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Saturday, August 20, 2011


Clyde Beatty Cole Bros Cannon Elephants Aug 7, 1992 Shea Stadium

Circus Vargas and Indie Film

Part of: To Live and Write in LA

Author: LeoOfMars — Published: Aug 19, 2011
Circus Vargas came through town a while back. It had been years since we'd been to the circus so my wife and I decided to go. This is not a big "sports arena" circus like Ringling Brothers. Circus Vargas sets up old fashioned big top tents in a mall parking lot, sometimes has a circus parade, involves the local community and is gone in a few days. (You can see Circus Vargas in action in the 20th Century Fox production Water for Elephants.)
As I was getting the tickets - I had a special deal from - I noticed that the lady in the ticket booth was made up to the max. She didn't quite know what to do with the Goldstar discount so she called someone. When her supervisor arrived, again I saw more makeup than you find in Macy's. I chalked this up to the general weirdness of the world; kind of like the clerks at Virgin Records who dress up like they're rock stars.

It wasn't till the show was underway that I understood what the layers of Lancome were all about, and why those who work in indie film can take a cue from Vargas.
The ticket sellers were also in the show. And not once, but several times.
If you go to Circus Vargas and watch closely, you'll see that the star of one act has a minor role to play in another. You'll see that everyone is in the chorus line and that the cast includes entire families. The kids, too. Everyone does whatever needs to be done to make the show a success. No union restrictions on jobs at this circus.
You may be thinking, "Last time I worked on a video, it was a circus", but take these hints from Circus Vargas anyway. Work with multi-talented people who are dedicated to getting your project done, not to feeding their egos. While you're on location, involve local people (most everyone can act with good direction). Plan to set-up, do your production, and move on quickly. And, most importantly, treat everyone like family.You're the ringmaster. Make your next production the greatest show on earth!Read more:

World's largest traditional tent circus coming to Keokuk for 2 shows Sept. 2

Friday, August 19, 2011
For the Daily Gate City
In America today, there remains only one big-tented circus, which manages to maintain a traditionally demanding road schedule.
It’s the all new 75th edition of the Carson & Barnes Circus, bringing almost 100 performers and animals to the old Keokuk Middle School grounds at 14th and Main streets in Keokuk on Friday, Sept. 2, with shows at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m.
The Keokuk Kiwanis Club will use the event as a fundraiser to support many of its local community projects. In 2011, almost $500,000 dollars was raised for local hosts.
Carson & Barnes Circus travels with its city-block-long tent to some 200 towns and cities each 10-month season. Emphasis this year is on a new concept in circus presentation, which blends more than eight decades of circus tradition and family ownership with new acts and up-close audience viewing.
While other circuses have reduced their size and schedule, Carson & Barnes is still the only organization capable of moving such a huge show to a new site nearly every day, seven days a more:

Skipping work is a way of life for one 'Cirque' star

Adrienn Banhegyi , a performer with 'Quidam,' demonstrates her jump-roping skills near downtown Baltimore. (Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil / August 19, 2011)

By Carolyn Kelemen

August 19, 2011

Rope-skipper extraordinaire Adrienn Banhegyi did not run away to join the circus. Cirque du Soleil came to her.
The 27-year-old, Hungarian-born champion jump-roper was last seen in the Cirque du Soleil production of "Wintuk" in New York City. Locals can look for her as a headliner in the latest traveling edition, "Quidam," coming to Baltimore's 1st Mariner Arena Aug. 24 to 28.
Banhegyi will be taking the part in the show of another champion rope-jumper, who just happens to be her sister.
"I am replacing my sister, who is taking a break from performing," said the petite performer.
During a special preview in Baltimore, Banhegyi demonstrated her skipping talent for local reporters, encouraging each to take a turn at jumping with her.
The stunt made the point that perfect jump-ropers may be born rather than more:,0,5277185.story

Young and old excited to experience Marshfield Fair, which opens today

GREG DERR/The Patriot Ledger.

Helping set up the fair’s poultry show, 4-H member Jacob Forrett, 6, of Dighton pushes a wheelbarrow on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011.

By Patrick Ronan The Patriot Ledger

Aug 19, 2011
MARSHFIELD — Denise Coppenrath guided a little red wagon along the outskirts of the Marshfield fairgrounds Thursday morning. The two children she had in tow were wide-eyed, entranced by their surroundings.
Jonny, 3, and Sophia, 1, beheld the sights of towering amusement park rides, multi-colored tents, and a team of workers putting the finishing touches on the 144th annual Marshfield Fair, which opens Friday, Aug. 18, for a 10-day run.
“He is already picking out his favorite rides,” Coppenrath, the children’s aunt, said, nodding toward Jonny.
Fair President Leonard LaForest wasn’t in a wagon Thursday, but he identified with the children’s excitement.
“It’s kind of like the culmination you feel on the night before Christmas,” LaForest said. “We’re putting all the last-minute things together, to make sure we have enough of everything and to make sure everything fits.”
LaForest said this year’s advance ticket sales are comparable to last year’s. The turnout is always heavily influenced by the weather, which put a dent in last year’s numbers.
As of Thursday night, the National Weather Service was predicting mostly sunny skies this weekend, with high temperatures in the low to mid-80s.
Several vendors arrived Thursday to set up their tents and booths.
This is the sixth year of working the fair for caricature artist Jason Carrier of Warwick, R.I. His craft has taken him to resorts and theme parks. across the country, including Walt Disney World, where he worked for nine years.
Carrier said the Marshfield Fair is among his favorite destinations.
“It’s fantastic,” he said. “It’s a fun fair and it’s really busy, which is good, business-wise.”
Fair organizers are working closely with the Marshfield Police Department to address public safety issues that can accompany large crowds, specifically traffic issues. LaForest said the fair also employs its own security team to mitigate criminal activity.
“The last year few years we’ve been blessed with no real problems,” he said.

Flushing residents watch Lisa the elephant raise the circus tent in Riverview Park Thursday morning

Ryan Garza The Flint Journal

Elephant handler Buckner Young sits with Lisa the elephant after helping raise the big top for the traveling Kelly Miller Circus at Riverview Park in Flushing on Thursday. The circus is in town for two shows Thursday that take place at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. each lasting about two hours.

By Sarah Schuch The Flint Journal

August 18, 2011

FLUSHING, Michigan — The traveling circus doesn't perform until this afternoon, but about 50 local residents got a show of a different kind this morning.
The elephants, camels and tigers were out for people to see, but the special treat was watching Lisa the elephant help pull up the poles on the 6,000-pound circus tent.

Ryan Garza The Flint Journal Jim Staley, of Flushing, and his grandson Owen Perry look at elephants as the Kelly Miller Circus sets up in Riverview Park in Flushing on Thursday.
"We came out to see the elephants. ... We didn't see them raise the tent before," said Ellen Hulet, 69. "How often do we see animals from the jungle. ... I think there is a kid in all of us."
This is the fifth year the Flushing Lions Club has hosted the Kelly Miller Circus in the city. The two shows Thursday take place at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. each lasting about two read more:

Friday, August 19, 2011

ALAINE ZERBINI Circus Comes to Town

POSTED BY: Kelly Choate

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rodney Atkins isn't the only act in town. The circus is bringing old fashioned fun to the Muskingum County Fair.
Circus Host Melody Ramirez said the show features clowns, all kinds of animals and trapeze artists who fly through the air without nets to catch them.

"My favorite part is the cheering and seeing the people's reactions on their faces," said Ramirez. "Kids always tell the truth, so they'll let you know if they like it or not. We've been coming to the fair for about 7 years now, so a lot of the people who come to the show have seen some of our performers grow up, which is a lot of fun."
Ramirez said the circus is becoming a family tradition at the fair. Deborah Smith has been bringing 3-year-old Claire to the circus since she was a baby.

"We come to the fair every year, and since they've had the circus, we make sure we get to come," said Smith. "They usually have a giant snake that you get to pet and the camel rides. She loves the circus, and so do I."

If you missed the circus today, you can catch the next show at 2 PM tomorrow.





AUGUST 10, 2011--PART I

Was able to visit Peru, Ind, Aug.10, and my first stop was Circus City Festival Inc grounds. I had the good fortune to meet Tim Bessignano, Museum & Exhibits VP, who was working in the Wagon Shop. I first spied the Steam Calliope and truck, and Tim confirmedthat this was the steam calliope I had last seen in Aug of 1993, at CHF, also in Peru, Ind. The calliope was acquired , and has been fullly restored, by CCFI. It is operational, and has been converted to propane fuel. I believe that this calliope was on King BrosCircus in 1936.

Tim showed me Cole Bros wagon #18, which has been restored by CCFI. This wagon was on Christy Bros Circus, and wasacquired from the Paul Kelly farm, also in Peru. Photos #5 & 6

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This was the first time I had visited Circus City Festival ficilities, and I did not know that they were engaged in any other activities then the Youth Circus and the Circus Parade held in July of each year. The next time you visit Peru, stop at the CCFI building andgrounds, and have Tim Bessignano give you a tour so you can appreciate all the fine work they are doing. Bill Prickett

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Circus comes to Newark, DE this weekend

By Josh

Published: Thursday, August 18, 2011

Elephants, tigers and lots of clowns will take over a field east of Newark this weekend when the Cole Bros. Circus comes to town.The circus, hosted by the service group Wilmington Jaycees, will set up the big tent at the Our Lady of Grace Home at 487 E. Chestnut Hill Road and put on a total of seven shows Friday, Saturday and Sunday.The circus, which began in 1884, has 40 performers and another 80 support staff and puts on hundreds of shows all along the East Coast each year.It has been coming to Newark for more than 20 years, said Marketing Director Mario Vitali.“We usually do different towns every year, but the Wilmington Jaycees keeps asking us to come back because we do good here every year,” Vitali said.

Many crowd favorites will return, including trapeze artists, clowns, a motor show and the human cannonball.However, Vitali said, the approximately 25 animals in the show usually prove to be the most popular act.“Everyone loves the elephants and everyone loves the tigers,” he said.For the first time this year, the public will get the chance to get up close to the elephants and feed them fruit.Those interested can come to the circus at 1 p.m. Friday. The elephants will eat any type of fresh fruit except watermelon, but for the animals’ safety, the fruit must be pre-packaged“We’ve been coming here so long, we wanted to give the residents here something special,” Vitali said.Also new this year is an additional tiger act, a performance by multi-colored cartoon poodles and a demonstration by a woman who can do a one-finger handstand.Show times this weekend are: 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday; 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sunday.Tickets are $19 for adults and $14 for children. They can be purchased at the gate or in advance by calling 1-800-796-5672 or visiting

Upper Canada Village continues to be hub of activity

Jill Hudson, St. Lawrence EMC

Professor Crookshank's Travelling Medicine Show and Carnival Diablo World of Wonders were at the Heritage Cultural Fair at Upper Canada Village on Aug. 6 and 7. Jessica Huether and Scott McClelland brought thrills for kids who dared to enter their lair.

Posted Aug 18, 2011

By Jill Hudsonfrom: www.emcstlawrence.caEMC News -

Upper Canada Village had a lot on last weekend - including the opening of a new discovery centre, a heritage carnival, a mistral comedy troupe and an internationally acclaimed artist. While doing all this, the village maintained its calm traditional setting.
The Discovery Centre for Upper Canada Village and Crysler Heritage Park is now open. This facility is set up prior to entering either Upper Canada Village or Crysler Park and commemorates Canada's early people and the War of 1812. Displays remind visitors of the significance of the battle that secured Canada's freedom as a nation.
"The Upper Canada Village Discovery Centre is the single largest investment in Upper Canada Village since it opened 50 years ago," said Susan Le Clair, the customer service and corporate communications manager for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission.
Jill Hudson, St. Lawrence EMC

Artist Kevin Dodds displayed his work at the Upper Canada Village Heritage Cultural fair on Aug. 6 and 7. He is known for painting heritage nostalgic paintings which have earned the favour of collectors. Dodds will be painting at the village and selling his work in the village gift shop.

Le Clair explained that $13 million paid for the miniature train, the audio on the train, the outdoor presentation at Crysler Farm, the Discovery Centre and gift shop.
The Discovery Centre features new state of the art interactive exhibits that help to tell the fascinating stories about life along the St. Lawrence River.
"You can step through a fog wall into the War of 1812 exhibit and watch an exciting audio-visual show about the importance of the Battle of Crysler's Farm," described Le Clair. "Many authentic artifacts are on display for the first time. And a new "Touch Table" game illustrates the history of the region and the St. Lawrence River during the 20th century including the Seaway & Power Project."
She said the Discovery Centre links the story back to the St. Lawrence River and its changing role - from settlement along the river, the strategic importance of the river, commerce and transportation.
The Travelling Tiltons - the hilarious 1860s minstrel troupe entertained audiences with their comedy, melodrama, singing and lively instrumental music. They stationed themselves so that they could "comically accost" visitors as they entered the heritage carnival. READ MORE:

Circus brings big top fun to Redford

Aug 18, 2011

By Pat Murphy

Observer Staff Writer

Deanna Lee and her 3-year-old daughter, Bethany, were up early Monday, and with good reason. They were among dozens of residents on hand to welcome the Kelly Miller Circus, which made a one-day appearance at Bell Creek Park.We wanted to see them raise the big top,” said Lee.“And I wanted to see the tigers,” said Bethany.The 38-truck circus convoy rolled in shortly after 6:30 a.m.“The crews were like clockwork,” said Jay Johnson, president of the Redford Township Jaycees, which sponsored the show. “Each person had a specific job and by 9 a.m., the elephants were pulling up the big top.”By early Wednesday, the troupe was packed and ready to move to its next performance in Westland.Shows were at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., but people were waiting when the circus arrived. They were welcome to mill about the grounds for much of the day, watching the animals, occasionally chatting with workers and enjoying the atmosphere.Some were experiencing their very first circus, said Doreen Arwood, chair of the Jaycee circus committee, “But for others, it was a family tradition.”Big appetitesEach of the three elephants eats five bales of hay and 30 pounds of grain every day, spokesman Lucky Eddie Straeffer told a group of early risers, and each drinks 30 gallons of water.“Tigers eat 10 pounds of raw meat daily,” he said.Official attendance was 983 people, said Johnson, “And I think everyone had a good time.”Sandy Benson of Livonia certainly had a great time.“I just happened to be driving by and saw the signs,” she said. Later inthe day, she returned with her three daughters, two nieces and a couple youngsters from the neighborhood.“We're glad we did,” she said. “This is fabulous. It has such a local feel. This must have been what circuses were like in the early 1900s — really cool.”For Terry Vanover, a student at Hilbert Middle School, this was his first circus, but certainly not his last. Asked if he would come next year he said, “Definitely. I liked everything, especially the tigers.”It was the third circus for Wendy Anderson and her niece, Ava Moore, who had her face painted. Ava said she enjoyed the clowns and jugglers, but she also liked the tigers. Others enjoyed riding the elephants or camels.The circus was the beginning of National Jaycee Week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big top means bigger bucks for Circus World

Circus World�s Roger the Clown paints a tiger face on Riley Mantermach, 5, of Stevens Point Wednesday afternoon. Brian D. Bridgeford / News Repub


AUGUST 16, 2011

Attendance is down slightly this year at Baraboo's Circus World historic site, but revenue and donations are up substantially, according to the director.

Riley Mantermach, 5, of Stevens Point, gets a big grin from the tiger face Circus World�s Roger the Clown painted on him Wednesday afternoon.
Through the end of July, a tally by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin reports that almost 40,000 people visited Circus World, Executive Director Steve Freese said Wednesday afternoon. That is down about 7.8 percent from 43,300 visitors during the same period of 2010.
However, revenue generated by the visitors is up 10.7 percent, from $484,500 to date in 2010 to $536,000 through July 2011, he said.

Performer Hannah Crist applies the brakes as she approaches the opposite shore during the slide for life over the Baraboo River Wednesday afternoon.

Freese noted that part of the reason for the drop in attendance and rise in revenue is that more visitors are paying for their tickets, rather than using buy one-get-one-free tickets from promotional offers.
People also are buying more food while on the museum grounds (up 10 percent), and sales in the museum shop have risen 13 percent, according to the report.
"When we're getting our visitors here, they're staying longer, enjoying the show and spending more money," Freese said.
Freese said the slow economy is likely one factor behind the drop in attendance. However, because of special events - such as Baraboo National Bank's customer appreciation day or weddings held on the grounds - attendance varies widely from one week to the other in any given year.
"Normally what you have to do is to look at the end of the year, when all the performance aspects are over," he said. "Then it's all balanced out."
Circus World is part of a system of sites operated by the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. They include the H.H. Bennett Studio in Wisconsin, Villa Louis in Prairie du Chien and Old World Wisconsin near Eagle.
The historic sites are generally doing well despite the slow economy, said Steve Lightbourn, marketing director for the society,
"Almost all of them are hitting their revenue numbers, which is surprising," he said. "What we think it is, and what we try to get across to our visitors, is (that) we do provide a good value."
Freese said annual efforts to raise community support for Circus World have gone very well this year.
For example, the Circus of Chefs Gala in June brought in $209,000 - $59,000 more than the goal.
During production of the circus-theme romance film "Water for Elephants" last year, Freese said Circus World provided 15 circus wagons, historic photographs and other support. The museum received about $365,000 for its contributions to the film, which covered costs (including about $155,000 for restoring wagons used as props) and some net income.
Freese encouraged visitors to see the new "Water for Elephants" exhibit in the museum's Deppe Wagon Pavilion. It includes wagons used in the film, pictures Freese took on the set and his video of behind-the scenes activities.
"It is a pretty incredible exhibit," he said.

Laid off police officers invited to free circus show

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

from: KGO-TV, San Francisco

CASAN JOSE, Caif. -- Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey are inviting San Jose police officers who were laid off as a result of budget cuts to bring their families to the HP Pavilion on Thursday for a night out at the circus.
The company is extending an invitation to the discharged officers and their families as a token of appreciation for their service to the Police Department.
In June, 66 officers were dismissed due to San Jose's $115 million budget deficit. It was the first time in the Police Department's history that officers were laid off.
Brian Crawford Scott, the ringmaster and a native of San Jose, will honor the discharged officers with a welcoming speech prior to a 7:30 p.m. performance of the company's new production, "Fully Charged."
The event will kick off with an all access pre-show party at 6:30 p.m.
"Fully Charged" will play at the HP Pavilion through Sunday before moving on to the Cow Palace in Daly City from Sept. 1 through Sept. 5.
Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey will conclude the Bay Area portion of its tour at Oakland's Oracle Arena from Sept. 8 through Sept. 11.

5/19/64 Woman that sews blankets for animals

Laliberte Turns Street Stunts Into Billion-Dollar Circus

Aug. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Guy Laliberte, founder and owner of Cirque du Soleil, discusses the history and growth of the circus. Laliberte speaks with Margaret Brennan Bloomberg Television's "InsideTrack." (Source: Bloomberg)
State Beefing Up Amusement Ride Inspections

Limited Data Makes Dangers Hard to Assess

Official federal and state data on theme park and state fair accidents is almost nonexistent. File photo.

From The Columbia, SC Free Times


Aug 13, 2011

One of the South Carolina State Fair’s major rides — and the subject of numerous You Tube videos — the Polar Express is nothing if not a loud, good time, whirling patrons around a lighted central tower as music blares, lights flash and a siren draws the attention of passersby.
But as recounted in a lawsuit filed July 1 in the Richland County Court of Common Pleas, things went awry on the afternoon of Oct. 12, 2008, when Brenda K. Summers and her husband attempted to board the ride.
According to the complaint filed by Charleston attorney W. Mullins McLeod Jr., Summers tripped and fell on a raised board on the walkway while boarding the ride.
She tried to break her fall by reaching out and steadying herself on the side of the ride; however, as she did so, the handrail on the ride gave way and slammed down, catching her hand and mangling her right ring finger.
“Thinking her finger had been severed, Summers asked an attendant to unlock the bar carefully as she did not want her finger to fall into the ride,” the complaint reads.
Summers was treated for injuries to her right hand, right arm and collarbone.
At the same time Summers’ lawsuit was filed, South Carolina officials were moving to tighten ride inspection standards in the wake of a March miniature train crash in Spartanburg that left the 6-year-old son of a local pastor dead and 28 others — most of them children — injured.
In June, the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office said its investigation found that excessive speed caused the fatal derailment. But a state amusement ride inspector also admitted he’d falsified an inspection report, clearing the train for operation even though it had a dead battery at the time of the inspection.

Rides, Kids Zone starts today at Central Mississippi Fair

Food vendors for the Central Mississippi Fair were parked in front of the Attala County Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon. The second portion of the CMF begins Wednesday with carnival rides and the kids zone.

By Leslie N. Dees

The Star Herald Kosciusko, MS

Wed Aug 17, 2011

KOSCIUSKO — Carnival rides on the mid-way and the smell of funnel cakes will great those in attendance to the Central Mississippi Fair at the Attala County Fairgrounds on Wednesday.
Mitchell Brothers Amusements will be providing the rides for the 102nd event as they have for the past several years.
Kosciusko-Attala Development Corporation Vice President and fair organizer said each year the amusement company brings in an assortment of rides for a variety of ages.
The Kids Zone can be found inside the Attala County Coliseum with activities for children ages 6-12 on Wednesday – Fridayº.
This portion of the fair is being hosted by the Oprah Winfrey Boys and Girls Club.
Iretis Mallett, the club’s program director, said there will be an area for competitions in basketball, jump rope and hula hoop.
A mechanical bull and a bungy jump will highlight the event.
Other groups have planned to set up with activities.
Thursday night, a fair staple – The Corporate Sports Challenge will be held in the riding area where Dickerson Petroleum, Montfort Jones Memorial Hospital, Kosciusko Medical Clinic, Wal-Mart, Swoll’s Gym, Ruff Around the Edges Sawmill, M&F Bank and Britt Barnes Realty Group will compete in a series of organized events for a trophy.
Teams will go through the following events: Ping Pong Push, Rump Shaker Kentucky Derby, Watermelon Relay and Obstacle Course Relay.
Carnival rides continue on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The Fairest of the Fair Pageant will be Friday night at 7 p.m. on the coliseum stage followed by Carthage Jubilee performing at 8 p.m. on the fairgrounds.
Saturday night’s main event will be “Smackdown in K-Town” presented by MS Championship Wrestling.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ringling Bros. - Pittsburgh Deal of the Century

Circus performer has clowned around for more than 20 years


August 17, 2011

Aurora -- Steve Copeland, 27, one of two clowns working with the Kelly Miller Circus, said he's been fascinated by clowns since age 4 when he first watched a TV special about Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' Clown College.
Growing up in South Carolina, he is in his eighth year of clowning for a circus, having spent five years with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey right after high school.
He was in Aurora on Aug. 3, when the KM Circus played two late afternoon/evening shows as a fundraiser for the W.K. Ricksecker Masonic Lodge.
He joked that he wanted a job where no one respects him.
"At age 8, I gave my first performance at church," he said. "Then at 12, I started performing at birthday parties, festivals and carnivals. It was then that I realized what I wanted to do."
He said he was a fairly shy kid and was a "very good" student in school.
"My folks wanted me to go to college," he said. "I got a scholarship and attended for one semester, but then thought 'I have plenty of time to do this; right now I'd rather pursue my dream.'"
He sent a resume to Ringling Bros. and was offered a job even before he graduated from high school. He finally accepted the offer in 2002 after going off to college for that one semester.
After ending his stint with RB&BB, he performed at a theme park in China and tried a few other entertainment jobs before joining with Ryan Combs three years ago to form KM's clown team.
HE SAID HE had worked with Combs at RB&BB.
"I'm more comfortable at a small circus and the pay is better here than at RB&BB," he said. "And I enjoy performing under the tent rather than in large arenas."
He said he enjoys making people laugh, and he plans to stay in the entertainment field. He said if he ever returns to college, he probably will study theater.
"All the traveling we do doesn't bother me," Copeland said. "I prefer traveling the short distances we do each day instead of the long trips we took on a train from one large city to another with RB&BB."
Copeland, who is single, said he knows somebody in just about every state, and keeps in touch with many people he's met via email.
He pulls his camping trailer with a pickup truck from location to location, and enjoys surfing the Internet, reading and exploring the towns the circus visits.
"There are some times when we set up at locations 5 or 6 miles from a small town, and I don't get the opportunity to explore the towns as I'd like to," he noted.
The Kelly Miller Circus is owned by John Ringling North II, the son of John Ringling North, who once owned the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He took over Kelly Miller in 2006.
After the performances in Aurora, KM moved on to Sagamore Hills, Avon and out to the Toledo area. The circus' season usually ends in early November.
Masonic Lodge organizer Tony Marotta said after the shows that the lodge hopes to book the circus for a return to the city next summer.

Cole Bros. Circus brings the big top back to Devon

Aerial ballerina Elena Stefanova.

By Walter Ault,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The circus has been widely known for many years as the Greatest Show on Earth. One reason for that is the incredible variety of entertainment available, with talented people and clever animals doing amazing things. When you visit the circus, you see acts that excite, mesmerize, shock and delight you. And in the end, you leave having a whole new appreciation of the challenges circus performers face, as well as their unsurpassed skill.
You’ll be able to see some of these wonderful acts Wednesday, Aug. 24, and Thursday, Aug. 25, when the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars, billed as the world’s largest circus under the big top, returns to the Devon Horse Show Grounds.

Eric doing his famous chair-balancing act.
The people at Cole Bros. are understandably proud of their entertaining acts. But they are also proud of their history and for keeping alive a great tradition.
Legendary animal trainer Clyde Beatty was a featured performer (and part owner) of Cole Bros. Circus in the 1930s. The most famous circus clown of them all, Emmett Kelly, was on the Cole Bros. roster at one time, as were the Cristiani Family bareback riders. The renowned wire-walking act the Great Wallendas and a young aerialist named Burt Lancaster also appeared in the Cole Bros. tent.
As far as tradition is concerned, while the only other big circus remaining in the U.S., Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, hasn’t used a tent in a long time, Cole Bros. still does — something it has done, according to Cole Bros. marketing director Mario Vitali, for the 127 years of its existence.

The Ponces are the flying trapeze stars of the Cole Bros. Circus, coming to the Devon Horse Show Grounds on Aug. 24. and 25.

“In 1956, John Ringling said the ‘time of the tented circus is over,’” Vitali said in a recent interview, adding that many circuses around that time began downsizing. “Well, we’ve proved him wrong. We’re still a big, three-ring circus and we’re still doing things the old way, under the big top. In fact, seeing that big tent,” Vitali continued, “is a treat for a lot of people.”
So for the eighth straight year, as Vitali pointed out, 40 trucks and RVs, carrying 100 people, 35 to 40 animals and one extremely large tent (seating capacity: 2,300) will be arriving in Devon for an exciting, fun-packed couple of days. It is the continuation of Cole Bros. Circus’ annual trek, which begins in March in DeLand, Fla., heads up to New England, then back down the coast again, ending back in Florida around Thanksgiving.
As always, there will be lots of excitement and plenty of laughs — more than enough, Vitali says, to make anyone’s visit a memorable one, especially if you are a kid, which is just what the people at Cole Bros. love to more:

Elephants at Saginaw's Castle Museum?

Jeff Schrier The Saginaw News

"Under the Big Top" is a new exhibit at The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History, 505 Federal in Saginaw. The centerpiece of the exhibit features a miniature display carved by John Mackay titled "Mighty Small Circus." There are also artifacts and exhibits from Saginaw's own circus history.
Published: Tuesday, August 16, 2011

By Sue White The Saginaw News

Growing up in Newark, N.J., Judy Tierney didn't think her father's hand-carved circus was anything special.
"When you're around it every day, it just becomes part of your life," Tierney said of John MacKay's 1,200-piece display, now on exhibit at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History.
"We just thought everyone had a circus in their house. It seemed natural."
But visitors to "Under the Big Top," which includes the late Mackay's workbench where he worked up to 40 hours on the circus miniatures, will understand Tierney's new appreciation and her eagerness to share it through a traveling exhibit.
"My dad was born in 1901, not far from the circus grounds in Syracuse, New York," she said. "Back then, it was a big deal when the circus came to town — there wasn't a lot of entertainment available — and his father would always take him and his brother to the show

Jeff Schrier The Saginaw News

One display at "Under the Big Top" features artifacts from the Flying Melzoras acrobatic trapeze artists.

It was years later, after moving to Newark and taking a high-stress job with Bell Telephone Laboratories, that Mackay's doctor suggested he take up a hobby.
"He liked to work with wood, though I'm not sure if he had carved before,” she said. “But in 1946, he met a man from the Circus Model Builders and that's when it all came together."
The organization had a "ring," as chapters were called, in Newark, and by 1966, he had finished most of his 28-foot-by-4-foot display.
"But you know how it goes with hobbies; he kept adding more," Tierney said. "I love the stories that go with the scenes. The people in the group really did their research, and my dad would use pictures from the circus to get an accurate feel to it."
One he depicts is a circus wagon that was mired in mud after a heavy rain. The circus people first added another hitch to the wagon, and then, when that didn't work, brought an elephant around to pull it out.
"In the parade, look for George Washington and generals Lee and Grant," she said. "Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody are in the Wild West part. It's all very unique, being in the same scale and hand-carved.
"It's a piece of art."read more:
The circus comes to town: Flushing Lions Club hosts the Kelly Miller Circus in Riverview Park for the fifth year

Elephants charm the patrons in the center ring during the Kelly Miller Circus in Flushing in 2008

. August 16, 2011

By Sarah Schuch The Flint Journal

FLUSHING, Michigan — In a few short days Flushing's Riverview Park will be overtaken by elephants, acrobats and one huge tent.
The Kelly Miller Circus will be in town.
The Flushing Lions Club will be hosting the event for the fifth year on Thursday and Dave Woods, circus chairman, said it gives residents an up close and personal experience.
"The really thing about it is ... you can sit within 15 or 20 feet from the performers. You're practically right on top of it," he said. "I think that's the thing that really blows people apart."
There will be a show at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Riverview Park, 230 S. Cherry St., in downtown Flushing. Each show is about an hour and a half long, Woods said.
Tickets cost $6 for children or $10 for adults if bought before the event. Tickets can be bought at the Flushing Chamber of Commerce office, 133 E. Main St., Main Street Treasures, 118 E. Main St., Flushing A, 200 S. Cherry St., Century 21, 720 E. Main St., Bueche's Food World, 300 W. Main St., and with any Lions Club member.
The circus' box office opens at 10 a.m. Thursday and tickets bought the day of the event increase to $7 for children — 11 or younger — and $15 for adults.
Set up starts about 8:30 a.m. with the tent being raised at 9 a.m. Woods said up is a sight to see and usually hundreds of people show up to watch.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus train passes through SLO

By Joe Johnston

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Train passes through the San Luis Obispo train station on its way to the Bay Area.

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011
The rumor spread quickly: The circus was coming to town!
More specifically, a circus train. Not just belonging to any circus, but the famed Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus — the Greatest Show on Earth. The performers, animals and rest of the cast were on a train heading up the coast and would reportedly make a special stop at the station in San Luis Obispo. Maybe the elephants would be led out of their train car for a walk and water. Or so spread the story. Expected arrival was 3 p.m. But that came and went — and then more time slipped by.
Finally, at 7 p.m., the initial crowd having dwindled to just a couple dozen, a train horn blared, and the silver cars of Barnum & Bailey came into view. People clapped with anticipation.
The engine pulling the long procession went past the station and kept going. Viewers on the Jennifer Street Bridge, armed with cameras, waited for the train to stop and hoped to get a glimpse of a tiger, or a thin man, or a flame eater.
But as quickly as it arrived, the circus rolled on by, and a train horn sounded, signalling there’d be no stop today.
Read more:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Jay Millers Circus Introduction and Preview 2010

Announcing the 2011 N.C. State Fair Concert Lineup


Life's a whirl for young circus star

HULA hoop sensation Americus, 9 is performing her new act now in the Loritz Circus big top at the Alexandra Hotel. Photo: Melissa Gibson

15 Aug, 2011

NINE-year-old hula hooping sensation Americus Wilson is in town touring with the Loritz Circus new production, Out of Africa.The mesmerising show stopper was a 2008 finalist on New Zealand's Got Talent and was soon spotted by Oprah Winfrey researchers who asked her to appear on the show."It was pretty cool; they flew my whole family over there for a few days," she said.Americus said the Oprah show was titled The world's most talented and smartest kids and she was flown from New Zealand, where the Loritz Circus was on tour.Her mother, Jo, said Americus was born in Australia but was introduced by Oprah as a New Zealander.She said the confusion also may have been from her youngest daughter Miley, 3, who was born in New Zealand during the tour."I didn't really mind though," Americus said.Americus said she would perform a new trick in the Out of Africa show called the Lyra."It's a trick with a big metal hoop hanging in the air. I'm not scared of doing it," she said.She said she had been practising her new trick for quite some time and liked to hear the audience's response.

HULA hoop sensation Americus, 9 is performing her new act now in the Loritz Circus big top at the Alexandra Hotel. Photo: Melissa Gibson
Other acts in the Loritz Circus include the Royal Kenyan acrobats who perform rhythmic acrobatic balancing acts.Kenyan acrobat Peter Ngigi said spending the past three years in the circus had been a great experience."I get to travel everywhere. We've mostly toured in Queensland and New Zealand. It's great fun,," he said.The Loritz Circus show Out of Africa performs without caged or exotic animals, with the exception of miniature ponies.Regular performances in the big top can be seen from Wednesday to Sunday next to the Alexandra Hills Hotel until August 21.

Steele's dream fulfilled in circus for 60 years

Tony Steele prepares to soar on the flying trapeze at his Haines City home on Friday. Friday July 22, 2011.Paul Crate / News Chief

By PAULA STUARTNews Chief Correspondent

Sunday, August 14, 2011
HAINES CITY -- Legendary trapeze artist, Tony Steele has decided to make East Polk County his home. Known as one of the best high-fliers in the world, Steele, 75, could have picked anywhere on the globe to live, but said he likes the peace and quite of Polk County and enjoys his central location in Haines City.
"I've worked all over the globe," Steele said. "Vegas, Japan, Germany. I've been on about 40 different shows between Europe and Asia."
At the age of 15 in 1951, Steele left his home in Boston with his mother's blessings to fulfill his dream of being in the circus, which came from watching a Ringling Brothers show.

"I read about an amateur circus in Gainesville, Texas. Instead of a community ball team, they had a community circus. It was a barn filled with circus equipment. The Gil Gray Circus wintered there and I told the owner I did a single trap," Steele said.

Paul Crate / News Chief
Trapeze artist, Tony Steele, strikes a pose mid-air on the flying trapeze at his Hanies City home. Steele, 74, began his career at the age of 15. Friday July 22, 2011.
The circus took in "dreamer" Steele, but only as a "roustabout," giving him jobs like painting wheels on circus trucks and other maintenance duties. Steele continued to perfect his single trapeze act during his breaks, and persistence and his dreaming both paid off.
"Mr. Gray had an act missing in one of the shows, so I filled in. After that, he said I wouldn't be a stagehand anymore," Steele said. "He told me he would give me $100 a week. I told him, I wanted $300 a week and I got it."

Paul Crate / News Chief

Tony Steele looks comfortable walking the high wire even though it is not his specialty. Friday July 22, 2011
After years of flying and styling for audiences across the globe, Steele landed a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records when he became the first trapeze artist to complete 3 1/2 back somersaults to a legs catch while performing in Durango, Mexico, in 1962.


At Prince William County Fair, agriculture shows, clown dunking and rides

From: The Washington Post

By Isaac Arnsdorf,

Published: August 14

It was pouring rain when Beth Sissom and her 15-year-old daughter, Anna, woke up to load 20 bunnies into their truck for the three-hour drive from Millington, Md., to the Prince William County Fair. The deluge so soaked her sweatshirt that she had to leave it in her bathtub.
They had just packed up from another fair in Queen Anne’s County the night before, and Sunday’s contest in Manassas was to be their fourth of the season, with at least as many more planned. Anna started off with one rabbit eight years ago and — you know what they say about bunnies — now has 30, too many to name. After retiring her past winners, this season Anna is counting on a new crop of does, with their nails trimmed and fur brushed, to bring home the blue ribbon.
When they arrived in Manassas — just in time to cage the black, brown and white animals before the judging about 1 p.m. — the skies had mostly cleared, and thousands of people were flocking to the county fairgrounds for Sunday’s half-price family special.
The fair, which calls itself Virginia’s largest, runs through the end of the week and is part of the season of rides, carnivals and agricultural shows across the region, including the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, also this week.
Last year’s family day drew 16,000, said Catherine Clemen, president of the Veterans Farm Club, which sponsors the Prince William fair. But with Sunday’s weather, she said she would be happy to see 10,000. “If it rains like it did this morning I’m going to cry,” she said.PLENTY MORE TO SEE & READ AT:

Circus to bring its big top to Westland Tuesday

Aug 14, 2011

By LeAnne RogersObserver Staff writer

from The Westland, Michigan Observer & Eccentric

The circus — complete with a big top tent, an aerialist, jugglers, clowns and exotic animals — is coming to Westland Tuesday.
Hosted by the Westland Jaycees, the Kelly Miller Circus will take over the parking lot between the Bailey Recreation Center and 18th District Court for performances at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
“The biggest reason we're doing this is as a fund-raiser — 100 percent of the profits will go back into the city. We've waived our management fee,” said Harold Christian, Westland Jaycees Community Development vice president.
Among the intended recipients of Westland Jaycees' fund-raising are scholarships for a male and female Wayne Westland Schools student, donations to the Michigan Humane Society, St. Jude Children's Hospital and cancer awareness programs.
It's been about 20 years since Westland has had this type of event, said Christian, who as Redford Jaycees president ran the circus fund-raiser for that group for seven years.
As it happens, the Kelly Miller Circus will be in Redford for two performances Monday before moving on to Westland for the Tuesday shows. Based in Hugo, Okla., the Kelly Miller Circus has been performing since more:

Totem rises high in Cirque tent

Cirque du Soleil's Totem

from the Toronto Sun

By John Coulbourn ,QMI Agency

Sunday, August 14, 2011

TORONTO - There’s a new Cirque in town, and it’s got Lepage’s fingerprints all over it.
That’s Cirque, as in Cirque du Soleil, the international circus juggernaut that rolled out of Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec in the early ’80s, set on selling its own unique vision of circus entertainment to the world.
And that’s Lepage, as in Robert Lepage, the Quebec-based visionary whose imagination has turned modern theatres into houses of wonder, returning to the Cirque fold on the heels of a successful collaboration in 2004 titled Ka.
This time out, they have come together to create Totem — and for those still considering a trip down to the Port Lands off Cherry Street, where Totem opened last week under the Grande Chapiteau, perhaps what you most need to know is that it aims at nothing less than telling the story of the evolution of mankind.
Of course, it is full of trademark Cirque moments, courtesy of daring young men (and women) on flying trapezes, Russian bars and unicycles, with a coterie of jugglers, acrobats, dancers and, of course, clowns (a rather lacklustre bunch, this time out) thrown in for good more: