tackle charity walk on stilts

Stilt walker Lanky Panky
Wednesday 18th May 2011
from the Salisbury
By Morwenna Blake »
WALKING ten miles is hard on the feet at the best of times, so imagine what it must be like on stilts.
One intrepid fundraiser is soon to find out.
Circus performer Lanky Panky has signed up to take part in the third annual Midnight Walk, taking place from midnight on Saturday, June 4, finishing the following day.
Lanky Panky said: “I’m looking to do five miles on the stilts then I’ll see how I feel, but I hope to do the whole thing.”
As in previous years, the walk will start at Five Rivers Leisure Centre with the route taking walkers to the hospice via Devizes Road, Wilton Road, Churchfields, the Town Path and Harnham.
But in a change to the last two events walkers will return via Rowbarrow, the Cathedral Close, which will be open especially for the event, and the city centre - reducing the distance from 13 miles to ten.
For the first time, the walk is open to children aged 12 to 16 accompanied by an adult.
The aim is to beat last year’s fundraising total of £40,000, with up to 500 people taking part.
Entry is £15 for adults and £10 for children, which includes a t-shirt, glow sticks, refreshments and a medal.
All sponsorship money raised goes to support the work of the hospice, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
"Moscow Circus on Ice" to perform extra show

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - An additional performance of the spectacular "Moscow Circus on Ice" will be held on July 10 at 7.30pm in response to overwhelming public demand. Tickets are available from this Friday (May 20) onwards.
Featuring a unique blend of scintillating ice-skating and traditional Russian circus artistry, "Moscow Circus on Ice" launches the large-scale summer festival "International Arts Carnival" (IAC) presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
Wearing dazzling outfits, the award-winning artists will juggle, leap, and spin their way through a series of balletic acts, transforming circus acts into art on ice.
Whether springing between parallel bars, powering through wheel gymnastics or gliding around on stilts, be prepared to gasp in amazement at the artists' cool moves. Unicycling, high-wire feats and skipping-rope stunts add to the entertainment as clowns, magicians and wacky dancers join in the fun. Moving from circus ring to rink, this world-class ice show offers a refreshing summer treat.
The additional performance of "Moscow Circus on Ice" will be held at 7.30pm on July 10 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre.


Bucher at the circus
WDTN NBC 2 Dayton
Apr. 23, 2009.

Circus family trial erupts into profane fight

Associated Press - May 17, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) - The dramatic feud between the scions of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus has erupted into profanity-filled shouting in a federal courthouse.
Karen Feld is suing her brother, circus CEO Kenneth Feld, for $110 million over a confrontation with his security guards at their aunt's 2007 memorial service.
Karen Feld stormed out of a Washington courtroom Tuesday after defense lawyer Matthew Kirkland repeatedly called her "Mrs. Feld," which the never-married plaintiff said she found disrespectful. Kirtland later told the judge that Karen Feld confronted him and her brother in the hallway, swore at him and lunged at him.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle responded by posting a security officer in the courtroom and ordering plaintiff and defense teams to leave court separately to avoid another confrontation.
Showmen's resting place at Woodlawn

Cemetery is burial ground for performers who perished in 1918 train wreck

Resting place: The Showmen’s Rest memorial is surrounded by the bright colors of tulips at Woodlawn Cemetery.J. GEIL/Staff Photographer
By LAURA BOLLINContributing Writer
There is an interesting monument dedicated to the deceased in one corner of Woodlawn Memorial Park, at 7750 Cermak Rd.
Instead of the typical angel or cross grave-marker, the stones here are elephants - a group of them, with the trunks pointed down.
The elephants mark the spot of Showman's Rest, the final resting place for more than 50 circus performers from the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus train, who died in a crash and subsequent fire in Hammond, Ind. on June 22, 1918.
Marie Pomazal, an administrator at the cemetery, said the unique memorial draws tourists every year.
"The elephant statues have their trunks down to signify mourning," Pomazal said. "A lot of people think there are elephants buried here. People used to think they heard elephants in the cemetery. They didn't realize the noises were coming from the nearby Brookfield Zoo. It's kind of cute. There are only people buried here."
According to John Rice, Forest Park's unofficial historian, and a columnist for the Forest Park Review, the crash was one of the biggest tragedies in circus history.
"This is a horrible story, but it is one of the best stories ever. It is amazing," Rice said.
According to Rice, the circus train was stopped on the tracks in Hammond, Ind., so the circus performers could sleep. A man with a flare was stationed behind the train, to warn other trains that were coming that the circus train was on the track. A troop train came by, empty except for two people - the train conductor and the brakeman. The train conductor fell asleep, and by the time the brakeman realized his companion was asleep and tried to stop the train, it was too late.
"The troop train plowed into the back of the circus train, and it telescoped the cars," Rice said. "It went right through three rear cars, and many people were killed instantly. Then, a fire started in the wreckage (possibly from the flare the man had thrown into the conductor's car). The train was made of wood. Acrobats from the circus were able to move in and out of the train cars and get people out. Other people were trapped in there and burned to death."
"In 1914, the Showman's League, a circus group, bought a plot of land at the cemetery for performers who had died," Pomazal said.
Willian Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody, the famous soldier, bison hunter and performer who had a traveling show, ran the league.
A mass burial took place on June 27, 1918 - just five days after the accident. More than 1,500 people attended the service.
According to the Woodlawn Memorial Park website, 86 circus employees and performers died in the accident; 56 of them are buried at Woodlawn, but some are unidentified.
"The mass grave contained 56 people. Of these, only 13 were identified," Rice said. "Some of the people buried could not be identified because of the burns or because people didn't know who they were. Circuses picked up stray workers as they traveled, and people quit all the time. It was fairly normal."
Some graves are marked with stones like Unknown Male #44 or Unknown Female #4.
Rice said the burial site was a significant part of Forest Park's history.
In August each year, the cemetery remembers those who perished in the 1918 accident with a festival, complete with hot dogs, face painting, popcorn, and clowns.
"The first Sunday of August every year, we have a clown ceremony," Pomaza said. "All the people from the Showman's League come, and the clowns have a service at Showman's Rest. It is during National Clown Week. It is our way to honor the people who died in the accident."
Anyone can visit Showman's Rest.

The cemetery is open every day until dusk.
Stinky souvenirs!

Prague Zoo sells elephant dung


PRAGUE (AP) — Prague Zoo has started selling what look like ice cream containers but are actually full of elephant dung.It's the latest fad among Czech gardeners who are buying out the manure pails to use as fertilizer. The brain behind the project is zoo director Miroslav Bobek, whose surname literally means dung.
Zoo officials estimate they sell around 200 of the 1-kilogram (2.2-pound) containers of dung per weekend, at 70 koruna ($3.90) each. But sales have been so brisk they decided to expand to weekdays.
AP video showed handlers scooping up the manure Thursday and placing it in the white containers to the bemusement of visitors.
Brazilian tourist Ana Tolentino wouldn't buy it at any price, saying Thursday "My gosh, it is very unusual!"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Kelly Miller Circus set to entertain the Bridgeton area at Dutch Neck Village

The Kelly Miller Circus, including Mike Rice and The Silk Road Camels, is coming to Dutch Neck Village June 3
May 16, 2011
By Lauren T. Taniguchi/The News of Cumberland County South Jersey Newspapers HOPEWELL TWP. — Elephants and tigers and camels, oh my!
The Kelly Miller Circus is on its way back to Dutch Neck Village.
On Friday, June 3, clowns, animals, acrobats and other entertainers will wow the crowd with a show beginning at 4:30 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m.
“What I like about it is, not only is it a fundraiser for all (the Bridgeton Breakfast Rotary Club’s) projects, but on top of that, it’s a service to the community, bringing very inexpensive, high-class entertainment and a family-friendly atmosphere,” said Bob Spence of the Bridgeton Breakfast Rotary Club.
A past club president suggested inviting the Kelly Miller Circus to town from Hugo, Okla., several years ago, and Spence said they have turned out to be “one of the best groups of people I have ever worked with, just very nice, helpful and a really professional show.”
Begun in 1938, the Kelly Miller Circus travels across the nation with its fleet of 25 vehicles. Its big top circus tent seats 1,500 guests to entertain under the direction of John Ringling North II, great-nephew of the famous Ringling Brothers, who grew up in the “Greatest Show on Earth.”
Special acts in the June 3 circus will include Casey McCoy’s talented white tigers, the Ogle sisters on trapeze and champion cowboy rope-spinning sensation Darrell “The Hawk” Hawkins. Guests will also enjoy Australia’s “Olympian of the air,” acrobat Nikita; Miss Roxie Montana and “her rootin’ tootin’ Wild West dogs and ponies” and the “undisputed master of fire manipulation,” Brian La Palme.
The circus marks one of the few times Cumberland County kids have a chance to see elephants and camels in their backyard, and Spence emphasized the food and entertainment at the circus will provide an affordable way for families to have fun together.
Tickets are available for purchase from Hopewell Crest School, Cumberland Tire, Canvas Bag Gallery, Cindy Ewing, Upper Deerfield Pre-School, Gateway Community Action Partnership, Woodruff Energy and Tracy’s Corner at a price of $10 for adults and $6 for children.
Though tickets will also be available at the circus, the Bridgeton Breakfast Rotary Club strongly recommends purchasing ahead of time since tickets at the event will cost $15 for adults and $7 for children. Furthermore, tickets purchased prior to the event will maximize the proceeds to be utilized by the Bridgeton Breakfast Rotary Club.
Under a motto of “service above self,” Rotary International implements service projects to “work locally, regionally and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training and promote peace,” according to the local club’s website.
Through a focused international initiative, Rotary Club has been integral in a worldwide effort to eradicate polio, reducing the list of countries where polio remains endemic from 25 nations to Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan in 20 years.
In addition, Rotary is a supporter of the Salvation Army, and the Bridgeton Breakfast Rotary Club provides youth scholarships and organizes projects and events to benefit the community, such as monthly birthday parties for the residents at the Devereux Foundation, with funds it generates through events like the Kelly Miller Circus at Dutch Neck Village.
And if the glitz and glamour of the big top circus show and support for the service organization aren’t enticing enough reasons to attend, Spence also pointed out “the circus will offer, at no charge, some excellent elephant manure to our horticulturalist neighbors.”
Big thrills under the big top in Vineland

May. 17, 2011

Written byKRISTI FUNDERBURK Staff Writer, Vineland Daily Journal

VINELAND -- A large asphalt lot usually reserved for weekend flea markets was transformed Monday to thrill both the young and young at heart.
The bright red-and-yellow big top rose at the back of the U-Sell Flea Market property on South Delsea Drive as Coles Bros. Circus of the Stars returned to town. Two performances were held Monday before huge crowds. The final shows are tonight at 5 and 8 p.m.The big top can seat 2,200 people, marketing director Debra Houston said, and that capacity was tested Monday."This is going to be four awesome shows," she said, eyeing the long line of people waiting to buy tickets as the 5 p.m. show opened.

"We might not sell out, but it'll be close.

"Melisa Burnett of Millville was at the back of the line with her two daughters, Jacqueline Burnett, 8, and Mallorie Ferrigno, 18. It wasn't long before another 20 people filed in behind her.But Burnett didn't hesitate to say the show is one worth waiting for. Plus, this was Jacqueline's first trip to the circus."It's very exciting," she said. "We don't normally have stuff like that. It's just fun.

"Cole Bros. Circus has brought clowns, performers and animals to Vineland since 1964 as a fundraiser for Vineland's Volunteer Fire Company 2, located on East Sherman Avenue."It's our only fundraiser, but it's more than a fundraiser. It's fun, and it gets families out," said Station 2 Capt. Ryan Feaster, chairman of the fundraising committee.Chris Connors, ringmaster for the past 10 years, said fans love the "one-of-a-kind" liberty act in which a llama, camel, giraffe horse, miniature horses and poodles perform in the ring without guides.

They also enjoy the "cartoon poodles" -- two poodles in costumes that do tricks and ride around in a pink car, he said.

Before they enter the big top, visitors get to see the two female Asian elephants, each donning red saddles for pre-show rides.

The circus visits Vineland annually as part of an East Coast tour that includes about 1,000 performances in all.

Millville resident John Lore brought his 4-year-old granddaughter Rebecca Lore to see the elephants as they waited for his wife, Marianne, to arrive for the show."This is one of her birthday presents," Lore said as Rebecca carefully watched the giant creatures saunter by. "I brought her last year and she liked it, and she's been talking about it all year.

"Connors said the animals are one of the biggest hits for all ages."People came here as kids," he said, "and now they're bringing their kids."

shrine circus ad



Date: THURSDAY, JUNE 9, 2011

Time: 4:00 PM / 7:30 PM


Determined crowds brave rain for Way Fair

ABOVE: Off-and-on rain that drenched the area Sunday didn't keep people away from the 36th annual American Way Fair in downtown Pottsville. Hundreds packed the fair area and took advantage of food, rides and other offerings. BY STEPHEN J. PYTAK (STAFF WRITER

Published: May 16, 2011
Patrick Hahn, 16, of Pottsville, couldn't resist a turn on the Rolo-plane amusement ride set up in the first block of South Centre Street for the 36th annual American Way Fair.Operated by Otto's Amusements, the bright orange-and-white amusement park ride is made of two huge baskets, which took riders more than three-stories up and then down in a circle, spinning them at the same time.
"You can see Nativity when you go up in the air," Hahn said, referring to Nativity BVM High School, which stands on Lawton's Hill, high above the city.
He also saw layers of gray clouds, which hovered over the event. Despite splashes of rain throughout the morning and afternoon, hundreds flocked to the one-day downtown street fair that featured musicians, games and food vendors.
The National Weather Service, State College, had predicted a 90 percent chance of precipitation for Sunday with the possibility of thunderstorms.
Charlie Kershner of CEK Entertainment, Schuylkill Haven, said the toughest part of the day was setting up for the New Jersey band The Party Dolls on the 100 block of North Centre Street about 10:30 a.m.
"It was no fun. We were trying to cover everything," Kershner said.
"It rained from, like, 10:30 to 11:30. Then it was misting. Then we got sun for about two minutes. Then it was misting again. And it's been raining on and off. But we've been lucky, though. There are a lot of people here," said Mark Mamrosh, Pottsville.
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Greensboro carnival workers killed, injured in Ferris wheel fall

May 16, 2011

from WRAL news

Greensboro, N.C. — One carnival worker died and another was hospitalized with critical injuries early Monday after they fell from a Ferris wheel at Greensboro Youth Council’s Carnival.
The workers, whose names were not released, were disassembling the ride around 1:50 a.m. when they apparently fell off, according to Greensboro police.
The carnival was held in the parking lot of the Greensboro Coliseum at 1921 W. Lee St.
The Greensboro Police Criminal Investigations Division and Crime Scene Investigators responded to the scene. No other information was released.

Monday, May 16, 2011



Peoria, IL

May 5, 2011

Was able to visit Piccadilly circus, for the first time, in Peoria, Il, 5-05-11, at the fairgrounds. Met Zack Garden and his family. Brett
CARDEN was on the show, for one week, with elephants, Duchess and Janice. Tommy Liebel, elephant act, had just left the show. Brett
thought that Brian Franzen would be joining show in Hoffman Estates, to take Brett's place. Also visited with Jack Cook, and once again
enjoyed his comedy car routine. Show also had globe of death, elephant rides, pony rides, clowns, roller skating artists, juggler, Rocky the
boxing kangaroo, and hand balancing act. The show was well received by the audience. This is first for me - the show had its own ATM
machine placed near ride ticket booth.

Zack, Hunter (1), Jordon Garden

Aila (3) Garden, left, and her cousin

Rocky, boxing Kangaroo

Rocky is the champion Carden elephants, Duchess & Janice

Zack Garden at control central

ATM Machine (show owned) near ride ticket booth