Photo courtesy of Don Covington/Big Apple Circus
Big Apple Circus' white "Big Top" as seen in Cunningham Park, Queens, for Memorial Day circus in 2007. The circus is coming to Lake George in July.
from: Lake George Post StarBLAKE JONES
May 17, 2012
LAKE GEORGE -- Construction to turn part of the former Gaslight Village into festival grounds won’t begin until fall, but that doesn’t bother the Big Apple Circus.
The circus will perform 25 shows over two weeks in July and is the first event scheduled for the site, which has been cleared of old structures from its days as an amusement park.
Looking around at the gravel and grass that remain, Big Apple Artistic Director Guillaume Dufresnoy was optimistic.
“It already looks great,” Dufresnoy said Thursday. “We’ve played much worse in our years.”
Big Apple, Warren County and Lake George officials gathered at the future festival grounds to talk about the circus and plans to further improve the 2.5-acre site, which has been renamed the Charles R. Wood Park.
In the short term, some work will be done to prepare for the circus, such as hauling in more crushed stone. But the majority of the construction is scheduled for the fall, when crews will begin installing grass pavers and porous pavement on nearby Westbrook Road.
The project also includes manmade wetlands to collect and treat stormwater before it enters West Brook and Lake George.
Warren County and the village of Lake George, which own the park, won’t make money off the circus’ first appearance — in fact, they have picked up the tab for some of its expenses and site fees — but they do hope that putting the space to use will lead to a multi-year Big Apple contract and make it easier to recruit other events.
“It helps to be able to tell people we can do more than just park cars here,” said Michael Consuelo, executive director of the Lake George Regional Chamber of Commerce, which has a contract with Warren County to recruit special events and conferences to such venues.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said there are talks of a three- to five-year deal with the circus if the July appearance is successful.
The Big Apple tent will be positioned at the south end of the park; a “village” for the traveling crew of performers and stage hands will also be located on-site. Set-up will take four to five days.
This is the first time Big Apple has played in Lake George; the stop has been added to the end of its national tour.
According to Dufresnoy, Big Apple has been a pioneer for 35 years in delivering an intimate, artistic one-ring circus experience. The tent accommodates 1,500, with seats no more than 50 feet from the performance area.
He said the show is authentic and entertaining, and it should appeal to the whole family. Details like original music played by a band and beautiful costumes keep true to the original circus spirit.
The two-hour-and-15-minute performance includes jugglers, magicians, aerialists, an animal trainer, a contortionist and trapeze artists.
Big Apple Circus will offer daily shows from July 14 to 29. Tickets start at $10.