2014 Convention



Saturday, February 11, 2012







Rain could dampen state fair plans tonight
February 10, 2012

Goat just wants some fair food
An adventurous goat interrupts News Channel 8 reporter Chip Osowski's live shot on the opening day of the Florida State Fair.
A look at the man behind the ringmaster

Jason Gibson has been circus production manager for 15 years. / FELD ENTERTAINMENT IMAGE

Written by Josh Davis For Go! Magazine

Feb. 9, 2012

SALISBURY,MD -- Plenty of kids have dreamed of running off with the circus.
It's a fantasy world -- something perfectly within the wheelhouse of an imaginative child. Beyond that, however, there's a certain amount of magic involved in a circus show that often finds a way to transform adults into the wide-eyed optimists they were as small children.
For Production Manager Jason Gibson, that magic is an enormous part of his everyday life.
"I just love it," he said. "We get to meet new people every day, and whether I'm wearing my Ringling Bros. shirt or my Ringling Bros. jacket, people always come up to me and say, 'Oh! You work for Ringling Bros.!' and then they want to ask a million questions. It's definitely not a 9-to-5 job, and it's just so amazing; we're just ordinary people, but we have an extraordinary job. My friends and my old army buddies just shake their heads and say, 'I cannot believe you get to do this!' "
Although many people in Salisbury enjoyed Ringling's stop in town in 2011, Gibson promises an entirely new experience this year.
"This is a different show than what you saw last year in Salisbury," he said. "Barnum Bash is all about the party; It's a big party and it's a lot of energy and a lot of fun. From the second you walk through the door at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center, the party music is going on, and the pre-show -- this is how we roll."
Salisbury audiences will also have the privilege of seeing one of the very first stops on the more:

Kelly Miller Circus comes to Port Isabel

Delayna catches a ride on Lisa, one of Kelly Miller's performing elephants. (Courtesy photo)Special to the Parade


Feb. 10, 2012

The Kelly Miller Bros. Circus, founded during the Great Depression, is marking another milestone this year as it celebrates its 74th anniversary.
The public is invited to step back in time as the Kelly Miller Bros. Circus brings the history and tradition of the old fashioned circus to Port Isabel on Monday, Feb. 13 thanks to the sponsorship of the Museums of Port Isabel. Performances will be at 6 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. at the Laguna Madre Park. The tent raising will begin at 9 a.m.
Advance and General Admission Tickets for the performances are $12 and can be purchased at Port Isabel City Hall, Museums of Port Isabel, Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, South Padre Chamber of Commerce, and the Port Isabel Library.
General admission ticket prices on circus day are $16 at the Circus Box Office.
The circus was founded in 1938 by Obert Miller and his sons, Kelly and Dores; this traditional tented circus has the passing of the millennium and still offers the same great family entertainment it presented in its humble beginnings.
While the show in 1938 was little more than the Miller family, some ponies and a couple of monkeys, they still move about the country – as they do today – in trucks and went through the same routine each day of setting up and giving performances in a new town.
The 2012 season will feature elephants, horses, llamas, camels, clowns, and a host of international circus stars, but each morning the public gets an all-together different kind of show as the circus lot comes to life.
Circus trucks pull onto the lot in the early morning hours, animals are unloaded, stakes are driven and elephants lift the giant big top into the air. Best of all, the public is welcomed to watch this entire spectacle free of charge.
In fact, after the first of the four massive main poles that support the big top are set in place, the public is invited to step into the tent and see men and beasts complete their work. A knowledgeable circus veteran will be on hand to explain the action and answer questions about circus life.
This season, the Kelly Miller Bros. Circus will travel nearly 10,000 miles and give performances in over 200 cities and towns across North America from March through October.

New Providence twins capture top photography prize in Monaco

Jason and Justin Senft's photo of a circus elephant deftly grasping a baby bottle in her trunk to feed a performer's baby was awarded "Best of Show" by H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco and exhibited at the 36th Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo.

By Independent Press Independent Press
Published: Friday, February 10, 2012,
MONTE-CARLO, Monaco — A charming and perfectly executed photograph of a circus elephant feeding a clown’s baby taken by Jason and Justin Senft, New Providence artists and identical twins, is the “best of show” winner in the Fédération Mondiale du Cirque’s 2011 photography contest. The winning image portraying the “Children and the Circus” contest theme was selected by Federation Honorary President H.S.H. Princess Stephanie of Monaco from a dozen finalists selected by an international panel of judges and will be exhibited during the 36th Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo (Jan. 19-29) and featured on the cover of the Federation’s 2012 wall calendar. The award also includes hotel accommodations and tickets to competition shows at the Festival.
Defying the famous show business saying, “Never work with children or animals”, artists Jason and Justin Senft dreamed up the fanciful concept of a circus elephant deftly grasping a baby bottle in its trunk to feed a circus performer’s baby. After several weeks on the road with John Ringling North II’s Kelly Miller Circus and working closely with elephant trainer Armando Loyal, Becky the elephant, circus clown Ryan Combs, and his six-month-old son Nicolas, Messrs. Senft finally realized their vision and captured a magical moment at the circus. The Senfts were also among the winners of the 2010 photography contest with another “Norman Rockwell-esque” circus image.
“We are inspired by the rich visual history of the circus, in particular, the traditional circus, under a canvas Big Top,” say the Senfts, “and we hope to capture and convey the beauty and excitement that happens when the circus comes to town.” The Senft’s dedication and passion for their art has them going to great lengths to get the perfect image. Often experiencing the same conditions as the performers, they have traveled hundreds of miles and endured sweltering and frigid temperatures, torrential rains and muddy lots – just another day at the circus. “It would be a thrill,” say the Senfts, “to obtain a grant so we could spend more time documenting the unique art form and lifestyle of traditional traveling circuses which are gradually disappearing within the United States and Europe.”
Jason and Justin Senft have been collaborators all their lives and defy categorization by skillfully working in many disciplines such as sculpture, painting, printmaking, drawing, photography, video/animation, computer graphics, theatre arts, as well as the art of magic and illusion. The Senfts’ work has received many awards and honors and has been exhibited in museums, galleries, private collections, and featured in print and on television. Jason and Justin Senft graduated with honors from Syracuse University’s College of Visual & Performing Arts, earning Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Communications Design.
Participating in this year’s contest were amateur and professional photographers from 26 countries: Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, France, Germany, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
The 2011 international jury comprised circus historians Greg Parkinson (USA), Antonio Giarola (Italy), Arthur Hofmeester (The Netherlands), Mark St. Leon (Australia), Julio Revolledo Cárdenas (Mexico), and Charles Ricketts (South Africa).
Kenny & The Kids Three rings, countless thrills


Written byKen Neuhauser

Feb. 9, 2012

Tigers, clowns, aerialists, the “wheel of thrills” and Fabio’s Extreme Motorcycle Riders, plus ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages.
You know what’s coming to town. In fact, it’s already here.The circus, of course. The Kosair Shrine Circus, which opened last night at the Kentucky Exposition Center, has remaining performances at 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. today; and 10 a.m., 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Broadbent Arena. The doors will open one hour prior to each show.Elephant and pony rides will be available for a fee before each performance and during intermission.Marvel action hero Captain America will greet fans 30 minutes before each performance and during intermission. Be sure to bring your camera.The three-ring circus is produced by George Carden Circus International. Carden is a fifth-generation showman and has been in the circus business all of his life.Carden’s son Larry is the show’s elephant trainer. His parade of powerful pachyderms performs picturesque pyramids with flair and precision.Broadway Bo, an Asian elephant considered one of the most entertaining acts in the circus world, is part of Carden’s act.Bo, who has mastered more than 60 maneuvers, can skip, dance like a ballerina, and play drums, harmonica and trumpet.In addition to clowns, jugglers, Raffo’s Tigers, motocross, Caroline Williams’ Liberty Horses, acrobats, high-wire artists and captivating canines, there are all sorts of specialty acts, including David Smith the Human Cannonball and third-generation hair-hanger Andrea Ayala Raffo.Tickets for reserved seats are $18, $22 and $25. They are available at the expo box office and through TicketMaster. Call (800) 745-3000. For more information, visit

WBCA Carnival Ride Malfunctions
By KGNS News, Laredo, Texas
Feb 10, 2012

WBCA 2012: 2/6/12 Carnival Time!
By KGNS News
Feb 6, 2012

Cirque Voltaire presented by The MAD TATTERS

Uploaded by drBzurk on Jul 21, 2011
This is the first Surreal Circus event by the MAD TATTERS (
Mad Tatters brings its surreal circus to town Saturday

CIRQUE VOLTAIRE is a Denver based Circus/Sideshow of Art, Performers and Musicians.

by Erin K. Barnes

February 10, 2012
Mad Tatters—Brandan Styles and Ellie Rusinova, who perform as Dr. B. Zurk and Madame Madness—is an art duo that travels around Colorado (and beyond) in a wagon hearse. Styles and Rusinova have filled the hearse with a phantasmagorical collection of paintings, clothing, collages, and what they call “Victorian oddities” that draw from “odd, grotesque, old fashioned, Russian, and old English aesthetics.” One outlet for that aesthetic is their Cirque Voltaire, a wild night of burlesque, freak show performers, cabaret, snake charming, xylophone juggling, topless aerial dancing, music, antelopes, and drilling nails into noses. (If they haven’t met Ukulele Loki yet, it needs to happen.)The next Cirque Voltaire performance isn't until April, but you don't have to wait to taste the madness. Their newest exhibition, Circus: Suspended Release, takes it one giant trapeze swing further. “Both Brandan and I have been working on new directions in our art,” Rusinova explains. “And we are very excited to finally get to show it to people.”
Suspension is a theme that runs throughout the exhibit, as the circus arts throw the viewers into unfamiliar and sometimes frightening territory in order to question their own reality. As they describe it in event's description: “Suspended Release is the moment when we decide to take that leap of faith and cut the cords, allowing ourselves to be released from our current state of being.” That means a surreal multimedia showcase of sculpture, paintings, and puppets, plus food, wine, and an acoustic set by the experimental classical/folk band The Tanukis. It all happens starting at 7 p.m. February 11 at Leon Gallery. For more information, visit the gallery's Facebook page.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Florida State Fair 2012 opens in Tampa with food and fun
Feb 9, 2012


Man on trapeze hanging from helicopter is circus stunt

Published on Feb 9, 2012 by ABCActionNews

In a video that has gone viral on the internet, a man does stunts from a trapeze that is hanging from a helicopter. the man is a professional circus performer.
Greece bans animal circuses

Greece bans animals at circuses.

by: Sydney Azari

from: bikyamasr,com

10 February 2012

Following pressure from Animal Defense International (ADI) and Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF), Greece has implemented a law banning all animals from being used in circuses and similar businesses. Greece is the first European country to ban all animals from circus and circus like performances, though Austria has banned all wild animals from these acts.
The inceptive aspect of the ban was ADI’s 1998 global release of “The Ugliest Show on Earth”, a report and video that cataloged the systematic cruelty found in circuses. Its release led to the first national bans pertaining to circus animals as well as bans in cities such as Thessaloniki, Greece. ADI went on to investigate Greek circuses and eventually teamed up with Greek Animal Welfare Fund to make the abolition of animal circuses a national campaign. Co funded by GAWF, ADI developed and financed a Greek “Stop Circus Suffering” package with a DVD and literature detailing the cruelty against circus animals. The included video, viewable on Youtube, exposes animals chained and confined to barren cages as well as trainers whipping, prodding, kicking, punching, and beating animals with pipes and baseball bats.
“One of the great circus myths is that these animals are trained by kindness and reward. But training takes place in secret. ADI has taken hidden video cameras into these training sessions and revealed animals being beaten, kicked, spat on, punched, and even having rocks hurled at them. Again and again, circus animals are shown that if they disobey the trainer, they will be punished. Even huge, powerful animals can be beaten into submission. For circus animals their world is one of confinement and frustration punctuated by violence. Even if animals are sick or injured, the show must go on and the circus keeps moving.” Vice President of Animal Defense International, Tim Phillips, told
ADI and GAWF contacted animal protection groups across Greece asking for their support of the campaign. Over 50 groups allied with the cause even before its official 2006 launch. The campaign included press conferences and screenings of the campaign’s DVD in Crete, Thessaloniki, Athens and Halkidiki. The campaign led to bans in Kalamata, Serres, and Malia and by 2010 the government announced its consideration of a ban on animal circuses.
“Globally, the Greek ban is of great significance,” Phillips told, “because there is such a wave of feeling against the animals in circuses around the world – it seems there is almost universal revulsion amongst the public, wherever you are in the world, to confining, depriving and abusing animals simply for amusement.”
Bolivia was the first country to ban all animals from circus performances. In February 2011 ADI and Bolivia authorities shut down and rescued every animal from Bolivian circuses defying the law. Countries such as Austria, Singapore, Costa Rica, Israel, Sweden, and Peru have made similar bans on animal circuses.
Many animal rights activists are hopeful Greece’s new law will put pressure on neighboring countries to follow suit. It has been reported that Germany and the UK are moving toward similar bans.

Film Examines the Culture of World's Circuses Documentarian with circus family ties interviews Feld Entertainment and other circus acts in "World Culture Circus" movie.

Director and Producer Angela Snow
By Charles Schelle
February 9, 2012
Filmmaker Angela Snow's desire to make a film about the inside world of circus performers seemed to be a natural fit.
Snow's aunt was a co-founder of the Big Apple Circus and her best friend's grandmother was the assitant to Ken Feld — the chief executive of Feld Entertainment. Feld Entertainment, of course, runs the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.
"I've been hearing those stories from my aunt since I was little," said Snow, 26, a Vermont native now living in Brooklyn, New York where she has her own production company, To the Moon Productions.
Snow is raising money through IndieGoGo for her documentary World Circus Culture that looks at the work of performers in major circus companies around the world readying for the Monte Carlo Circus Festival, dubbed "the Academy Awards of circus competitions."
So far she's raised $2,245 of her $12,000 goal to pay for the editing and post-production work. The IndieGoGo campaign ends Feb. 17, but donations can still be made on
In the movie she interviews Feld with the Ringling Circus stopped in Tampa in December.
"To me it was obviously crucial to interview Ringling because they're a quintessential American circus," Snow said. "You can't have a circus film without him."
Feld provided a historical perspective to the film, Snow said, about how the circus was the entertainment in American and how it's changed over time with technology.
But circus is revered in Europe, or as Feld told Snow, circus is "made up of an international city."
In Europe, Snow said, a circus show can commonly fill a 5,000 seat venue.
"In the U.S., circus went from Ringling and being a big spectacle and entertainment to a side show, freak show, carnie stereotype and Cirque du Soleil came along" and changed that perception," Snow said.
Snow traveled to Europe to follow the Fratellini Academy, Cirque d'hiver and other companies as she was tasked at college to create a documentary with a travel element.
The Montreal-based circus centered on acrobatics and theatrics changed how North Americans thought of circus, she said.
"A lot of people think of Cirque outside of circus — it's Cirque and it's not circus," she said. "Cirque du Soleil and Ringling belong in the same chunk of circus, both are just different types."
The Columbia College graduate and once intern for documentarian Ken Burns plans for the movie includes entering it into the Sundance Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival and gain television and international distribution.
She added that she'll lean on Burns' advice for her history portions of the film.
"He is the example of how to do that well," she said. "I'll be double checking him and making sure I"m on the right track."
Burns has supplied Snow with autographed DVDs for donors giving $100 or more and there are only two more left, according to the campaign site.
This update corrects that Angela Snow's best friend's grandmother was the assistant to
Kenneth Feld

Tastes of the Florida State Fair

Published on Feb 9, 2012 by ABCActionNews

The Florida State Fair is here! This year there are some new interesting fair food. Ellen McNamara gives us a preview and tastes some of this year's weird creations including the Bacon, Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich.
A circus of wows and hows at Staller

Photo credit: Handout Stand up 8 an American Circus is featured in performance on February 12, 2012 at Staller Center at SUNY Stony Brook in Stony Brook.

By Steve Parks


February 8, 2012

"We like to let the audience in on our secret," says fire-eating aerialist Allison Williams of the new American circus troupe Stand Up 8.
So if you ever wanted to know how to eat fire, Staller Center is the place to be Sunday afternoon.
"We break the fourth wall throughout the show," says Williams' circus partner, Zay Weaver.
"It comes from our background as street performers," says Williams. "You can go see Cirque du Soleil and be amazed, but those guys probably wouldn't take you out for a beer and talk to you about how they do their tricks or how scary it is. We make a personal connection."
FLYING HIGH The idea of a scripted circus came to Williams and Weaver in 2003 while performing as the Aerial Angels in and around their native Michigan. "We wanted to do something bigger," says Williams, now artistic director of Stand Up 8. In search of investors, they were encouraged to audition for "Dragon's Den," a popular Canadian reality TV show. They walked away from the talent competition with a $250,000 prize -- enough to stage their dream circus that premiered in 2009.
Stand Up 8 -- the title completes the phrase "fall down seven times, stand up eight!" -- features a whip-cracker (Williams, in an appropriate stunt for a director), an escape artist (Weaver), fire-eaters, clowns, musicians, a trampoline champ, a skating aerialist and a guy who eats balloons. Which begs the question of not just how but why?
"We do an interactive dialogue with the audience while we're performing," says Williams, "answering questions people might ask on the street or at the airport. Like, why do we risk our lives and dignity for the sake of entertaining people? There's a vulnerability to the performance. We let the audience know we have doubts."
'NOTHING TO IT' As for secrets, Williams cites some of the show's "cheap tricks." For instance, "an aerial dive" in which an aerialist's fall is broken by a billowy fabric cinched around her foot. "If your foot is wrapped correctly," she says, "there's nothing to it" -- except that it's still terrifying.
Then there's the art of making a trick look amazing. "The hard part of escaping from a straitjacket," says Weaver, "is to make it look hard."
Or funny. In one "escape" trick, Weaver extricates herself from a wedding dress.
The show is part of Staller Center's Not for Kids Only family series. "There's so much visual going on, kids love it," says Williams. "But it's very much a grown-up circus, too."
David Maas on "The Windy City Circus: A Circus With A Purpose"

by Michael J. Robert


Thu. February 9, 2012

Chicago is getting its very own circus! "The Windy City Circus: A Circus With A Purpose", is a new non-for-profit event put together by David and Diana Maas, best known for their world famous Quick Change routine, which has been showcased on numerous television shows including America's Got Talent and The Oprah Winfrey Show. The performances will benefit different charities and for their premier, will be located at Navy Pier. I talked with David Maas about the how this idea came to fruition and the challenges of putting together a production of this size. MJR: (Michael J. Roberts) The Windy City Circus sounds like it is going to be amazing. What made you decide that you wanted to produce a circus?
DM: (David Maas) Well Michael, my wife and I were born on a truck so they say and have the circus running through our veins. We were born and raised with a background of entertainment. My father was a musician and my mother was a singer and dancer. My wife, Diana, came from the Moscow State Circus, where her brother to this very day is still a director. When my wife and met we put together the Quick Change act and became so popular all over the world, we decided we needed to be centrally located. We signed a long term contract with the M.B.A. and we decided to make Chicago our base. We spent many years in New York City with the Big Apple Circus but we thought this was a marvelous opportunity to start some like this that has never, ever been done and do it in the Chicagoland area. Of course Ringling Bros. and Cirque du Solei
comes through but there has been nothing with a concept of ‘Chicago'. Then added to the fact that it could be a non-for-profit that will give back to the community, it will be something that will belong to Chicago more:

Film Debut: “Runaway Circus” at Nyack Center


Feb 10,2012

See the story of 12 teenagers who “run away to the circus” and join Nyack’s Amazing Grace Circus in this short documentary by film maker Angela Snow on Wed Feb 15 at 7p in the Nyack Center. Behind the tent in the scorching sun and humidity, the teenagers learn the extreme physical skill and dedication required to put on a show. After the nerves and butterflies, they will experience for the first time, what the other performers speak of, that shinning moment in the ring. Overcoming every hurdle imaginable, from all different backgrounds, ages, and cultures, Circus performers unite under a little big top to capture the imagination of young and old.
Runaway Circus documents AGC!’s ‘Circus-in-the-Park Extravaganza’ during the summer of 2009. The film has been accepted by two international film festivals. The world premier of Runaway Circus is also a fundraiser for The Amazing Grace Circus.
Meet filmmaker Angela Snow, editor Tomoko Kamimoto and see the AGC! Youth Troupe perform. Circus Art by Karen E. Gersch, video montage by Deborah Grosmark. Also appearing: Guest Artist Kenneth Lindemann from Montreal-based ’7 Fingers’ circus troupe performing his specialty handstand act.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children. Light food/drinks are included for this alcohol free event. Tickets are $35 at the door. Reserve your place for this limited seating event by email, online or by calling 845-348-8740.
The Nyack Center is located at 58 Depew Ave in Nyack, NY.

Learn to fly as circus comes into to town


Friday 10 February 2012

SUCCESSFUL circus performer Matthew Day hit the big time in big tops all around the world before returning to his hometown of Luton to share his skills and experiences, writes Richard Redman.
Matthew, who has performed in Korea, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria, France, America and throughout the UK, invited me along to the new Aerial Circus Arts class he is running at Galaxy Gymnastics Centre in Concorde Street.
The classes focus on aerial gymnastics, including trapeze, aerial silks and net as well as incorporating hula hoop fitness sessions.
Matthew began learning gymnastics in Luton from a young age, before attending circus school in London from the age of 16.
After graduating he spent nine years working professionally in circuses worldwide, so he is the perfect person to teach wannabe circus performers in his hometown.
After watching Matthew demonstrate strength and agility on the silks, it was my turn to less-than-gracefully try a net spin before attempting amateur acrobatics on the climbing rope.
I may not be able to do the splits but I enjoyed my mini-lesson with a local international circus star, and can see that the course will be enjoyable for anyone that attends.
Matthew’s classes run on Mondays and Thursdays, 8-9.30pm.
For more information, search Facebook for “Hula Hoop Fitness” or call Matthew on 07577261223.>Visit for Natalee Hazelwood’s video of the News’ evening at the circus.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


EVENT: Circus at Wicomico Youth & Civic Center Enjoy big fun at circus

Written byJosh Davis

For Go! Magazine

SALISBURY -- The Greatest Show on Earth returns to Salisbury tonight for a four-day stand at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center.
Dubbed "RinglingBros. and Barnum & BaileyPresentsBarnum Bash," the show features all the classic circus acts you'd expect from the biggest name in the business, including live Asian elephants, a world-famous strong man and the infamous "Wheel of Steel."
Anton, a "loveable, goofy hipster clown," will provide plenty of comic relief, while the high-wire high jinx, dazzling feats of strength and exotic parade of animals will be set to contemporary pop music.
Earlier this week the Ambassadors of Laughter, a group which includes Barnum performers, took time to visit several area elementary schools, libraries and day cares, and provided free educational programs on reading, fitness and science.
An hour before the show begins, all ticket holders are invited to attend the pre-show party, which includes everything from dance and juggling lessons, to photo ops with performers and a meet-and-great with a real, live elephant.
The first show kicks off tonight at 7:30 p.m. and five additional shows are scheduled to run through Sunday afternoon. Opening night tickets are $12, while all other performances are $20. A limited number of VIP Gold seats are also available for $35.

Ringling Bros. Presents Barnum Bash - Behind the Scenes with Director Rye Mullis

Uploaded by ringlingbros on Dec 28, 2011
Director of Ringling Bros. Presents Barnum Bash, Rye Mullis, takes us behind the scenes at Winter Quarters in Tampa, FL!
Free & Cheap: Enjoy the state fair without breaking the bank

Unless you're going to ride all the attractions, armbands aren't worth the cost, our blogger says.


Published: February 09, 2012

How do the Free & Cheapers go to the Florida State Fair? The same way we approach most things in life, with an eye on the bottom line. We're there to have the most fun for the least amount of money.
Discount admission days:
If you can manage it, try to go during the least popular times and days. The crowds will be thinner, the lines shorter and the prices cheaper.
College student night, Thursday – purchase a $20 all-you-can-ride wristband, get free fair admission with student I.D.
Student days, Friday and Feb. 20 – Hillsborough County students are given a free admission ticket for Friday; Pasco, Polk and Manatee students get one for Feb. 20. All other students get discounts at the gate on those days: $6 for students ages 12 through 12th grade and $5 for ages 6 to 11.
National Salute to Veterans Day, Feb. 20 – free admission for everyone, not just vets, after 4 p.m.
$5 after 5 p.m. – Adult admission is discounted in the evening on Thursday, Feb. 13, 14, 15 and 16.
4H and FFA days, Saturday and Feb 18 – Free fair admission with member I.D. or club jacket.
Senior days, Feb. 14, 15 and 16 – save on gate admission, only $8 for seniors 55 and older. Advance tickets can be purchased for $6.
read nore at:
New fair food? Try a deep-fried marshmallow

grilled kielbasa sausage featuring barbecue pork, slaw, french fries and barbecue sauce


Published: January 24, 2012

TAMPA -- Last year, the inventors of the doughnut burger tempted the taste buds of Florida State Fair patrons with a bacon-stuffed ice-cream cheeseburger.
This year? Dennis and Cheryl Reas, owners of Carousel foods, announced they are featuring selections that should attract even the most adventurous carnivore or sweet tooth during the fair's run from Feb. 9 to more at:
Amusement rides draw flak from devotees

Parents are complaining that the amusement rides are distracting their children. Pic by Farezza Hanum Rashid

By Veena Babulal

from: The New Straits Times

08 February 2012
THE dust may have not settled yet over the issue of allowing amusement rides on a vacant lot at the Batu Caves temple complex.
During a Streets check yesterday there were still a number of visitors unhappy about the amusement rides, following the approval given by the Selayang Municipal Council recently.
K. Balan, 36, said his five children, aged 7 to 11, harassed him to go on the rides since they arrived for prayers there at 6am.
"In the end, I had to relent. But I think these rides are too commercial and I don't know how poor parents can afford them.
"These are things you don't want children to associate with in a religious place," he said yesterday.
At midday yesterday, there were only a handful of people going on the rides which are scheduled to operate non-stop until tomorrow.
There were already detractors among the visitors by mid-afternoon on Monday, several hours before they started operations.
Read more: Amusement rides draw flak from devotees - Central - New Straits Times

The Set Up....Part 2

Uploaded by flstfairgrounds on Feb 5, 2012
In just a few short days, the 2012 Florida State Fair will be opening. Look at the progress we have made!
SHOWBIZ: Going deep into the Ganges

A scene from Wildest India

From: New Straits TimesBy

08 February 2012
From the Himalayan Mountains to the River Ganges, Animal Planet takes you on an exotic journey through India.
Follow the flow of The Ganges, from the glaciers of the Himalayas to the largest bay in the world, the Bay of Bengal.
The Wildest India series is a celebration of the country’s most stunning landscapes and incredible wildlife.
In the series, you will delve deeper into the Ganges to know why it is a lifeline to an array of wild animals. You will also understand how the powerful winds and sub-zero temperatures of the Himalayas support one of the largest and most diverse collections of creatures on the planet, including man.
Wildest India will also bring you to India’s Thar Desert to discover how this harsh environment supports both humans and some of the toughest and rarest creatures on Earth.
The final destination is Western Ghats, a spine of mountains stretching 1,609km along India’s west coast, thought to be one of the most bio-diverse places in the world.
Wildest India airs every Friday at 10pm on Astro Channel 556. Ridhatul Rizki Sayuti Read more: SHOWBIZ: Going deep into the Ganges - Style - New Straits Times
Funderland Dublin Fun Fair Photo Montage 2011

Uploaded by FunFairsUK on Jan 14, 2012
These photos were taken at the Dublin Funderland held from 26th December 2011 until the 8th January 2012 and the lessee was William Bird.
Koch family forms entity to negotiate possible Kentucky Kingdom lease

This file photo shows the locked front gate at Kentucky Kingdom, which closed in 2009.

Ron Bath Business First

John R. Karman III, Reporter

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Members of the Koch family — owners of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind. — have put together a new company, Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc., to try to negotiate a lease agreement that would allow it to operate the shuttered Kentucky Kingdom amusement park.
The Koch family is in discussions with the Kentucky State Fair Board about the future of the park, located at the Kentucky Exposition Center. The fair board manages the state-owned center.Bluegrass Boardwalk is exploring the possibilities of reopening Kentucky Kingdom in 2013, according to a news release.
The company plans to try to secure financing and apply for economic development incentives from the state of Kentucky, the release said. No public money would be requested from the Kentucky General Assembly under Bluegrass Boardwalk’s plan.Read more at:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012




In April 1995, I visited Kelly Miller winter quarters, in Hugo,Ok.

#1. Sign at entrance

#2. Dudley Hamilton, caretaker (3-15-96)

#3. Dudley Hamilton's house

#4. Animal barn

#5. Grazing area

#6. Parking area for trailers

#7. Paint shop & Mechanical Shop

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Michigan motorcyclist injured in 30-foot fall during stunt at Saginaw circus

A motorcycle stunt man who plunged 25 feet to the ground during a circus performance said Monday he'll ride again after he recovers from a broken leg and other injuries. / YouTube image

By Mike Brudenell

Detroit Free Press Sports Writer

February 7, 2012

Promising Michigan FMX motorcycle rider Josh Headford was in fair condition today, according to hospital staff, following a horrific accident while performing at a circus at the Dow Event Center’s Wendler Arena in Saginaw on Sunday.
Headford, 20, who is from Helps, collided with a cable in midair during a high-flying ramp-to-ramp routine at the Elf Khurafeh Shrine Circus, then plummeted about 30 feet to the ground. He is being treated at Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw and underwent surgery Monday.
"Doctors surgically repaired Josh's right femur and right elbow," Scott Murray, Headford's manager and friend, told the Free Press today, as he traveled from Green Bay, Wis., to be with Headford after performing in a monster truck show. "He also has a fractured scapular and wrist, but these should heal on their own."
Murray, a veteran FMX freestyle competitor, said the crash "was very unfortunate." read more:
Jack-of-all-trades has fondest memories of caring for diving horses

Danny Drake



Sun Feb 5, 2012.

Jim Craine wanted a little more spending money. He went to his dad and asked for a raise in his allowance - and was turned down. So he did what any enterprising 9-year-old would do: he went and got a job.
"I told them I was 13," explained Crane, 57, an Atlantic City native who now lives in Galloway Township.
But Craine didn't just work your everyday, 9-to-5 job - he worked at the Steel Pier, where his duties included hanging out with visiting celebrities, painting the halls by strapping brushes to his feet and even getting in the occasional dive.
"I worked there for 10 years straight," Craine said. "I did a little bit of everything on the pier."
He recalled sitting on a piano bench with Duke Ellington while tuning a piano - "You can't take that away," he said. He also remembers the first national tours of the Supremes, the Jackson Five and the Temptations, and even the few months when the Gemini 4 capsule was on display in a hallway.

With the microphone that Dick Clark used to introduce Ricky Nelson in 1957 in front of him, Jim Craine, of Smithville, talks about his time working on the Steel Pier. Craine still has a vintage microphone used by Dick Clark to introduce Ricky Nelson in 1959, given to him personally by stage manager Carl Tripician and modernized for use in Craine's Pleasantville Music Shoppe.
But the pier job that he remembers most fondly is taking care of the famous Steel Pier diving horses - among them Gamal, Emir, and especially Powdered Face.
"I'm always asked, ‘Were the horses pushed or forced to do it?'" Craine said. "But they never were. They enjoyed doing it ... They loved doing their act. You never had to force them."
The treat that awaited them at the end, of course, also helped persuade them.
One dive didn't go as planned, he recalled - a Timex commercial in which actor John Cameron Swayze put on a Timex and dove with Powdered Face, to show that ‘It Takes a Licking, But Keeps on Ticking.'
"The horse dove," Craine said, "and (the watch) came off."
In the end, Craine has nothing but fond memories of his days at the pier, even when the job he was doing might not be described as glamorous.
"I shoveled horse poop," he admitted. "But I was in show business."
‘Fair’s going to go on’: Jefferson County Fair officials plead for state funds

Bill McIntire, board president of the Jefferson County Fair, shows a rotting roof atop the restrooms at the fairgrounds camp site, which he and other volunteers are replacing through a $6,000 grant. Fairgrounds leaders fear the loss of some $33,000 in state funding from the Department of Agriculture, especially since they are constantly grappling with repair projects at the 75-year-old fairgrounds, home of the Jefferson County Fair. -- Photo by Jeff Chew/Peninsula Daily News

By Jeff Chew Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County Fair officials fear the loss of $33,000 from the state Department of Agriculture — a loss anticipated because of state cutbacks in recent years.
“If we do lose the income, the fair’s going to go on,” said Bill McIntire, fair board president.
“We are just going to have to do different things.
“We don’t want to raise the fares” to the fair, he added, saying it would drive people away from the summer event that draws more than 13,000 paying fair-goers.
Bill McIntire and his wife, Sue McIntire — both long connected with the fair — recently visited 24th District state lawmakers in Olympia — who represent the North Olympic Peninsula — to plead for continued funding.
They left expressing doubts about whether the state Department of Agriculture funding they have relied on will be there this year.
“The outcome looked pretty gloomy,” Sue McIntire said.
They said they should know the good or bad news by Feb. 17.
State cutbacks could affect everything from energy-saving light bulbs to cutting costs for fair entertainment at the Jefferson County Fair.
This year’s fair, celebrating its 75th year, will be Aug. 10-12.
The fairground’s board of volunteers budgets about $200,000 a year to run the fair and maintain the grounds at 4907 Landes St. in Port Townsend.
The volunteers are in the process of painting the Erickson Building, which includes a dance hall, a kitchen and exhibit area and the administrative offices at the more at:

Ringling Brothers offers closeup view of the circus

Photo on By Staff
Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is offering an all access look behind the scenes of the greatest show on earth for it's run at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall in April.
Barnum Bash takes place on the arena floor an hour before the circus begins. You can learn balancing and juggling skills, meet and take photos with circus stars, and even step behind the curtain for a backstage experience which includes an up-close look at some of the circus's world-famous animals.
If you've got a ticket for any of the Boardwalk Hall performances from April 19-22, you're welcome to join the pre-show party. Tickets for the circus are between $20-$80 each. Special packages and group rates are available. Visit the Boardwalk Hall website and the Ringling Brothers website for more ticket information.

Monday, February 6, 2012

World Circus Culture Movie - IndieGoGo Video

Following five circus acts from around the world to the 'Academy Awards' of circus competitions, the Monte Carlo Circus Festival, the film will reveal the behind the scenes life, history, and culture of circus on an international scale as never done before. At stake is the equivalent of an Academy Award, recognition, respect, and guaranteed work - it's the Golden Clown!

Uploaded by WorldCircusCulture on Jan 17, 2012
Raising $12,000!
Read more about the film and see what rewards you can get by supporting the film!




NOVEMBER 27, 2011









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Circus animals to arrive in Raleigh Monday

Ringling Bros. presents ZING ZANG ZOOM at the RBC Center in February. By Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
From: Blog
Sunday Feb. 5, 2012
I've gotten your emails. I know many of you want to know when the animals from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be arriving in Raleigh.
Here's the official word right now: 6:30 p.m., Monday.
The actual arrival time is a moving target and can change, but 6:30 p.m., Monday is the plan right now. The animals are usually unloaded from a dozens-car-long steel coach on Hillsborough Street across from Dorton Arena on the N.C. State Fairgrounds. In the past, the best place to see the animal walk is along the road adjacent to the back loading dock of the RBC Center.
"Fully Charged" will be at the RBC Center from Wednesday to Sunday with multiple shows. Click here for details and tickets. And here's more information on a Go Ask Mom ticket discount.
Webers Circus delights young crowd

ON THE ROPES: Linda West performing for Webers. Picture by Simone De Peak



06 Feb, 2012

THE miniature ponies and trick dogs are proving a hit with Hunter children attending Webers Circus.The circus, which last visited the Hunter Region two years ago, boasts 25 performers and is proud to claim it does not feature wild animals.
Webers, one of the long-standing names in the business, finished a stint of shows at Swansea yesterday and will open at Richardson Park, Hamilton on Thursday.
The acts include a Colombian who defies the wheel of death, swinging and somersaulting acrobats, miniature ponies, trick dogs and clowns. The artists come from a wide and diverse background of circus families and countries including Colombia, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand and Australia.
Webers Circus is run by owners Rudy and Natalie Weber who have worked on hit musicals Cats, Grease, Shout and Long Way to the Top. They also co-produced and toured The Great Moscow Circus and Cirque Le Voyageuse.
The Webers came to Australia in 1972 from Germany.
Their family’s circus connection goes back six generations, with three generations currently here in Australia.

Beyond the circus

from: The Washington Post,

Capitol Business by Thomas Heath

Feb. 5, 2012

Vienna-based Feld Entertainment, which produces shows from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to Monster Jam to Disney On Ice, knows how to do big stuff.
Its Monster Jam truck fleet consists of 110 trucks.
Its two circus trains are the largest privately owned trains in the country — each over a mile long.
Feld employs more professional ice skaters than any other organization in the world.
So when the company announced last week that it was moving its production headquarters to a 47-acre facility on Florida’s Gulf Coast to economize operations, chairman Kenneth Feld saw other business opportunities.
The company has become so expert at moving and building live entertainment infrastructure that it wants to do the same for other events and companies — and charge for it.
“We have the ability to build the largest stages ever. We can fabricate the stage for the Super Bowl,” Feld said. “Right now, there are only a few companies that specialize in that kind of stuff. We will have the ability to do it as well.”
Insects inspiration for new circus show

Insects inspiration for new circus show

Stephen Bevis, The West Australian

February 6, 2012

After leaving its distinctive yellow and blue grand chapiteau at home last year, Cirque du Soleil will return to Perth under the big top with its latest show Ovo.
Opening on April 14 next year at Langley Park, the show will stop in Perth on the final leg of its Australian tour, which starts in Brisbane in July this year.
Ovo means egg in Portuguese and the show is said to take its inspiration from the frenetic colour and energy of the insect world.
The Australian tour will be the first time Ovo has toured outside North America since its premiere in Montreal in 2009.
The Canadian circus company presented a tent-free Saltimbanco at Challenge Stadium last April.
Advance tickets to Ovo are available from Wednesday to Cirque Club members, who can join free at www.cirque
General public tickets go on sale on February 20.

Circus mishap lands stuntman, clown in hospital

From:, Feb 06, 2012

"Unforeseen accident" sends two Shrine Circus performers to Saginaw hospitals

Sunday, February 05, 2012

By Sue White For

The Saginaw News

SAGINAW - Daredevil stunt driver Josh Headford and local Shriner Al Basner were injured tonight but are expected to recover, Shrine Circus officials say, after a low guide wire sent Headford's motocross bike plunging 25 feet to The Dow Event Center's floor.
Headford broke his femur, or thigh bone, said Craig Hatch, executive director of the Elf Khurafeh Shrine circuses, and Basner was hit in the face by a flying cable.
The Brett Carden Circus stunt, one circus spokesman Nick Singelis had called a highlight of this year's event, had Headford riding up a ramp in one corner of Wendler Arena and crossed through the air to another at the far end.
"Everyone was in shock," Hatch said of the night's crowd. "The lights were coming up – it was the end of the show – and at first, even our ringmaster wasn't sure what had happened."
But he quickly took action, Hatch said, and announced that the fall was not part of the act and that people should clear the building so the rescue crew from Mobile Medical Response could do its job.
"It looked as if Josh was doing a somersault, which he does at the end, but the bike hit the floor instead of the ramp. That's when we knew it was an unforeseen accident."
It was the final act of the final show on the final day, said The Dow director Matt Blasy, who did not witness the incident.
"I was working in my office when one of my guys stopped by and said I really should head to the arena to see this," he said. Then came another call, and he was racing to the floor.
"From what I heard, the wires above were not raised high enough before the act and the driver got tangled in them. "He was moving his limbs and he was conscious when the ambulance was here."
"Everything went fine at all the shows in Lansing, and in Flint, and here, in the last show of the last day, something like this happens," Hatch said. "We know everyone there was very concerned for their well-being, so that's what we want to let everyone know.
"Both have been treated and it looks like Al is going home tonight. They're both doing well."
Win tickets for Circus of the Orient

by Janet Tansley, Liverpool Echo

Feb 6 2012

ROLL up, roll up, as the circus comes to town.
A spectacular, fun- packed circus for all the family is coming to Liverpool to entertain during the half-term holiday.
The Big Top will be at Dobbies Garden World, Speke Hall Avenue, Liverpool, from Saturday, February 11 to Sunday, February 19.
Carol and Phillip Gandey’s new production of Circus Of The Orient includes the red dragon Chinese acrobats, leaping, rolling and somersaulting hoop divers and lavish lion dance.
To book, call 0871 7055507 (BT 10p / min), or for details visit www.
Performance times will be: Saturdays, 2.30pm, 5pm & 7.30pm; Sundays , 2.30pm & 6pm; weekdays, 2.30pm & 7pm and Sunday, February 19, 2.30pm only.
Tickets start at £6.
Time Off has performed a fantastic feat of its own to get 10 family tickets for you to win.
Just tell us the title of the person who hosts any circus spectacular.
Answers need to get to us quickly to ensure you can get your tickets before half term so email entries to and include your name, address and daytime number.
Alternatively, send postal entries – to arrive by Wednesday, February 8 – to: Janet Tansley, Liverpool Echo, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool L69 3EB.
The first 10 correct entries selected randomly from each win a ticket for a weekday performance. Usual ECHO competition rules apply.Read More

Sunday, February 5, 2012


(Duncan Renaldo)



Uploaded by CircusTVru on Oct 11, 2011
Unstoppable Maximum Destruction wows the Monster Jam Orlando crowd with a split-second win

Uploaded by AttractionsMagazine on Feb 3, 2012

Monster Jam has had many shows, but has rarely seen a racing winner take the title by .03 seconds (laser timed) and then go out and win Freestyle in the way that Maximum Destruction did last on Jan. 28, 2012 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Florida.
Peru circus to begin charging performers fees

04 Feb 2012

PERU, Ind. (AP) - Performers at Peru's Amateur Circus won't just need skill this year. They'll need some cold, hard cash if they want to show off their talents.
The Circus City Festival Board says it will begin charging performers a sign-up fee after donations from businesses and benefactors declined.
"It's a situation where we looked around us — there aren't a lot of free, unstructured activities that give the kids everything they get out of (the) circus," producer Mark Hall told the Peru Tribune (
The new fees are $30 per child. Families with more than one child participating will pay $30 for the first child and $20 for each additional child.
"We looked at the minimum we could charge to make a little bit of an impact on our budget," Hall said. "We also looked at youth circus programs throughout the country. Ours is definitely a true bargain. There are places that charge thousands of dollars just to work in a similar program for shorter periods of time. It's a very unique skill set."
Circus City Festival treasurer Kurt Krauskopf said the festival has a 2012 budget of about $260,000. The festival spends more than a fourth of that on insurance and utilities, with other money going toward scholarships, publicity, a parade and the event itself.
"We haven't raised ticket prices in four years and we can only charge so much for certain things," Krauskopf said.
He said organizers decided to implement the performer fees after reviewing the budget and realizing they wouldn't have enough money to cover their expenses.
"This was not a decision taken lightly by the board," he said.
The board expects the fees to generate about $6,000. The $30 fee doesn't guarantee that a child will be chosen for the show; participants still have to pay for equipment such as boots, tumbling leotards and wrist tapes.
The Circus City Festival dates from 1960 and draws on the area's rich circus history. Many of the country's top circuses wintered in Miami County in the late 1800s, and the area is home to the International Circus Hall of Fame, according to the festival's website.
The circus is held each July. About 250 people ages 7 to 21, along with a team of clowns, join forces to present performances over eight days. This year's circus is scheduled for July 14 to July 21.

Special price for circus

by Brent Knoll

Saturday 4th February 2012

PEOPLE will be able to get tickets next Monday (February 6, 2012) at a special price for the opening night of a circus taking place at a garden centre in Somerset.
Paulo’s Circus will be hosting the show at Sanders Garden World in Brent Knoll on Thursday, February 16 with all tickets costing the same price.
The performances start from Thursday, February 16 and run until Sunday, February 26. There is a special ticket price of £6.99 for the launch show at 7pm on February 16.
The usual price for adult grand stand tickets cost £16. For children, tickets cost £14. Ring side seats are £14 for adults and £12 for children. Side view tickets are priced at £11 for adults and £9 for children.
Paulo’s Circus has just ended a UK tour including taking part in the ITV1 show ‘Red or Black’. The troupe will be on-site at Sanders Garden World from February 6.
The shows will take place at 7pm on Thursday, February 16, 5pm and 7.30pm on Friday, February 17 and 3pm and 6pm from Saturday, February 18 until Sunday, February 26. Performances will last between one and a half and two hours.
Tickets will be available from Monday, February 6 from the circus’ box office at Sanders Garden World or by calling the circus on 07021 125 454.

Circus owner Kenny Darnell said his decision was made for strictly commercial reason / GETTY

Sunday February 5,2012

By Ted Jeory

Paulo’s Circus had attracted protests from animal rights activists but owner Kenny Darnell said his decision was made for strictly commercial reasons.
His circus had been using animals for decades until the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in 2001. It then had only human performers, like the majority of modern circuses.
However, last year Mr Darnell began using horses and ponies in acts to see if it would improve business.
“There was no difference in takings,” he said, and added: “There’s a lot of hassle having them. When you have animals, you have to have other tents, you have to have hay and straw delivered, you have to have sawdust for the ring.
“There are extra costs for us in looking after them, making sure the sites have got water and enough space in their compounds. When you’ve got all humans you don’t have to worry about those sorts of things.
“When we put animals back in last year it shocked some of our customers, so we’re now making it clear we don’t have them any more. We had animal rights protests but that wasn’t part of our decision.”
Amid outrage over the maltreatment of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Circus last year, MPs voted unanimously to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
They demanded the Department for Food and Rural Affairs introduce legislation by this summer.
However, Defra has so far refused, saying it intends only to design a “tough new licensing regime”.
Is Ringling's show still 'the greatest'?

Unlike other circuses, Ringling Bros. has live animals, including elephants and more.

by:Théoden Janes


Friday, Feb. 03, 2012

In recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to believe Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's famous claim: that its circus is "The Greatest Show on Earth."Ringling might even have difficulty convincing certain people this is the greatest show to land in Charlotte, which has hosted two major Cirque du Soleil productions in the past 10 months and welcomed the ambitious, equestrian-focused Cavalia in 2010.Yet here it is again, back like clockwork for its annual five-day winter stop at uptown's Time Warner Cable Arena, trotting out its typical cast of characters: clowns, dancers, daredevils, elephants, horses, tigers - this time using an electricity theme and branding the show "Fully Charged."And you know what? It really is a darn good show.

Ringmaster Brian Crawford Scott joins the parade at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. PHOTOS BY ROBERT LAHSER

Truth be told, I think part of what's happening here is that Cirque du Soleil has been seen by so many people, it has forced Ringling Bros. to elevate its game by coming up with stunts and daredevil acts on par with Cirque's.So you'll see aerialists rolling up into the air on straps, swinging, somersaulting, plummeting before stopping suddenly just inches above the floor. You'll see two big-bodied Mongolian strongmen doing yoga-style partner poses that would present a challenge for contortionists one-third their sizes. The show's finale, in fact, seems ripped from Cirque du Soleil's playbook: eight acrobats zipping through a series of dizzying tumbling passes on a power

These folks are all as talented as those I've seen in Cirque, and yet it is the more traditional circus acts that I was most wowed by during Wednesday's show.The first was the high-wire troupe. I won't spoil the surprises, but I will say they don't use safety cables and look so natural up there that it almost seems like what you're seeing has to be an illusion. (It's not.)The second was the "Twin Turbines of Terror," featuring two brothers who jump, leap and flip atop steel wheels that are rotating on a giant pendulum. When one of the brothers performed a front flip as the wheel hit its zenith - while spinning at more than 15 mph - seven spotters surrounded the inflatable safety cushion 30 feet below. (The fact that the men stumbled slightly at other moments made this even more thrilling.)
Of course, the other thing Ringling Bros. has that Cirque du Soleil does not is live animals. I was underwhelmed by the horse act, which didn't seem to have much imagination, but impressed as usual by the various dog-like tricks that the elephants were able to perform.
Then there are the tigers. Ever since Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy was mauled by one of these giant cats in 2003, people have viewed this act in a different light. And that light is: you never know what's going to happen in there.In a twisted way, that accident is the best thing that ever happened for a guy like tiger trainer Tabayara Maluenda. This is to say, gosh, he seems awfully brave. These are unpredictable beasts, and when they swipe their paws at Maluenda or bare their teeth and growl, you catch your breath, just a little.The tiger-taming routine adds an element of straightforward, uncomplicated danger that Cirque du Soleil - with its abstract storytelling and contemplative themes - is unlikely to ever offer.Is Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's circus still the greatest show on earth? If you have any interest in the answer to that question, it's worth buying a ticket and judging for yourself.Read more here: