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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Plant City Strawberry Festival begins

Published on Mar 1, 2012 by ABCActionNews
Up for some truly awesome strawberry shortcake and great entertainment? Then head on out to Plant City.
Florida Strawberry Festival - Racing Pigs

Published on Mar 3, 2012 by ABCActionNews
OUt at the Florida Strawberry Festival, Meredyth Censullo does play-by-play for the Robinson Racing Pigs.

Florida Strawberry Festival - Chocolate Covered Bacon

Published on Mar 3, 2012 by ABCActionNews

Out in Plant City, ABC Action News reporter Meredyth Censullo bravely tries chocolate covered bacon!

Friday, March 2, 2012


MARCH 1, 2012

I finally played Schenectady!

FROM: Mike Naughton, One of the biggest stops on the vaudeville circuit was Schenectady, NY and on Wed. Feb 29th I finally made it to Schenectady. Maybe vaudeville's return comes next.



Time was not on our side but we did our best to flash.

Thinking of Bill and you.
The Yankee Doodle Circus performed Wednesday evening at Schenectady High School.

The event was a benefit for the school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Hula Hoop champion Elena Arestov performs during the Yankee Doodle Circus performance at Schenectady High School, to benefit the school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions on Wednesday evening Feb. 29, 2012 in Schenectady, N.Y. (Philip Kamrass / Times Union )

Pat Cashin, the Clown Prince, carries his pair of the "World's Largest Underpants," while following Linda Judeikis of Rotterdam and her son Jack, 3, for a moment to their seats before the start of the Yankee Doodle Circus performance at Schenectady High School, to benefit the school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions on Wednesday evening Feb. 29, 2012 in Schenectady, N.Y. (Philip Kamrass / Times Union )

Hula Hoop champion Elena Arestov performs during the Yankee Doodle Circus performance at Schenectady High School, to benefit the school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions on Wednesday evening Feb. 29, 2012 in Schenectady, N.Y. (Philip Kamrass / Times Union )

Pat Cashin, the Clown Prince, fixes his hair before the start of the Yankee Doodle Circus performance at Schenectady High School, to benefit the school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions on Wednesday evening Feb. 29, 2012 in Schenectady, N.Y. (Philip Kamrass / Times Union )

Children watch the Yankee Doodle Circus perform at Schenectady High School, to benefit the school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions on Wednesday evening Feb. 29, 2012 in Schenectady, N.Y. (Philip Kamrass / Times Union )

Children watch Pat Cashin, the Clown Prince, during the Yankee Doodle Circus performance at Schenectady High School, to benefit the school's chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions on Wednesday evening Feb. 29, 2012 in Schenectady, N.Y. (Philip Kamrass / Times Union )
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Hans Klok 5 minute Illusion Challenge

Uploaded by gaafman on Sep 23, 2008
For a Dutch TV-show Hans Klok and the diva's of magic were challenged to do as many illusions as he could in 5 minutes. Enjoy & no exposure please.
British gov't plan to ban wild animals in circuses criticized by campaigners



March 02, 2012

LONDON, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The British government announced on Thursday that it planned to ban wild animals from circuses, but the move was met with criticism by those who had campaigned for the issue.
The government's plan to ban circuses in Britain from using performing wild animals, like tigers, lions, and elephants, came after the suffering of an elephant in a British circus was exposed by an animal rights' group, Animal Defenders International (ADI).
ADI told Xinhua on Thursday afternoon that the government plans were "useless" and "a cynical ploy" by the British coalition government.
"There is absolutely overwhelming evidence of circus suffering and not a single animal welfare body that will defend this industry," said Jan Creamer, chief executive of ADI.
"We were promised a ban in 2006. This was followed by consultations, expert examinations, working parties, impact assessments and feasibility studies. The last public consultation gave an overwhelming 95 percent of public in favor of a ban," he said.
Members of Parliament had voted to ban wild animals from circuses last June, but their vote was not binding on the government and did not become law.
MP Mark Pritchard, one of the main campaigners in parliament for a ban, said, "Any licensing scheme should also guarantee that no new wild animals are imported into British circuses. I don't believe the government when it says it will move towards a ban."
Animal welfare minister Lord Taylor said, "We are developing proposals to introduce a bill as soon as parliamentary time allows. In the meantime we are introducing a Circus Licensing Scheme to ensure decent conditions for wild animals in traveling circuses," Taylor said.
Under the scheme, anyone responsible for a traveling circus with wild animals must have a license, and agree to welfare standards and a retirement plan for the animals.
Needhamites bring circus to town

Wicked Local staff photo by David Gordon.

Kate Law Hoflich (right), who runs and performs in a circus, rehearses for her upcoming show with fellow performer Joanne Verginio of Needham (left) on Tuesday evening, February 21, 2012 in Newton.

By Emily Cataneo

Wicked Local Needham

Posted Mar 01, 2012
Needham — Curled on the floor next to a blue gym mat in a capacious ex-loading dock, wearing neon legwarmers, Kate Law Hoflich describes the circus apparatus she invented.
“I thought of things I’d want to do in the air first,” said Hoflich about how she invented the aerial shell, a white circle crisscrossed with white bars. Then, she said, she designed the shell to fit the proportions of her body.

Wicked Local staff photo by David Gordon.Kate Law Hoflich (top), who runs and performs in a circus, rehearses for her upcoming show with fellow performer Joanne Verginio of Needham (bottom) on Tuesday evening, February 21, 2012 in Newton.
Hoflich, a Needham resident, is co-artistic director of aerial dance company Bow and Sparrow, which will perform for the first time in the Boston area on Friday, March 9 in Somerville. Bow and Sparrow is a bicoastal company, with the other half of the company based in California, and the March 9 performance, called “Helos,” will feature both New England and California performers.Read more: Needhamites bring circus to town - Needham, Massachusetts - Needham Times

Send in the (real) clowns: Daily Newser's attempt to run away with the circus falls flat

Reporter learns that Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clown try-outs are much tougher than they look

Marcus Santos for New York Daily News
Daily News reporter Dan Beekman shows off his juggling skills during Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey auditions for would-be clowns at Grand Central Terminal.

For three awkward minutes Tuesday, I felt like The Greatest Dope on Earth. Then a professional clown and a little person came to my rescue.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey were holding open auditions for aspiring clowns at Grand Central Terminal. When my editor found out I could juggle, my fate was sealed.
As a reporter, I sometimes check out scary slums and crime scenes. But the prospect of clowning around in public gave me the chills.
I rushed to Grand Central and fastened a red clown nose on my schnoz with trepidation.
There were seasoned circus performers from Ringling in the crowd and about 30 would-be clowns, most with amusing gags and serious skills.

Bryan Smith for New York Daily NewsGigi the clown greets Sal Furia and son Anthony of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, at the auditions.
Matthew Belopavlonich, 25, trekked all the way from Tampa, FL to try out.
“My dream job is to be a clown,” said Belopavlonich, who impressed the Ringling judges with a dance routine. “Clowning is the only thing in the world I would drop everything for.”
Before long, I was the clown dropping everything. I began my act with three small juggling balls, tossing them side to side. Then two of the balls collided and went flying across Grand Central.
Next I tried to juggle a bright orange soccer ball with my feet. But it skidded away. The crowd was chuckling and I was all alone under the lights with no backup plan and a bad case of stage fright.
I almost hugged Ringling veterans Henry Higinio and Paolo Cesar when they showed up to help.
The clown and little person juggled with me and taught me some tricks. After the fiasco ended, Higinio, sporting a bowler hat and lipstick, offered encouragement.
“You need practice,” he said. “But it was your first time.”

Some of the aspiring clown hopefuls who attended the auditions in Vanderbilt Hall this morning.
Manhattan elevator technician Ray Gomez, 43, who brought his grandson to watch the show, was more honest. “You suck,” he said. “I could see you sweat and the juggling was just bad.”
I removed my clown nose sadly and sulked until four-year-old Chase Clark piped up.
“I liked it,” my tiny fan said.
I brightened, briefly.
“You were funny when you dropped the ball," said Clark.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will perform several shows next month at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J. and the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale.
Read more:

Mid-Winter Fair offers up 'tropica'' fun

Workers work on ride maintenance Thursday in preparation for the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta, which opens today. (CHELCEY ADAMI PHOTO)



March 2, 2012

IMPERIAL — Workers raced about Thursday prepping rides, placing prizes, polishing mirrors, brushing down livestock and more for the opening today of the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta.
Following the theme “Tropical Nights and Carnival Lights,” a half million lights will take over the fairgrounds, and visitors will have opportunities to have tropical fun whether it’s interacting with exotic animals or competing in the tropical salsa contest, every day through March 11.
Eight new rides were added this year to make 44 in total while the kid land has been expanded and a new layout used.
Carnival General Manager Corey Oakley said it’s one of the most fun, safest, cleanest, most drug-free carnivals around. The fair is also using mostly LED lights this year in an effort to substantially reduce energy use.
The fair features some ongoing events such as the Imagination Circus or the Turkey Stampedes, while other performances will only occur once.
There will be two to four Imagination Circus shows a day where about 30 children can dress up and be part of the show which lasts between a half hour and an hour.

Another example of an ongoing exhibit is the one by the Imperial Valley Gem and Mineral Society where visitors can pan for gold, cut geodes, clean fossils and more.
A daily schedule of offerings is available at
A variety of livestock will be shown and judged every day as FFA and 4-H clubs Valleywide turnout to compete.
The tribute band “Journey Unauthorized: Tribute to Journey” performs tonight while visitors can see a variety of other tribute bands, original artists, regional battle of the band winners and others perform on other dates.
High School Madness is Monday while the Jimmie Cannon Jazz Festival is Thursday.
Numerous community organizations will have informational exhibits throughout the fair, and the family-friendly event also offers different cuisines for the tasting as well as traditional fair food.
Tickets available at the fair gate are $8 for adults, children ages 6 to 12 for $5, seniors for $6, and children ages 5 and under free.
WOW carnival coupons are redeemable for carnival bracelets which allow a person to ride all fair rides for any one day. The WOW carnival coupons are $25 Monday through Thursday and $30 Friday through Sunday.

Circus life - and death - depicted in new exhibit and book signing

By Gayle Faulkner Kosalko Times Columnist

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The art exhibit "Life's A Tightrope" will open to the public from 6:59 to 9 p.m. Friday at Studio 659, 1314-119th St., Whiting, Indiana. Admission is absolutely free, and the gallery will be serving fun circus refreshments and maybe even give visitors a chance to "step right up" and play a game. It's definitely the greatest show on 119th Street.
Continuing the circus theme, author and historian Richard Lytle will talk about another circus, the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus, as he lectures at a book signing for his book "The Great Circus Train Wreck of 1918: Tragedy on The Indiana Lake Shore."
This event will be held at 1 p.m. March 10 at Studio 659. Copies of the book will be available for $20. And the studio's exhibit will make the perfect, if not eerie, background for the book signing.
The 1918 train wreck has been called one of the worst in U.S. history. More than 80 people were killed and another 127 injured.
The Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus train was coming to Hammond for a performance at 4 a.m. on that fateful day, June 22, 1918 when it is said that an empty troop train came barreling down the tracks, piloted by an engineer who had fallen asleep.
The troop train smashed into the back of the circus train, which was carrying about 400 performers and roustabouts. The troop train demolished three of the cars before it finally came to a stop.
The horror continued as the train cars caught fire and those who had made it through the original wreck were trapped and burned to death.Read more:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life under the big top

Daniel Lutz, left, Tom Libel Jr. and Tom Libel hoist a circus tent on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Sorrento. The Great American Family Circus will open at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, next to Sorrento Elementary School on County Road 437.Brown, Roxanne


Published: Friday, February 03, 2012

The Great American Family Circus is making its debut "under the giant blue big-top" in Sorrento this weekend. Headlining the show are the Liebels -- a 16-generation circus family with a world-renowned elephant act.
"I can track my family's involvement in the circus back about 500 years, maybe more. I was born into it and I cannot remember a single day I wasn't in the circus," said owner and family patriarch Tom Liebel.

Catalina Libel, 16, sets up bleachers under the big top for the Great American Family Circus on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Sorrento.

Liebel said who bought what is now called The Great American Family Circus from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He remembers working alongside his father in a circus magic show since he was 2 years old.
"I was the boy that was made to appear out of my dad's magic box," Liebel said.
On Saturday, their 2012 tour will make its first stop in Sorrento, with its first show scheduled for 2 p.m., next to Sorrento Elementary School at 24605 Wallick Road.

Mariska Libel, 14, ties out a pony while helping to set up for the Great American Family Circus on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Sorrento.
Liebel's father was a flying trapeze artist who later became a circus magician. His mother was a contortionist and an acrobat who starred in shows alongside her seven sisters.
Liebel's grandfather was a circus strong man, his grandmother was a ballerina who starred in an act where she danced atop a rolling ball, and his great-grandfather was a horse trainer.
Liebel said his family started out performing in circuses in Italy and, through the centuries, have performed throughout Romania, Hungary, Austria and the United States.
Liebel said he's even heard stories of his family performing for soldiers in Britian during World War II in exchange for food rations.
Liebel said he has albums filled with pictures of family members in the circus through the centuries.
Tom Libel hoses down an elephant on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Sorrento.

The Great American Family Circus will open at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, next to Sorrento Elementary School on County Road 437."It's not for everyone, but as for my family, that's what we do," he said.
Today, Liebel shares the experience with his own family of eight, as they work on carrying on the tradition with himself at the helm as a circus trainer, specializing in elephants and monkeys.
Liebel's wife, Holland-born Francesca, is a longtime horse trainer and licensed school teacher, who home schools all the circus children as they travel. An elephant grazes on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, in Sorrento as the Great American Family Circus sets up shop.The couple's children, minus their oldest who is currently traveling with another circus, are with them at all times. On Saturday, attendees will have the opportunity to see them in action.

Knoxville woman travels country caring for circus animals

By Allison Rupp

Knoxville News Sentinel

February 28, 2012
Special to the News Sentinel An Asian elephant takes a break from performing. This elephant is one of the many animals Jessica Clowers cares for as a vet tech for Ringing Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. At 5 feet, 2 inches tall, Jessica Clowers might seem small standing next to an Asian elephant or jumping from the huge truck that pulls her trailer home, but the Knoxvillian plays a large role behind the scenes of one of the greatest shows on Earth.
She travels from city to city all over the United States making sure exotic animals, like camels and Arabian horses, have proper vaccinations, are healthy enough to perform and look their best before entering the ring.
She's a veterinary tech for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
It's a full-time, 24-7 job, she said.
The animals are the first things she sees when she wakes up and usually, the last before she falls asleep.
"They always park me right next to the animals," said Clowers, 30, who graduated from Anderson County High School. "I step right out of my trailer, and they are right there. I walk the elephants all day long, and I play with the horses."
The animals, their trainers and her fellow human performers have become Clowers' substitute family as she spends more than 10 months a year on the road with the circus' Gold Tour.
She will get a chance to see her real family and spend time in the permanent home she keeps near downtown Knoxville this week since the circus is in town.
The circus will perform six shows in Knoxville starting Thursday evening.
Besides working behind the scenes, Clowers will be available during the pre-show to answer questions about the animals.
She started her career with the circus with a performance in her hometown just over a year ago.
Though she spent a lot of time on the family farm as a child and wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up, Clowers never imagined she would work for a circus.
Now, she can't imagine doing anything else.
"I travel, get to see the country and still get to work with exotic animals," Clowers said. "I get to be around talented people, all the performers. It doesn't seem like work at all."
After graduating from high school, Clowers began taking pre-veterinary medicine courses at local community colleges.
Then she lucked into a job as a zookeeper at the Knoxville Zoo where she worked with zebras, giraffes, bears, reptiles and other animals. She worked there for five years before becoming a vet tech at Asheville Highway Animal Hospital.
She worked mainly with household pets and she missed working with exotic animals.
That's when a friend mentioned Ringling Bros.
Clowers had already decided not to become a veterinarian and to stay a vet tech because she liked spending more time with animals.
As a vet tech for the circus, Clowers spends a lot of quality time with its three Asian elephants, four Arabian horses, two Shetland ponies, two camels, snakes and a miniature pony named Goodies.
Goodies is Clowers' favorite circus animal.
She coordinates with on-call local vets in each city to ensure there is a vet available for an emergency. Ringling Bros. also has its own team of vets, who can fly or drive to the circus.
She also helps animal trainers and watches each act closely.
"If there would be any kind of issue with an animal, we wouldn't want them to perform," Clowers said. "I make sure they act well, are healthy and everyone is in good shape."
She said the circus animals are well taken care of and the circus is like an "animal resort." They get plenty of exercise, love and nutritious food.

Special to the News Sentine

lRingling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus vet tech Jessica Clowers, 30, says her favorite animal is this miniature pony, Goodies. Clowers travels with the circus most of the year but keeps a house in her hometown of Knoxville.
Her life on the road can be difficult, she said, but it's worth it.
"Out here, I am giving a lot of love," she said. "My family knows I am doing something I love."
This year, she will travel to 45 cities.
She drives her truck that tows the trailer in which she lives, along with her Cavalier King Charles cocker spaniel, Bonnie, and two cats, Nacho and Biloxi, who travel in the truck cab with her.
"We don't travel in a caravan, but I like to stay a little ahead or a little behind the animals," Clowers said. "We are subject to inspection any time."


Circus Comes to Town


Feb 28, 2012

La Crosse, Wisconsin

(WXOW) - Looking for some fun for the whole family? Well, the Zor Shrine Circus is in town. The first show was tonight, but you can still catch tomorrow night's show before the circus packs up and moves on to Green Bay.
The sweet smell of cotton candy will draw you in to the La Crosse Center where you can see aerial acrobatics, motorcycle madness, parading pachyderms, and much much more. But, the circus also brings history. We talked to Joseph Bauer who is an 8th generation circus performer, about what to expect from the show.
Bauer had this to say, "Our motorcycle stunt team are probably going to shock everybody. I guarantee they will keep you at the edge of your seat. These guys fly up in the air with these motorcycles. They get probably forty feet in the air."
The circus will be at the La Crosse Center tomorrow as well and the show starts at 6:30 PM.

Carousel of food choices at Lee County fair

From doughnut-surrounded burgers to fried green tomatoes made with local produce, food at this week's Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair is as interesting as it is gut-busting.

The Krispy Kreme burger is one of the newest fair foods available at the Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair. / Amanda Inscore/

Written byAnnabelle Tometich


Feb. 28, 2012

Eugene Schooler opened a zip-top bag filled with Krispy Kreme doughnuts that had been delivered hot and fresh to the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers that morning.
With a gloved hand and metal spatula, the Louisville, Ky., native arranged each sweet, glaze-covered round onto a griddle as their sugary coatings oozed and hissed against the flat-top’s heat. One stove over Albert Wilson flipped thin patties of beef.The two ingredients would soon come together, along with cheese and freshly cut lettuce, onions and tomatoes, for something the red-awning shaded stand calls the Krispy Kreme Burger. The savory-sweet, 1,000-calorie concoction sells for $7 and it’s one of dozens of interesting dishes available at this year’s Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair.“I’ve eaten exactly 27 of these since August,” said Schooler, who works for Sivori Catering, a Louisville-based company that sends food vendors to fairs and festivals throughout the South and Midwest. “It’s not something you eat every day, but we’ll have people lined up for it all weekend.”The Sivori stand sits toward the end of the fair’s midway, the event’s entry aisle that entices passersby with the smell of grilled meats, giant cinnamon rolls served steamy from the oven, and kettle corn popped to order and then laced with scratch-made caramel.

Fried dough treats such as funnel cakes are very popular foods with guests at the Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair at the Lee Civic Center in North Fort Myers. / Amanda Inscore/

Fair food, it seems, is taking a turn for the fresher. At booth after booth, concession operators kneaded dough and prepped boxes of fresh produce and cases of never-frozen meat. That produce was often destined for the deep fryer, but just because it’s bad for you doesn’t mean it’s of poor quality.“That’s common. People think we’re just taking bags of frozen stuff and dropping it in,” said Robert Moreland, owner of Moreland’s Family Concessions, which operates a handful of the food stands on this year’s midway.“We take pride in what we serve. That’s what’s kept us in business 31 years.”As he spoke Moreland pulled softball-sized onions from 10-pound bags, first cutting the bulbs in half, then trimming the ends, peeling off the papery outer layer and then cutting them into thick, half-moon shaped slices. The onions were destined for cheesesteak sandwiches and Italian sausages. He had chopped his peppers

Power Track Act - ALEGRIA (Cirque du Soleil)

Duck races to waddle in this year's Weber County Fair

By Jesus Lopez Jr.Standard-Examiner staff


OGDEN — The Weber County Commission approved a number of items pertaining to the Weber County Fair during its weekly Tuesday morning meeting.
Among the items, the commissioners approved an evaluation of the August 2011 fair, which includes a detailed summary of the fair, attendance comparisons and recommendations for future county fairs.
“Overall,” Weber County Special Events Manager Jan Wilson said, “it was a really good fair.”
Organizers are still waiting for final figures on the cost of the fair, but Wilson said the estimated contribution from the county will only need to be $56,000, as opposed to the $119,000 budgeted.
This year’s fair will be Aug. 8-11, and will celebrate the fair’s 25th anniversary and 100 years of 4-H.
Recommendations for the 2012 fair include adding a soccer or lacrosse tournament, improving Internet presence and eliminating entries of ducks, geese or turkeys.
Commissioners approved additional contracts with Duck Enterprises to have duck races for $3,800; Broken Heart Rodeo Company, LLC, to produce the fair rodeo for $6,500; and Animal Specialties to provide animal exhibits, such as a petting zoo and pony rides, for $5,000.
Commissioners also approved a contract with local hypnotist Shawn Paulsen. Organizers decided to do away with the Fair Idol and Win It In A Minute events for lack of interest. Instead, fair attendees can participate in two fair shows a day, which have proven to be more popular.

A scene from Odysseo, the new production from Cavalia, which opens in Miami on Feb. 29, 2012 Credit: Henry Perez

Charlotte Libov

South Beach Culture & Events Examiner


February 28, 2012
Circus school director Laurie Allen knows circus acts. She can easily spot a miscue, a missed step, or an acrobat's fumble. Yet, when she watched Odysseo, the new offering from the folks whose show Cavalia has been thrilling audiences for years, she loses all critical perspective. "I'm bowled over," she said today, after watching a media premiere of the show, which opens Wednesday in Miami.
"When I first saw Cavalia, I sat there in tears at the magnificence of the horses, the way they interacted with the trainers, everything. It's breathtaking, literally. You gasp and hold your breath," said Allen, who runs North Miami's South Florida Circus Arts School.
The show, which is under the world's biggest Big Top (you use a lot of superlatives when discussing anything about Odysseo), is designed to be even bigger, better, and more breathtaking than Cavalia, which is currently on an extended run in Seattle. Odysseo, though, offers even more spectacle, thanks to 50 performers (up from 31), 71 horses (up from 50).
Continue reading on 'Odysseo' brings breathtaking spectacle and horses to Miami - Miami Culture & Events
Newark Hosts a Parade of Pachyderms

Annual Event Kicks off Ringling Bros. Appearance at Pru Arena

Handlers lead elephants from the Ringling Bros. circus down Broad Street in Newark last night. Credit Paul Milo

BY By Paul Milo


February 29, 2012

They may have arrived a tad later than expected, but when the elephants from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus finally did begin their march down Broad Street in Newark last night, they dd not disappoint.

Handlers lead elephants from the Ringling Bros. circus down Broad Street in Newark last night. Credit Paul Milo

In fact, the pachyderms who jogged down Broad left one woman momentarily speechless.
“They’re just so …..,” said Newark resident Cheryl Coxson, turning to her friend, Rin McLaughlin.
“Amazing,” Coxson finally decided. “They’re amazing.”
Coxson and McLaughlin were among the few small knots of people lining Broad Street last night to await the “pachyderm parade,” which began near a rail yard in the eastern part of the city, continued up South Street and then through the heart of Newark along Broad to the Prudential Center. Performances will be held there March 1-4.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Clowning around at the Chicago Children's Museum

By Danielle Braff


Monday, February 27, 2012

The Chicago Children's Museum has become a three-ring circus. Literally.
On a recent Sunday morning, my 3-year-old daughter stepped right up to clown around at the temporary Circus Zirkus exhibit at the museum-an interactive play space where ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages can pretend to be circus performers.
Seriously, some of the areas looked like so much fun, I double-checked to see if I could have a turn.
A few months ago, I took Anya to see her first circus, and while she adored it, she was disappointed that she didn't get her turn at the trapeze, the ropes and the tumbling show.
That's where Circus Zirkus gets it right-it's about time the kids could run the "circus" and actually perform.
Anya started with the flying trapeze, which is actually a swing about five feet off a mat. Then she moved on to the spinning hoop-a swing in the shape of a vertical hula hoop that she sat inside while twirling.
In another ring, she dressed up in massive clown boots, a multi-colored tutu, a ginormous hat and some bright scarves.
There was even a pint-sized tightrope.
She loved pretending to be in the circus, but I wish the museum splurged on videos in each area so the kids could really understand what they should be trying to do. There were some pictures, but a circus deserves a video.
The big top held her attention for about 15 minutes-long enough to try everything once and even pretend to sell concessions to her imaginary audience.
The circus exhibit is included in the price of admission to the museum.
But be warned: Since the exhibit is quite small-the size of a large room-the lines for each of the acts could take a while. The day we went, there was a five-minute wait for each of the popular acts-an eternity in the toddler world.
Circus Zirkus will be under the big top-err, inside the Children's Museum-through Aug. 12.
This article appeared in the March 2012 edition of Chicago Parent.
Win Tickets To Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Circusfrom: Moines
The 2012 ZA GA ZIG Shrine Circus is back and better than ever at the Jacobson Center in the Iowa State Fairgrounds. March 23rd through the 25th with 6 exciting high flying shows. Including the return of the Hamid Tigers. The best Circus around!!!!!!!!!!!! Start your family tradition with the ZA GA ZIG Shrine Circus!
Tickets are available at all HyVee, Fareway and Dahls Stores or at: adults $14, children 12 and under $7…
The 2012 Za-Ga-Zig Shirine Circus is back and better than ever at the Jacobson Exhibition Center on the Iowa State Fairgrounds, March 23-25, with 6 exciting high flying shows, including the return of the Hamid Tigers. The best circus around!!! Start your family tradition with the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Circus.
Read more:
Cirque Du Soleil at the Oscars 2012

By Ceylan Yeginsu:


February 27, 2012

Cirque Du Soleil left audiences stunned at the Oscars on Sunday with their one-time performance that paid homage to a decade of films honored by the Academy Awards.Cirque performed jaw-dropping acrobatic routines and stunts against the back drop of films such as "North by Northwest," "Titanic," "Spider-Man," and "Gone With the Wind."
The show performed by the renowned Canadian group stole the spot normally allocated to a performance for the "Best Song" Category. They swung, spun, flew and bent over one another with great ease, in a seamless performance that left the audience applauding in a standing ovation.
"Wow, I pulled a hamstring just watching that," he said. "We're a pony away from being a bat mitzvah," Billy Crystal, who hosted the Oscars, said after the performance

Big Apple Circus sets down in Bridgewater for two weeks

Animal trainer revels in a prickly situation at the Big Apple Circus

Jenny Vidbel knows how to navigate around all kinds of animals. / NJ PRESS MEDIA FILE PHOTO ~

Written by Chris Jordan, Staff Writer


Feb. 27, 2012

Here’s a question you don’t get to ask every day: Who’s easier to work with, Snooki from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” or a porcupine?
New York state-based animal trainer Jenny Vidbel knows the answer.Vidbel, who will be at the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater March 3 to 18 as part of the Big Apple Circus, includes a porcupine in her act, and she appeared with Snooki on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”“Snooki’s much harder to work with,” Vidbel quips. “I’d much rather spend time with my porcupine.”

Don’t try this at home: Jenny Vidbel of the Big Apple Circus works with Percy the Porcupine. / NJ PRESS MEDIA FILE PHOTO

“(Percy, the porcupine) loves to climb in my lap, and he loves to get his belly rubbed,” Vidbel said. “He loves attention and affection. He’s so friendly and personable — he’s a sweet, sweet boy.”Porcupines have a reputation in the circus business for being, er, kind of prickly.“They say they’re mean and dangerous and to stay away,” Vidbel said. “He’s an angel, and I’m blessed to have him.”You’re not going to see lions, tigers and bears, oh my, in Vidbel’s act, although she knows how to navigate around creatures with big teeth and claws because she comes from an animal-training family. Rather, it’s Arabian horses, delightful dogs, a capybara (a very large rodent) and more that make up Vidbel’s whimsical animal menagerie.“All the animals are harmless to the public,” said Vidbel, a third-generation circus performer whose grandfather is from Trenton. “The act is more about displaying them, showing their natural beauty and sharing it with the audiences

No critters are harmed in the act, Vidbel said.“Now, it’s really about showing off the beauty and natural ability of the animals,” said Vidbel, a veteran of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. “Circuses made a shift in the last 20 years ... the animals are more well cared for then average animals.“There’s a lot of work that goes into that care,” Vidbel said.

While Vidbel’s act may look glamorous from afar, there’s an awful lot of work that goes into it. It’s a very romantic idea when they come to see the show,” Vidbel said. “They see all the glamour but they don’t see us getting up at 6 in the morning doing our daily work. You do something like this if you truly love it, so it doesn’t seem like work when you get up at 6 in the morning.

You’re ready to get out there to be with the animals because you love them.”The theme of this year’s Big Apple Circus is “Dream Big.’’ The cast includes the Flying Cortes from Colombia, the mirth and magic of Scott Nelson and Muriel Brugman, aerial beauty Anna Volodko and juggler Dmitry Chernov from Russia. Also featured: Swiss hand balancer Melanie Chy, the Shandong Acrobatic Troupe from China and hosts Jenna Robinson and Andrey Mantchev.Grandma Barry Lubin, a Ventnor City native who now lives in Garwood, will clown around one last time with the Big Apple folks. This is his farewell tour.Of course, the circus has become famous for its intimate one-ring setting, where attendees are no more than 50 feet from the action.

Oh, Percy the Porcupine will sharpen things up, too.“I can’t believe I get paid to work with such amazing animals,” Vidbel said.

Monday, February 27, 2012



APRIL, 1995

In April 1995, I stopped in Queen Creek, Az.,to visit the winter Q's of Culpepper & Merriweather circus.
In 2001 Tray Key acquired
ownership of show and at the end of the 2001 season, the office was moved to Hugo, OK.

Posted by Picasa


Marianna ~Cathy ~ Sefna ~ riding the Kelley Miller Elephants ~

Uploaded by fAJOPHOTOGRAPHY on Sep 6, 2011
Circus comes to town: Playing the professionals


27 Feb, 2012

IT'S taken a few tumbles but six-year-old Cassius has already mastered many of the tricks of the circus trade."He's quite freakish," says his uncle and trainer, Gene West-Sooby. "He's probably about four years ahead of his age group. He's picking it up so quickly."
Welcome to life in the Stardust Circus where a troupe of acrobatic kids with a faultless circus pedigree are learning the tricks of the trade.
The 10 cousins, aged one to 12, are the great-grandchildren of circus legend Dolly Lennon, now in her 90s, whose own forebears started the circus in 1893.
Among them are Shae, 11, who does a double somersault off the springboard, and Shania, 12, who's achieved a somersault and a twist.
"My brother taught me when I was young," says West-Sooby. "He told me it was my turn to pass it on.
"They're kids. You've got to be patient. They can make the same mistake over and over again for a couple of months and then one day - bang, they've got it."
His own son, Satchin, is only two but has already started learning tricks. "We don't call it practice or they get sick of it - you've got to pretend it's just playing."
Stardust Circus is performing next to the Settlement Hotel, South Gippsland Highway, Cranbourne, until March 4.
Legoland hopes to build on record-setting year for tourism

Published on Feb 23, 2012 by ABCActionNews

Preliminary figures show that Florida had a record-setting year for tourism. The agency VisitFlorida says nearly 90 million people came to Florida in 2011 -- the most ever.

Source: HKSAR Government

Published on: 2012-02-27

Hong Kong (HKSAR) - One of the most famous circus companies in the world, the Canadian troupe Les 7 Doigts de la Main (The 7 Fingers), will be in town for the first time in April to perform its stunning acrobatic show "PSY".
"PSY" is a circus performance about the murky underworld of the human psyche, travelling through various characters' dreams, visions and memories. The show's acrobatic acts include juggling and use of the Chinese pole, the German wheel, aerial ropes and a teeterboard, blending well with avant-garde dance, physical comedy, projections and music.
"PSY" has been well received around the globe. The US newspaper the Boston Globe, in its review of the show, referred to "a sheer joy in movement and in exploring the limits of human possibility", and called the performance "a transfixing circus spectacle that boggles both mind and eye while also relocating your heart to your throat once in a while".
L'Humanitˆm in France noted the show's "virtuosity, sensuality and humour" in its review.
Les 7 Doigts de la Main was founded in Montreal, Canada, in 2002 by seven seasoned circus performers who, by combining their distinct talents and experiences, work toward common artistic goals in creating circus shows with the beautifully awkward dexterity of a seven-fingered hand. The company has toured extensively around the world and has been met with critical acclaim. Drawing on its dynamic energy, the company will continue to apply its unique brand of hands-on creativity to all its ventures.
"PSY" is one of the programmes in the Family Fun series presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
The programme contains English dialogue with Chinese surtitles and will be held at 8pm on April 12 and 13 (Thursday and Friday) at the Auditorium, Sha Tin Town Hall, and at 4pm on April 15 (Sunday) at the Auditorium, Tuen Mun Town Hall. Tickets ranging from $100 to $320 are now available at URBTIX outlets, on the Internet and by credit card telephone booking. Half-price tickets are available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and their minders, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (limited tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come, first-served basis).
A maximum discount of 20 per cent is offered for the Family Fun series and group booking packages.


Worker At Lion Park Gets Hugs From Sweet Lion Cubs

A male worker at a lion park walked in on his last day, and after he says hello and sits down, several sweet lion cubs come up to him and start giving him hugs

A circus like no other blows audience away

AERIAL: Zirka Circus performers during one of the shows on Saturday in Invercargill

From:, NZ News


If ever there was a situation where the phrase "timing is everything" has been proved completely true then the Zirka Circus is it.
The show, which opened in Invercargill on Thursday, is predominantly an acrobatic show. Unlike other circuses, Zirka's core group of performers feature in most of the acts.
Never having seen Zirka Circus before I was unsure what to expect from the two-hour show but from the second the troupe of tumblers entered the ring I, along with the 7-year-old beside me, was awestruck.
My awe was represented in frequent jaw drops, my daughter's was more vocal, her excited gasps of "whoa mum, did you see that? Did you SEE that!" evidence of her approval.
The acts continually stepped up the difficulty stakes throughout the performance, bringing in props such as hanging hoops, cubes, balancing chairs and even roller-skates. But the routines were executed with such grace and fluidity they looked effortless.
The show took a step away from its acrobatic theme for the finale when a team of stunt riders roared into a giant globe in a seemingly death and gravity defying orbit. Again it was jaw dropping stuff.
While the show was light on other traditional circus acts – there are no animals, no trapeze artists, no tightrope – it did not appear to matter to the audience.
The performers, including a 10-year-old who must be made of rubber, made contorting their bodies and flipping through the air seem so easy.
I've no doubt that dreams of running away to join the circus were awakened in more than a few of the younger and maybe even the older members of the crowd.
Brooke Pokoney-Stephens says: "I thought the motorbikes were pretty cool because they went upside down. I liked the acrobats, too. I liked how they went upside down on chairs. I liked the man who went backwards on the chair and the people who bounced on the seesaw and went really high."
Stanislaus County Fair will not reduce admission price

Modesto Bee - (DARRYL BUSH/ - The Stanislaus fair lost $240,000 in state funding, but it’s finding ways to stay budget-friendly.

By Patty Guerra

From: Modesto Bee

Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012

TURLOCK -- A few changes are in store at the Stanislaus County Fair this year, but a major cut in admission price, as Merced is doing, is not in the offing.Merced County Fair officials recently announced that they are chopping the general admission price in half, to $5."People in our community have less money to spend on entertainment, but folks still want and need to have fun," Chief Executive Officer Tom Musser said in a news release. "We are being responsive to the community's needs by charging less for everyone to come in the fair gates. We're making it more affordable for more families to come and enjoy the fair." Read more here:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Senior's wish to go to circus granted

Special to The Gazette

Sterling House resident Frances Hambright is shown at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus in Charlotte on Feb. 2. Hambright, 79, had never been to a circus before.

By Sarah Thompson


February 25, 2012
Frances Hambright was eating lunch at the Sterling House of Shelby when a woman dressed as a clown danced in, delivering popcorn, balloons and a large ticket for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus reading “Admit One.”
Just a few weeks later, Hambright’s unique wish to go to the circus came true.
“It was everything I thought a circus would be like,” she said.
Hambright, her two daughters and Heidi R. Vassey, life enrichment coordinator at Sterling House, received VIP treatment to see the bottom floor and backstage. They met the circus performers and tried on the outfits used in the show.
Jeremy Bloom’s Wish of a Lifetime program is offered to residents of Brookdale Senior Living communities, including Shelby’s Sterling House.
“We try to make a wish for each of our residents,” said Vassey.
Making a wish
Hambright told of how her friend, Shirley, had encouraged her to make a wish after her own had been fulfilled a year ago. Initially, Hambright couldn’t think of anything she wanted, but an idea struck her.
“I’ve never been to the circus and I’m 79 years old,” she recalls saying to herself.A year later, Hambright was surprised in the lunchroom at the Sterling House with the ticket to the Ringling Bros. circus.
On Feb. 2, she traveled to Charlotte with members of her family and Vassey from the Sterling House.
Despite the dazzling acrobatics and the exotic animals, the show itself did not stand out to Hambright as much as another part of her trip did.
“One of the most impressive things was the way they treated me,” said Hambright. “People there at the circus met us at the door and showed us to our seats. It was wonderful.”
The group watched the Ringling Bros. show from their “perfect” position in the middle of the sixth row, in close proximity to elephants and tigers.
“We could see girls up in the air with ropes, and one young boy who was cutting scary flips on the outside of a barrel,” Hambright said.
Laughing, she related how she approached him after and said, “I told you to get down from there!”
Hambright was very thankful for the experience, and especially for the opportunity to spend time with her two daughters.
When asked if she would like to go again, Hambright responded with, “Of course, any time I get a chance! But that first time was special.”
She continued, “Don’t wait until you get as old as I am to go. Don’t wait until you have a walker. Take your children to the circus.”
‘Older people have dreams, too’
Sterling House strives to fulfill every one of its residents’ wishes within its own means and budget, and other requests are forwarded to Bloom’s foundation.
Previously, residents have met Earl Scruggs and the members of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Another made Krispy Kreme doughnuts. A couple adventurous residents even drove a racecar and flew an airplane.
In this case, Jane Ballard, sales and marketing manager at Sterling House, contacted the Time Warner Cable Arena and explained the circumstance to the staff.
“They jumped right on it,” she said.
Both the participants in the program and those who make it a reality are enriched when the wishes come true, said Sterling House staff.
The wishes that Sterling House makes come true may be among the residents’ last, and “it’s something we want to do for all of them,” Vassey said.
“Older people have dreams, too,” said Ballard.Read more: