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Saturday, August 13, 2011

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One-ring wonder resounds with local circus enthusiastsKelly Miller packs them in at Sylvania Twp.

Tigers obey the commands of their trainer, rolling around and impressing audience members during their performance at the Kelly Miller Circus in Sylvania Township..


The bleachers were packed and the air properly sultry Friday inside the big tent staked in a Sylvania Township field.
The circus was in town -- "America's One Ring Wonder," the program's headline read, "Kelly Miller Circus, owned and operated by John Ringling North II.
Ben Eisel helps his daughter Lilli Eisel get a big bite out of her snow cone during a refreshing pause to the circus excitement.
The audience, age diverse and children all, marveled at the tigers and elephants and gasped at the aerialists and acrobats inside the big top at Brint and Centennial roads.
Few showed the enthusiasm of Katie Donatini, 25, of Sylvania, who was about 10 when she last attended a circus, and a sterile indoor event at that.
She leaned forward as tiger master Ryan Holder led five cats through their paces -- jumping over each other; lying side by side, stock still, a living striped carpet; walking and hopping forward and backward on their hind legs.
Then, on command, the tigers rolled over and over around the circus ring.
"They're still rolling! Oh, my God!" Ms. Donatini said to her aunt, Carol Connolly Pletz.
"I'm out-of-my-mind excited," she said during a break in the action. "I love the animals."
Her aunt said, "This is like the old-time circus where they came to town and set up a tent."

Guest ringmaster John Robinson Block, longtime circus enthusiast, thanks the Kelly Miller Circus for pitching their Big Tent in this corner of Northwest Ohio.

Gabe Anteau, 8, of Sylvania -- who after his face painting resembled Spider-Man -- is a circus watching veteran who most enjoys the acrobats.
"I kind of like the way they move around and how they fly," he said.
Afternoon and evening performances in Sylvania Township to benefit the Sylvania Sunrise Lions Club were the last stops for the Kelly Miller Circus in northwest Ohio. The circus made its annual trek to Kelleys Island on Sunday -- a five-hour venture involving two ferries and five trips to transport the circus, its cast, and 40 vehicles. The operation in reverse returned the circus to the mainland for performances Wednesday in Woodville and Thursday in Point Place. The next stops are in the Detroit area.The booming voice of Ringmaster John Moss III caught the crowd's attention. He advised them to make note of the fire exits, refrain from using cell phones, and warned of the prohibition on recording the show.
At the afternoon performance, with a drum roll, he introduced guest ringmaster John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade.
"It's an honor to be here," said Mr. Block, a longtime circus enthusiast. "Thank you for bringing the circus to Toledo and Sylvania. There's not a bad seat in the house.
"On with the show!"
And nearly two hours of circus entertainment was under more:

Skowhegan State Fair offers something for everyone

By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

Posted Aug. 11, 2011,

SKOWHEGAN, Maine — When most people think of state fairs, thrilling rides, games and appetizing fried delights come to mind.
While the Skowhegan State Fair does offer all of those things, the organizers’ main emphasis is on the agricultural portion.
“The Skowhegan State Fair really concentrates on the agricultural part of the fair,” the fair’s marketing director, Denise Smith, said Thursday afternoon. “It’s a very clean fair, it’s very well-run.”
The fairgrounds were full of activity on Thursday as the 193rd fair opened for business at 7 a.m. Festivities will run through Aug. 20.
The fair is dubbed the oldest continuous running agricultural fair in North America, and Smith is hoping more than 100,000 people will pass through the gates this year.
Behind the harness racing grandstand, some African and Asian elephants along with other jungle animals drew a small yet enthusiastic crowd.
“We like to give children and families the opportunity to do something that they don’t often get to do, like see an elephant up close,” said animal trainer Justin Loomis, who is running one tiger and elephant show per day on the weekdays and two shows per day on weekends.
A Bengal and Siberian tiger also came out to play for a bit, wrestling with each other in their cages.
Loomis said elephant rides will be offered for $2 more:
Crowds enjoy summer fun at Middlesex County Fair

Amy Boslet, 5, of Edison, tries to toss one in for the win as mom Tammy (l), aunt Sherry Dixit of East Brunswick and dad Rich look on during the Middlesex County Fair in East Brunswick Aug.6.

EAST BRUNSWICK — Eyes gazing into the flashing lights of fair rides above, smiles slathered in cotton candy, and faces bright with the glow of summer were all found yet again at the Middlesex County Fairgrounds last week.
A mix of traditional Americana classics and new attractions drew the public to the 73rd annual fair. Residents could be on the Ferris wheel one moment, then be wowed by live grizzly bears and a fire juggler the next.
“We like to think it is one of the most significant opportunities to bring together people from all over Middlesex County to a common event that celebrates our agricultural heritage,” fair coordinator Dan Mulcahey said.
Not only is the fair a place for the community to gather for entertainment, rides, and of course those treats that simply taste sweeter at the fair, but it is also an opportunity to promote education and agriculture.
“We have focused on nurturing the traditional parts of the fair that make it unique to any other event in the county, [including] the home arts competition, crafts demonstrations, 4-H, fruits/vegetables/livestock [and] vintage farming equipment,” Mulcahey said.
There is one major difference setting the Middlesex County Fair apart from the other fairs of central Jersey.
“Few people realize we are a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization run by volunteers,” Mulcahey explained.
This drastically changed the financial dynamic, he said.
“Many of these fairs, however, are run by the county government; whereas, we are strictly a volunteer operation that derives its funding from operation of the annual fair,” he said, noting that profits are then used for the following year. “The Middlesex County FairAssociation also donates thousands of dollars each year to local charities that support our mission of promoting agriculture, education and community.”read more:

Vet Working To Move Rosie The Oklahoma Elephant To Maine

Picture of Rosie the elephant. [Dr. Jim Laurita]

Russell Hulstine,

Aug 11, 2011

HUGO, Oklahoma -- A veterinarian in the state of Maine wants to adopt a retired circus elephant who now lives in Hugo, Oklahoma and move the elephant to Maine.
The vet and one-time elephant trainer Dr. Jim Laurita has created a nonprofit group to raise money so he can move Rosie from Hugo, Oklahoma to Hope, Maine.
Dr. Laurita says Rosie is well-cared for but unable to receive the special treatment she need for leg and muscle injuries.
Hope is located east of Augusta and south of Bangor near the coast of Maine.
"Rosie is an elephant that I worked with in the circus when I was 18," says Jim Laurita. "I've known her a long time."
Now 42, Rosie is retired from the circus and living at the Endangered Ark Foundation in far southern Oklahoma.
Maine's climate is not a concern, Dr. Laurita notes.
"Elephants are very adaptable and do well in any climate as long as they can get out of the heat. Overheating is the greatest concern with big animals," said Dr. Jim Laurita.
Larita's nonprofit organization, Hope Elephants, still needs local, state, and federal permits but hopes to raise funds, build a barn, and move Rosie in by the end of the summer.

Oregon's lax amusement ride safety regulations draw attention

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Is reality TV turning us into sideshow voyeurs?
JoAnna Wogulis/Marriage & Family

Santa Ynez Valley News, Solvang,CA

August 11, 2011
Like many others, I have to confess to watching some of those lame reality shows on TV. I'm not only talking about the ones on primetime networks, but also those found on cable stations. What this so-called educational programming shows us is some of the worst behavioral dysfunctions known to humanity. It is truly a TV sideshow.
Most of you probably haven't experienced a true sideshow, unless you ran across one in a small-town circus or carnival, but I remember them. Many, many years ago, when I was quite young, my parents took me to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at Madison Square Garden in New York City. We went each year and you can just imagine what that kind of extravaganza meant to a young child.
The glitz and glamour and daring-do were all there, but the thing that I could not forget was freak show, as it was known then. You don't hear that word "freak" used very often these days and when it is spoken it is meant to deride or demean someone. Those people who were on exhibit at these sideshows were truly demeaned and humiliated, but for some of them, it was one of the only ways they could earn a living. For a young child, they were both fascinating and frightening.
There was no such thing as "politically correct" in those days, so included in the show were the fat lady, the "midgets," the bearded lady, more:

Circus Vargas: A show for the whole family

Aug 10, 2011

By Camille Bounds

From The Gilroy Dispatch

Circus Vargas IS circus.

If you want to get the feel and flavor of what a real circus is all about, Circus Vargas is the ticket with a modern splash.Created from a dream of Clifford E. Vargas in 1969, Circus Vargas has evolved to a more modern species with new, forward-looking owners, while still holding onto the thread that makes it a true old-fashioned circus.
The key word for this whole production is friendliness. From the time you enter the modern big blue top to being seated, all staff are relaxed, helpful, pleasant and - interestingly enough - mostly related to one another. This is a REAL family circus, where almost everyone belongs to the family, from the performers to the ushers, to the ticket and concession sellers. There is a relaxed and laid-back feeling that permeates the whole area, while still giving off the anticipation of the circus.
To my delight, this is an intimate, one-ring circus. I usually go bonkers trying to keep track of three rings and, best of all, this is a completely vegetarian presentation. There is not even a pampered poodle in sight. (What a relief. I have always been uncomfortable watching elephants, lions and tigers doing things they really do not want to do.)
Circus Vargas embraces the idea that the circus is really for kids. It delights little ones more than its counterparts that present circuses on different levels. This is the most kid-friendly traveling circus anywhere. It involves toddlers to teens, giving them the thrill of a lifetime when actually participating in the fun and fantasy. With a little good-natured prodding, adults are also incorporated in an amusing section that entertains without anyone losing his or her dignity.
All the performers seem to enjoy themselves and there is a joie de vie in their presentation. Hitting their mark is important, but it seems more important to have fun while getting there. They fly, they dance, they spin, they balance stuff and they spoof. Their one talented clown doesn't waste time. He gets his job done to the delight of the audience. And where else are you going to find an endearing African-American ringmaster with glasses who mans a set of drums for that extra beat. (Utterly charming.)
Circus Vargas may not be as bombastic and glittery as some of its counterparts, but it sure entertains. Best of all, you leave that big top with a good, relaxed feeling that all is right with the world. In this day and age that's worth the price of admission.
Circus Vargas
- Where: Flea Market on Berryessa Road, San Jose
- Through: Aug. 15
- Tickets: $15-$60
- Details: 877-GOTFUN1 or 877-4768-3861 or visit


Has the world gone nuts???



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Longtime magician receives recognition certificate

TOM PERSELL By Flo Lynn correspondent
Aug 09, 2011
In the world of sleight of hand and circuses, Tom Persell, of Massillon, is a standout.
The 74-year-old retired employee of Republic Engineered Products ICD received his 35-year recognition certificate in June from the International Brotherhood of Magicians, acknowledging his membership in the Order of Merlin Shield during the brotherhood’s national convention. Unfortunately, Tom was unable to attend, and he received his certificate by mail.
He has performed magic since 1976 at circuses and special occasions, but now limits his magic talent to special occasions. He recalls the eight shows that he built illusions for to accommodate a Kent State University Stark Campus theater series.
“I miss doing those shows, especially building the illusion props,” Tom says wistfully, but perks up when he talks about his present creation, the Wilson Bros. Miniature Circus, a huge undertaking he started in February 2002.
Rarely can he display the entire circus, which fills a table space of 16 feet by 40 feet. The next date that it will be on full display will be Nov. 18, 19 and 20 during the Cleveland IX Center’s Christmas Connection.
But Wilson Bros. is built so that Tom can display portions of it and still give the visitor an awe-inspiring, behind-the-scenes look. Most every figurine is of an original design, hand-carved, hand-painted, and hand-constructed. Tom himself stands in miniature size among his circus characters.
Visitors to Tom’s circus are amazed at how complete the circus is — the elephants at feed time, the chefs preparing meals for circus members, big-top customers seated in the bleachers — it’s all there.
Tom started out at “around 7 or 8” years of age making model airplanes and was content with that until he saw a miniature medicine show and was immediately mesmerized by the detail work. That started him on the trail that rose from model airplanes to circus layouts over the years.
Tom takes his circus on out-of-town trips with the back of his van loaded with gently and safely protected circus components packed in small boxes. It takes three days to set up the entire circus; one can imagine how many boxes it takes to haul the circus around.
In April 2010, while heading home to Massillon following a national circus builders’ convention in Texas, Tom was involved in a one-car accident that destroyed some of his circus and damaged other pieces. When he got home, he immediately took inventory of the damage and began building it back to full strength, a project now more:
'Fairs are hugely important'

Annual event is a celebration of agriculture, husbandry

David Kerns prepares to power-wash the Expowheel ferris wheel at the fairgrounds on Monday. Workers prepared for the Tuesday, August 9 opening of the Augusta County Fair at Expoland in Fishersville on Monday, August 8, 2011.

Aug. 9, 2011

Pat Jarrett/The News Leader

FISHERSVILLE — The day began with a whimper for Ellen Shaver Shank as the Augusta County Fair board member dragged herself out of bed in time to open the Expo grounds gate at 4:15 a.m.
But it ended with a bang, as she and hundreds of others looked skyward for the fireworks at 9 p.m."I believe in the fair," said Shaver Shank, who does everything from administrative tasks to handing out event schedules.More than $100,000 in expenses, months of planning, and thousands of hours of preparation work by hundreds of volunteers culminated on Tuesday when the doors opened for the 17th annual Augusta County Fair."We begin planning for the next fair a week after the fair ends," Shaver Shank said. "There are so many details it boggles your mind, but the community comes together to make it happen."Although the fair has changed over the years — it now offers helicopter rides, laser tag, wine tastings and a circus show — it's as important for its celebration of agriculture and husbandry today as it ever more:

Spring Grove was circus' first sell out this year

Hula-hooping may seem like child's play, but this circus performer was able to swing 24 hula-hoops at a time.

By Marlene DeschlerCommunity Reporter


The old-fashioned tradition of a circus was revived in Spring Grove last Wednesday when the Culpepper and Merriweather Circus came to town for the day.
In the morning, the public was invited to see the big top go up. The circus was ahead of schedule and the big top went up earlier than planned, but those stopping by the circus grounds were instead treated to an inside look at the circus.
They were given a tour that included an up-close look at the jungle cats and then had the special privilege of sitting in on a training class of an upcoming act. The evening of the circus arrived with perfect weather and great attendance by people of all ages.
Families For Education (FFE) sponsored the event and FFE board member Amy Gross said the organization raised $2,978. "These proceeds will benefit the Spring Grove Public School, our teachers and students!" Gross explained.
There were 606 people at the 5 p.m. show and 481 people at the 7:30 p.m. show, for a total of 1,087 people who came to see the circus!
Gross added, "The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus commented that it is rare to see a sell-out on advanced adult ticket sales. Spring Grove did just that! This was the first sellout for Culpepper and Merriweather in over 120 cities this year."
"Families For Education would like to thank the amazing residents of Spring Grove as well as those from surrounding communities for making the event a huge success. We could not have done it without you," Gross summed up.
"We have received many great comments from the community and look forward to doing more family fun events in the near future."

80th Tanana Valley State Fair gets under way

Fair-goers take a turn on the Cliffhanger ride during the opening day of the 80th Tanana Valley State Fair Friday afternoon, August 5, 2011.

Eric Engman/News-Minerby Staff Report Fairbanks Daily News Miner

Aug 06, 2011

FAIRBANKS - The gates opened Friday at noon for the 80th edition of the Tanana Valley State Fair, and the rain held off.
Today is BP Kids' Day. Children under 13 get in to the fair for free until 7 p.m. Activities on tap include a bubble gum blowing contest, racing pigs, a freight dog pull and a backhoe derby.For more information, visit Read more:

Circus cited by USDA

Tina McGoldrick and daughter Emerson, 2, of Meriden have a front row seat on one of two elephants providing rides before the show at the Cole Bros. Circus in downtown Meriden Monday afternoon June 27, 2011. Rei Heitzenrater, 3, of Meriden, bottom right, observes an elephant for the first time. For the second straight year, the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars came to the downtown Hub site in early summer, with thousands of people attending. And everything seemed to run smoothly both times.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

By Dan Brechlin, Record-Journal staff Record-Journal

MERIDEN - For the second straight year, the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars came to the downtown Hub site in early summer, with thousands of people attending. And everything seemed to run smoothly both times.
However, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official said there were problems, and they need to be corrected.
The circus was cited twice for issues involving the handling of elephants during its June 27-29 visit. The alleged violations were detailed in a report by USDA medical veterinary officer and inspector Paula S. Glaude. The department performs random and routine investigations of circus conditions.
The circus was ordered to address the issues immediately, according to the report, lest there be further action.
The report said the circus, officially licensed as the Carson & Barnes Circus, failed to "handle the animals so that there is minimal risk of harm to the animal and public."
"On 6/27/11 the Cole Bros. Circus was set up on a property that was bordered on all sides by busy city streets," Glaude wrote in the report, referring to East Main, Pratt, State, and Mill streets. "The parking area was not surrounded by any fence and members of the public were able to walk through and enter the parking lot while 2 of the elephants were being bathed."read more:

Nearly 1,300 area fans turn out to view circus


Aurora -- Driving thousands of miles every year and putting on about 200 performances is taxing, but some performers for the Kelly Miller Circus say seeing the smiling faces on adults' and children's faces is well worth the stress.
The circus made one of its many annual United States stops in Aurora on Aug. 3 as a fundraiser for W.K. Ricksecker Masonic Lodge, and nearly 1,300 attended the two performances.Despite clouds and occasion light showers, its presence on Ballfields 1 and 2 stirred up much excitement for residents.excitement for residents.

Two performances were presented in the late afternoon and early evening in the 1,500-seat "big top" tent, which was erected that morning in slightly more than an hour.
"I thought the circus was fantastic," said Masonic leader Tony Marotta, who was in charge of its local organizing. "I heard many comments that it was far beyond what people expected."
Marotta, who reported nearly 1,300 people watched the two shows, said he hopes the Masonic Lodge can bring the circus back next year, and if so, that even more people will turn out.

The fair is open

Cheboygan Daily Tribune

Posted Aug 09, 2011

Zac Britton.

The Skerbeck Brothers’ amusement park rides were popular, the Kentucky Headhunters rocked the Grandstand, the Family Fun Day events were wrapping up and the livestock competitions were in full swing Monday at the Cheboygan, MI County Fairgrounds.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Lunch, anyone?

Several of us are planning a casual get together on a monthly basis, Pete Adams' letter is attached along with the details.I would like to emphasis that the day is the 3rd Friday of the month so it will NOT conflict with other monthly events: Bob's Train, Showfolks Saturday Socials, Ladies Lunch at the train, et cetera.

We are not competing with the other events, this is just another chance to hang out.

The Lockwood Diner is on University, just east of Lockwood Ridge and located in a little shopping plaza. The plaza is opposite Auto Zone and Big Lots.The diner is in the same complex as the Butcher's Block, the well-known custom butcher shop.- Pete, Don and I are spreading the word, several folks might be getting duplicate mailings from our various contact lists.


P.S. My fault -the diner is east of LOCKWOOD on 17th Street, NOT UNIVERSITY -What do you expect from me? I've only been here 2 years. ha ha
Demolition Derby highlight Sunday at St. Lawrence County Fair

Crash and destroy: The whole point is to wreck as many cars on the track as possible


Drivers try to keep their overheating cars going Sunday during the demolition derby at the Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair.


GOUVERNEUR — A demolition derby goes something like this:
Start the engine and get it to idle high. Put the car in reverse and plow it into another car’s rear end. The accordion effect is preferable, meaning the impact is strong enough to send the struck car’s rear end in folds all the way to the back seat. Throw in some blown tires, overheated engines, burst radiators and the roar of an adoring crowd and the demolition derby is complete.
And, at Sunday’s finale to the annual Gouverneur & St. Lawrence County Fair here, successful. Hundreds of demolition derby enthusiasts jammed the fairground grandstand to see more than 60 drivers have it out nine cars at a time inside a 150-foot-by-40-foot sand-banked section of track.
Derby fans made no bones about it. This was no place for finesse and politeness. These stripped-down $400 junkers were making their final appearance as moving vehicles, so they might as well destroy them.
“Smashing cars,” said Matthew A. Moncrief, of Ogdensburg. “It’s good entertainment.”
Richard J. Finley of Gouverneur is a veteran derby contestant. On Sunday, he chose to watch.
No surprise what he likes.
“I look for more hits,” Mr. Finley said.
That philosophy was shared by the drivers as they prepared their cars in the track infield before the race.
James R. Mitchell, 34, a mechanic from Rensselaer Falls, was securing his lime green 1986 Mercury Grand Marquis sedan’s hood and trunk with wire to the bumpers when asked to explain his take on the meaning of “derbying.”
It has never more at:
Circus thrills Kelleys Island


Published: 8/9/2011
Handler Jason King directs his elephants before the audience on Kelleys Island during the Kelly Miller Circus’s annual visit to the community surrounded by Lake Erie.


KELLEYS ISLAND, Ohio -- Every year, performers of the Kelly Miller Circus await their annual visit to Kelleys Island with great anticipation. And that feeling for those living on the small tourist island is always reciprocated.

Marcelino Perez hangs inflatable toys before the circus opens for patrons. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH

Since 2004, the Kelly Miller Circus has been traveling to northwest Ohio, and across Lake Erie via ferry to Kelleys Island to spend two days riding around in golf carts, swimming in the lake, and performing in a packed tent filled with their most responsive crowd of the season.
Case in point: A welcoming party of about 200 gathered Sunday night as the circus trucks and trailers drove off the boats and onto the island, as the ferries pulled into the dock and cheered as the circus unloaded.
"Everybody treats you so good here," elephant trainer Armando Loyal said. "It makes you feel like a rock star."read more at:


from the Daily

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus elephants walk to Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario on Monday during the animal walk held annually when the circus comes to town. Circus shows are Wednesday through Sunday at the arena. (Thomas R. Cordova/Staff Photographer)

Canadian Hell Drivers at Walthamstow Stadium - Avon Tyres Nostalgia av0ntyres

Uploaded by av0ntyres on Feb 8, 2011
The Avon Tyres Canadian Hell Drivers. You don't get shows like this anymore
'How to Train Your Dragon' Arena Show Will Take Dragons Worldwide

August 8, 2011

Source: THR

by Ethan Anderton

If the DreamWorks Animation adaptation of How to Train Your Dragon, or the forthcoming sequel just don't get you and your family close enough to the fire-breathing action, then you may want to listen up. According to THR, Australian live entertainment group Global Creatures and and their animatronic division The Creature Technology Company are working with DWA on a live arena show that will bring full scale, fire breathing dragons, projections, flying, stunts, circus performers and pyrotechnics. The show has been in the works for five years and will have its world premiere in Melbourne, Australia in March of 2012.After debuting down under, the show will then head over to New Zealand before making its way to the United States in June. Other locations and dates have yet to be determined yet, but the plan is to have it hit many more spots around the world. The companies behind the show also brought the live arena show Walking with Dinosaurs around the world, so they know exactly what they're doing here. In addition, DWA chief creative officer Bill Damaschke says, "the complex animatronics, the cast of eighty including Viking warriors and villagers as well as world-class circus and acrobatic performers, all are quite ambitious." Full scale fire-breathing dragons on stage with a slew of vikings and acrobatic action? Sounds pretty damn great to me. Tickets aren't on sale yet, so keep your ears to the ground for more info on this promising show.
5 Unconventional Jobs With Great Benefits

Jean Folger, provided byInvestopedia

August 8, 2011

Unconventional jobs are those that most people wouldn't think of when choosing a career path. Often reserved for free spirits or for those who value intrinsic rewards above financial pay-offs, these alternative vocations can provide the opportunity for people to make a living doing what they love. While some unusual jobs are, umm, unappealing, to say the least (such as a Bat Guano Collector or Flatulence Analyst), others offer heaps of perks, though not always the financial kind. Here is a look at five of these unconventional careers with great benefits.
Circus ArtistCircus artists are trained professionals who perform with resident or touring shows. Generally, a circus artist specializes in a specific talent, such as acrobat or trapeze artist, aerialist, trampolinist or dancer. Depending on the troupe, talented circus artists can pull in moderate six figure salaries.

The famed Cirque Do Soleil company, for example, offers its touring performers competitive compensation and vacation policies, performance bonuses, return transportation home once per year, lodging and transportation between cities, medical, dental, disability and life insurance coverage, gourmet buffet-style meals most days and free tickets to any Cirque Du Soleil show. Circus artists often have the added benefit of traveling the world and meeting interesting people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. Read more:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Circus Smirkus 2011


Uploaded by LaneInConn on Aug 7, 2011

This small but exuberant New England touring group typifies the growing American youth circus movement. As portrayed by Lane Talburt, Circus Smirkus offers youngsters from 10 to 18 the opportunity to reinvent themselves for the summer and, hopefully, for their future careers.


1941--Ringling "Garbage" Joint

Circus Comes to Seaville Aug. 8 and 9
The Ocean City Exchange Club presents two shows daily.

By Stuart Sirott
August 7, 2011
The Ocean City Exchange Club is bringing the Cole Brothers Circus to Route 9 in Seaville for two shows daily (4:30 and 7:30 p.m.) Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 8 and 9.

The circus grounds are at mile marker 24 on Route 9 in the Seaville section of Upper Township (1/2 mile north of Cedar Square Mall). The Cole Brothers Circus is billed as the largest traveling circus under the big top in the world (see history of the circus).

Proceeds from the circus benefit the Oceean City Exchange Club's various charities. The club raises money for student scholarships, community projects and the national goal of preventing of child abuse.

Tickets are available at: Coastal Realty, 330 Atlantic Ave. Ocean City, 609-399-3889; Ulmer's Appliance 3130 Asbury Ave., Ocean City; and Tomorrow's World, Tuckahoe Road, Marmora.

Tickets for children under 13 are free. Adult general admission tickets are $14. Reserve and VIP tickets are available for additional cost. For questions or additional information about the circus, see their website





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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Every day a circus day for Jack Ryan

Instead of running away to join the circus, he got into the act by becoming a publicist and writer. He took over publicity chores for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey and inherited the enviable task of promoting Gunther Gebel-Williams, the legendary wild animal trainer on his 1969 American debut.

But Ryan's biggest claim to fame came not from an act, but from his words.

In search of a line to conclude a souvenir program, Ryan penned a catchy phrase that still resonates today at the climax of circus acts around the world: "May all your days be circus days."

Those seven simple words catapulted Ryan into circus folklore forever.

"I wanted to say something new and never found anything better," said Ryan, 72, who moved to Pensacola seven years ago from California.

Among legends

Ryan's words and his name now will forever be a part of circus history. Last month he was inducted into the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, Ind., the headquarters for several famous circuses, dubbed the "circus capital of the world."

The enshrinement puts him in rare company. Only 169 people have been inducted in the prestigious Circus HOF, including Emmett Kelly, the world's greatest clown, renowned animal trainer Gebel-Williams, and of course, P.T. Barnum and Clyde Beatty.

"I'm right up there with the real greats of the circus," Ryan said.

The pull of the circus was too hard to ignore for the young writer, who had fond memories of piling into his father's green Studebaker for a three-hour drive from McComb, Miss., to the circus in New Orleans.

Living a dream

After graduating from Millsaps College with a degree in English, Ryan spent some time working in public relations in New York on Broadway until he eventually got some circus accounts on his resume.

When he got the call from the Greatest Show on Earth, he didn't miss the chance to join the traveling circus.

From coast to coast, in the City of Angels to the Big Apple, he lived out his childhood dream of traveling with the circus and bringing smiles to the faces of children and adults.

"When I heard the sound of the calliope, I couldn't refuse," Ryan said. "The circus was the important thing I did. I loved the circus all my life."

Violence prompts new rules for minors at State Fair

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Associated Press photo Extra security was brought on and a curfew for youth was set at the Wisconsin State Fair on Friday because of the violent attacks Thursday. Fair goers under the age of 18 must now be accompanied by an adult into the fair after 5 p.m.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Saturday, August 6, 2011

MILWAUKEE — Violence on the opening night of the Wisconsin State Fair by rampaging youths prompted extraordinary measures Friday: Gov. Scott Walker called in the State Patrol and fair officials implemented new rules to keep unattended minors off the grounds at night. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn, meanwhile, vowed Friday to beef up policing at this weekend's public events around the city to limit any chance of more violence. The trouble at the fair started around 7 p.m. Thursday in the Midway area, where the amusement rides are, when fights broke out among black youths, said Tom Struebing, chief of the State Fair police. Those fights did not appear to be racially motivated, but witnesses said later attacks were. Then, around closing time at 11 p.m., witnesses told the Journal Sentinel, dozens to hundreds of black youths attacked white people as they left the fair, punching and kicking people, and shaking and pounding on vehicles. At least 31 people were arrested — many for disorderly conduct —in connection with the series of incidents on the fairgrounds and on the streets outside. At least 11 people, seven of them police officers, were injured, officials said. Twenty-four people were arrested within the fairgrounds by State Fair police. West Allis police arrested seven people, five of them juveniles, outside the fairgrounds.
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Appeal dismissed in Lucy the elephant case

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Lucy the elephant. (Edmonton Sun/ File)
By Michelle Thompson,City Hall Bureau

Thursday, August 4, 2011
Court appeal over Lucy the elephant has been dismissed. The Alberta Court of Appeal is upholding an earlier court decision to dismiss legal action against the city over the Valley Zoo animal, the city said Thursday. A lawsuit was launched against the city by animal rights groups like PETA and Zoocheck, but the appeal court judges ruled the suit was inappropriate. “We are very pleased, but not surprised, that the Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of the City of Edmonton,” said lawyer Steven Phipps, who represented the city. “The majority of the judges are very clear that the applicants’ attempt to circumvent the appropriate regulatory authorities is not proper.” Controversy over the Asian elephant’s fate has been brewing for years. Animal rights activists have been calling for Lucy to be moved to a U.S. sanctuary, while zoo officials argued she was safer at the Edmonton Valley Zoo. Activists launched their lawsuit in February 2010. It was dismissed later that year. Phipps maintains that Lucy is being well looked after. “There are many independent parties monitoring Lucy’s care. They confirm her care needs are being met,” he said. “With this ruling, it’s now time to move forward and allow the exceptional people who work at the Edmonton Valley Zoo to focus on caring for Lucy and all of the other animals in its care.” Meanwhile, PETA said Thursday in a news release that it will continue its battle “to get Lucy removed from her lonely, neglectful imprisonment ...”
Editorial: Lucy the elephant and the silly circus 30

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Lucy the elephant with zookeeper Brenda McComb at Edmonton's Valley Zoo on Monday, February 23, 2009.


Friday, August 5, 2011

In a ruling about Lucy the elephant Thursday, Alberta's top court justifiably swatted strident animal rights activists like the pests they are. But it would be too much to hope that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Zoocheck Canada will slink away with their tails between their legs. They may decide to pursue the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, which would be a shame as well as a waste of judicial resources. Alarmist animal rights advocates, who have claimed for years that Lucy is being improperly cared for at Edmonton's Valley Zoo, just can't take no for an answer. We've lost track of all the silly stunts pulled over the years to try to convince the city to move Lucy to warmer climes in the U.S. Money has been offered, both by retired game show host Bob Barker and former Oiler Georges Laraque. There have been protests, Valentine's Day cards urging councillors to "have a heart for Lucy," petitions, deliveries of "elephant dung" cookies (actually vegan squares) to city hall and pleas from actor William Shatner. Even celebrated defence lawyer Clayton Ruby jumped into the fray. Thankfully, the Alberta Court of Appeal set them straight in a two-one decision Thursday, agreeing with a 2010 lower court ruling that concluded the proceedings amounted to an abuse of process. Our courts shouldn't be expected to take over animal husbandry when there are other public bodies with that responsibility, Justices Frans Slatter and Peter Costigan wrote in their majority decision. There is no indication that the Edmonton Humane Society and other such groups responsible for animal welfare are unable to do their jobs, the judges added. Lucy isn't in a circus, but she might as well be, considering what's gone on for so many years. It's time this picayune preoccupation with an aging pachyderm ended. The city has already decided 36-year-old Lucy will be our last elephant. Let her age in place and die among friends.
Vendors at the Wisconsin Valley Fair dodge recession

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Volunteers Rene Daniels, left, of Kronenwetter, and Terri Kischel of Wausau serve customers during Friday at the Wisconsin Valley Fair at Marathon Park in Wausau. / Xai Kha/Wausau Daily Herald

Written by

Jake Miller

Wausau Daily Herald

Aug. 6, 2011

Ed Tweedle and his 1972 corn-dog trailer haven't missed a Wisconsin Valley Fair in 35 years for one reason:

"They eat here," the 83-year-old said Friday. "They come down the midway with an elephant ear in one hand, a soda in the other and a corn dog in their pocket."

That love affair with foods found mostly either on sticks, deep-fried, or both, is one reason vendors at the fair have dodged much of the recession.

Up and down the rows of food trailers inside Marathon Park, sales this year were up for vendors compared to 2010. But the recession never really took hold inside the gates of summer fairs, they said.

"No, I don't think there is any recession here," said Tweedle, who travels from North Carolina each year to sell his hand-battered corn dogs.

Maria Doepke of Ringle is a fairgoer who planned Friday to spend money on the classics, such as corn dogs and cheese curds. While she doesn't set a budget, having three children can make the fair pricey, especially when buying food.

"Every year, the prices go up," she said.

Dennis Maxson, who works every year at the Wausau Breakfast Optimist Club trailer serving cheese curds, said sales appear to be up compared to last year. He said it's likely to get even busier this weekend.

"They're saving up for the fair -- those who have to watch their finances," Maxson said.

Of course, not every vendor is peddling the classics, and sales have been mixed.

Michael Loomis has sold cheesecake on a stick for the past 10 to 12 years during the fair. It's only a part-time gig, but he has experienced the ups and downs of the economy.

But even when sales slump a little bit, fair food still is a pretty sure bet -- especially a sweet piece of cheesecake.

"It's down a little bit, but we're doing quite well," he said.