2014 Convention



Saturday, April 21, 2012


SNAPSHOT: Kora Shrine Circus
By Joe Phelan
Staff Writer 
Apr 21, 2012


Johnny Rocket turns after getting sprayed in the face by a tow truck during the Kora Shrine Circus performance Friday afternoon at the Augusta Civic Center. The circus continues today with show times at 9:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. 

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Alecia Michelle performs on the swing high above the rings in the Augusta Civic Center during the Kora Shrine Circus performance Friday afternoon. 
Staff photo by Joe Phelan 
HP Printer Commercial - Evian Babies - Brand New Key -
FROM: Casey Gibbs

Uploaded by nev6363 on Dec 8, 2010
HP Printer Commercial mixed with Evian Babies to Brand New Key / ive got a brand new pair of roller skates

Small circuses in small towns - a risky business?
By Julie Hanan
April 20, 2012
Summer’s right around the corner and, for many small towns, that means the circus will be coming to town.  Along with the peanuts and popcorn, here come some wild animals.  And that’s when the controversy begins.

Next month, Highlands Ranch, Colorado will be hosting the Carson & Barnes Circus.   Located in Douglas County, this town is recognized as being one of the most family-friendly communities in Colorado. They, like many other towns across the US, have chosen to host the circus as a "family entertainment community event."
Though many of the smaller circuses traveling the country may have questionable reputations, towns can be lured by the potential revenue to their city coffers.  When an appearance by the Kelly Circus (sister circus of Carson & Barnes) was pitched to Laconia, NH, a potential profit of $9,000 was projected for the city.
Continue reading on Small circuses in small towns - a risky business? - National exotic pets |

Circus Camels, Elephants Invade Dumfries

Camels and a host of other animals came to Dumfries as part of Piccadilly Circus. (Mary Davidson/
April 20, 2012 -
DUMFRIES, Va. – If you’re looking for a fun event that the whole family will enjoy, then consider taking a trip to the Piccadilly Circus in Dumfries from April 18 to the 22. This year’s presentation from the Piccadilly Circus, titled “Blast!” includes performing animals, acrobatic stunts.

In the Big Top, you’ll be able to see racing camels, a nine thousand-pound elephant balancing on a three- foot ball. In addition to the feats of these animals, you’ll be able to see the Romanian Olympic High Bar Team, who will perform acrobatic stunts like flying across the Big Top and diving from 80 feet in the air.

One thing that dad’s and motorcycle fans will be able to see at this circus is the motorcycle stunt, where the riders defy gravity. If you’re the kind of person to take a joke, then you’ll enjoy the Big Top comedian that will perform.

For those who reminisce about Evil Kenieval stunts of their youth, there will also be daredevils, and other stunts like the Russian swings, that will have you wishing you were more flexible. If you have smaller children, Piccadilly Circus also has a Fun Zone, pony rides, and a petting zoo.

The circus is located at Dumfries Shopping Plaza, at 17932 Frayley Boulevard, and is scheduled to hold shows from now until Sunday.

Having a little snack, Oka, is one of the main attractions at the Piccadilly Circus. Oka is a 9,000-pound Asian elephant. (Mary Davidson/

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As the sun sets, the big top starts to rise on the Piccadilly Circus tent in the Dumfries Shopping center. (Mary Davidson/

Circus entertains kids of all ages

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Tomatito the clown takes on Mighty Jack, the Boxing Kangaroo in the finale of the Star Family Circus at the Knox County Fairgrounds Thursday. The circus has two more performances, at 4 and 7 p.m. today. (Photo by Chuck Martin)
By Chuck Martin,  Mount Vernon News
April 20, 2012
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — This was no Ringling Brothers, but there’s something about a circus that appeals to children of all ages and the Star Family Circus, performing Thursday night and today at the Knox County Fairgrounds, was no different.

And the kids loved Thursday night’s performance, even without elephants, lion tamers or trained seals. Actually, the only animal performers were dogs and a boxing kangaroo.

But a clown, Tomatito (Little Tomato), kept the children laughing. Clowns aren’t subtle, and Tomatito’s whistles and exaggerated antics were right up their alley.

There was a variety of acts: A balancing act (the Rosales Family) on perch poles that rose into the building’s rafters, the Spanish Web (Darinka Abadilla), who performed on a rope hanging from the ceiling, Reyna Garcia and her performing dogs, Altiers Archers and a pair of young jugglers, Victor Abadilla and Gerard Rosales.

And that was in the first half. There were other acts as well (we wouldn’t want to give away everything), but the children enjoyed them all. As the jugglers were performing to a lively beat, a young boy, maybe three or four years old, could be seen dancing furiously on the edge of the crowd of kids around the performance area.

“Mighty Jack,” the Boxing Kangaroo, came out to the cheers of the children, who delighted in the “boxing” match staged with Tomatito. Jack won.

Children can be plenty vocal while the performance is going on, but ask them what they enjoyed and it’s like pulling teeth.

Benji Prez, 6, of Johnstown, said he was having fun and finally admitted the clown was his favorite part of the show, while his little sister, Kara, 4, liked her balloon. 
Read more: Circus entertains kids of all ages

Snohomish County remembers the '62 World's Fair

Associated Press file

Aerial views of the Space Needle and surrounding area in Seattle in 1962. The color really was orange.
By Gale Fiege, Herald Writer
from: heraldnet.som
April 20, 2012
It was all about the Space Age, the new world coming in the 21st century.

The 1962 Seattle World's Fair opened 50 years ago this weekend. Life magazine's cover headline read "Out of this World: Fair in Seattle." The Everett Daily Herald called it "Fantastic."

An estimated 10 million people from around the world visited the Century 21 Exhibition during its six-month run in Seattle, then considered a cultural backwater.

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The Cold War was raging, the race to space was on and America was about to change forever. As Linda McCullough, 75, of Edmonds, said, "It was a magical time."

Many folks from Snohomish County now in their 50s and older who attended the fair hold dear their memories of that time, of the hope of what could be.
"When I saw the modern kitchen, the moving sidewalk and the Monorail, I was sure I had seen the future," said Joyce Simpson, 69, of Mill Creek, who traveled with her family from Ames, Iowa, to Seattle. 

The fair, with themes of science and technology, ushered Seattle and the region into the world's spotlight. The stars of the day -- including Roy Rogers, Bob Hope and Elvis -- mixed with the crowds bustling through the fair gates. The biggest star of the fair, however, is still there.
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70th Annual Yaarab Shrine Circus and Carnival 
See Lion Dance, Magnificient Morris Elephants, high-wire, electrifying acrobatics, contortion artists, sword dancing, bungee acrobatics, camels, dogs and ponies performances, clowns and more. 

See Lion Dance, Magnificient Morris Elephants, high-wire, electrifying acrobatics, The Chinese Arial Pole, The Zerbini Liberty Horses, contortion artists, Rolling Globes, sword dancing, bungee acrobatics, camels, dogs and ponies performances, The Flying Preciados on the highwire, lots of Shrine clowns and more.
The Yaarab Shrine Circus and Carnival lasts for 10 days and goes through May 6.

On Thursday, April 26, the carnival will open a day early and charge $15 for unlimited rides that day. Monday through Thrusday is $20 unlimited rides and Friday through Sundayy is $25 unlimited rides.

A new savings for circus lovers this year is the launch of the Walgreen’s Advance Discount program. Advance discount tickets for the Shrine Circus and Midway Carnival ride packages, with advance savings up to 50 percent off, will be available to purchase at all metro-Atlanta Walgreens stores beginning April 1.

The circus opens at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27. Performance times are Monday through Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Gates to the carnival open at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; Saturdays at 10 a.m.; Sundays at noon. Gate admission to the Shrine Circus and Midway Carnival circus tickets are available at the gate: $10 for adults; $6 per child. Parking is $5.  
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Russian Circus celebs honored with Charivari Awards

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Zavialova Tatiana
Apr 21, 2012
A number of Russia’s outstanding circus performers were honored with Charivari circus awards on the eve of World Circus Day, which is marked on April 21st this year.

To collect their Harlequin statuettes circus performers walked along a red carpet to storms of applause and cries of welcome from the audience. The spectacular ceremony reminded many of the annual Academy Awards in Hollywood. The founders of the Charivari Circus Awards believe that could well become the circus equivalent of Academy Awards and should acquire international status. Rosgostsirk Director Alexander Kalmykov comments.

"The circus is an international art in the classical sense of the word. Circus performers were the first to travel abroad after Soviet artistes were allowed to go on foreign tours in 1956. Representatives of 12-15 countries are currently involved in various circus programs in Russia. Circus legend Vladimir Doveiko is preparing a stunt with trapeze artists from Kenya. Italy’s David Larible, who is deemed to be the world’s best clown at the moment, is currently working for the Moscow Circus. Russia’s Oleg Popov who is living and working in Germany has become a “truly German clown” for the Germans. It might happen that by the next Charivari Awards ceremony half of the award-winning artists and producers will be abroad."

One of the winners of this year’s Charivari awards is the Italian clown, David Larible. “Charivari” rings a fairly familiar bell with all circus performers. Alexander Kalmykov spells out the meaning of this word for those unfamiliar with circus slang.

“Charivari” used to be a popular introduction to a circus program. In order to introduce the audience to the program as a whole, the director invited all artists to the arena and asked each to show an excerpt of their performance.
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Italian National Circus extends Ghana visit to May 20

Vera on display, Photo: Daniel Kresnyak
By Danny Kresnyak/ 
Apr 21, 2012
Yecid’s clothes don’t fit him right, his shoes are four sizes too large, his left wrist sometimes pops out of place and always aches with arthritis. The mangled joint is a painful reminder of a fall he suffered at work. At the same job he’s had more than forty years, where every night his employer beats him and a gathered crowd of spectators applaud his humiliation. 
This may seem exploitative, but Yecid has passion for his craft and hopes others find it silly. He’s a clown in the Darix Togni Il Florilegio Italian National Circus; his employer is the tiger-tamer and both say the Circus is more than work, it is a family and culture they will perpetuate.

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Francisco with his snake on stage Photo: Daniel Kresnyak
Yecid’s nomadic path began at birth in a caravan in Venezuela. His father is a trapeze artist and his mother dazzles audiences with graceful precision on the aerial silks (aka ribbon trapeze). “Her performance was the most beautiful,” he says, pausing a moment to wipe nostalgic tears from his face. “All eyes in the crowd were on her. It inspired me.” 
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Celebrate World Circus Day on Saturday

By MARY WESTON - Staff Writer
OROVILLE, CA — If you have ever thought about running away and joining a circus, you can test your performing potential this weekend. 
A local circus family is celebrating World Circus Day by offering a free circus on Saturday. 

The Kent Family Circus, made up of a real family from Oroville, will perform circus acts and sideshows and give lessons in circus arts to celebrate World Circus Day, said Victor Kent. 

"World Circus Day is to educate people about circus and to give circus a more positive image," Kent said. 
On April 21, the local event will coincide with World Circus Day events around the world under the oversight of the Word Federation of Circus under the patronage of Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Kent said. 
Adults and youth can test their skills on the tightrope and the trapeze during the circus. 
"It's going to be a hands-on event," Kent said. 
The circus includes trapeze, tightrope, magic, balancing, sword swallowing and other circus acts and sideshows. The family's two circus poodles Tater Tot and Belle the Wonder Dog will also perform. 
One performer will balance an 85-foot pipe on his head. 
The circus will roll from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot at the Feather River Recreation and Activity Center, 1875 Feather River Blvd. 
There'll be an open gym inside. 
Shaw Carter, gymnastics coach for the Feather River Recreation and Park District and others will offer free demonstrations and information about the programs at the gym, Kent 
The three youngest Kents take gymnastics classes at the gym. 
"Gymnastics is the forerunner for acrobatics," he said. 
Victor Kent and his wife and seven children live in Thermalito and spend part of the year in Kentucky. 
They travel to different states performing their circus acts. 
The Kent family will also present a big show at the State Theatre on May 11, called the weird show. 
Hobbie Auto center, Taco Bell and Anti Monkey Butt Powder are sponsoring the free circus. 
The city issued a proclamation Tuesday night recognizing April 21, 2012, as World Circus Day in Oroville. 
Kent said he would send the proclamation to Princess Stephanie.

Jennifer rides the Shrine Circus elephant
By Jennifer Wilson
Apr 19, 2012

Big top circus coming to Monroeville

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The “candy wagon” in the midway at the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus.  
Staff Reports  
Friday, April 20, 2012

The Monroeville,Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Park Board have teamed up to bring the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus to town for two performances on Thursday, May 24 - the first one to stop in the southeast Allen County area for 10 years.

A special behind-the-scenes look at how the Monroeville Community Park grounds are transformed into the one-ring “Circus City” is open to visitors Thursday morning. Circus crews will raise the tent and take guests on a free tour between 9:30 and 10 a.m. The tour is open to families, schools and interested community members who want to meet the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus family and take a walking tour of the circus grounds.

The big top circus will then perform two 90-minute shows at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Both the midway and box office will open at 4 p.m., with pony rides, a moon bounce, concessions and more.

This year’s circus lineup includes Miss Simone and her “amazing” single trapeze, Miss Lana’s feathered friends, Miss Paulina on the web, the Arlise Troupe on their “wild and crazy” unicycles, Angel Perez with juggling, the Silverlake’s “sizzling” whips, Karina and her hula hoops and the Perez Russian swing.
The Show Must Go On
by Paula Froehle

A Balancing Act in the Story of Aerialists
‘The Show Must Go On’ Looks at The Flying Wallendas

The Flying Wallendas, rehearsing for a tour in 2010, are the subject of “The Show Must Go On” by Paula Froehle. 
from: The New York Times
Published: April 19, 2012 
WHEN Paula Froehle started making her circus movie, she knew she’d be working without a net. But she didn’t know there would be an elephant in the room. 
“The Show Must Go On,” which has its premiere April 20 at the Sarasota Film Festival, is Ms. Froehle’s documentary on the Flying Wallendas, the aerial act led by Tino Wallenda-Zoppe, a grandson of Karl Wallenda, who headed the family’s high-wire dynasty from the 1920s till his death in 1978. The Wallendas were renowned for their seven-person pyramid — 25 feet above the ground — and for their grace under pressure. 

“One time, in South America, there was an earthquake while they were on the wire, and they stayed up,” Mr. Wallenda-Zoppe said of the original Wallendas. “In Fort Worth the lights went off for several seconds, which is an eternity when you’re up there. And when the lights came back, they were still doing the seven.” 

The Flying Wallendas in a performance in 2010.
But the Wallendas also became synonymous with tragedy: In 1962, during a performance in Detroit, the pyramid collapsed, killing two family members and leaving a third paralyzed. The routine was abandoned for years, until a younger generation recreated it in a 1978 made-for-TV movie, “The Great Wallendas.” 

“It was about the family and the fall of the seven,” Mr. Wallenda-Zoppe said by phone while en route to his chiropractor in Sarasota, Fla. “All the grandkids did that.” 

But the sense of family that long bound the Wallendas, who revived the pyramid in 2001, has disintegrated, to the point that there are now Flying Wallendas, Great Wallendas and World Famous Wallendas. Some factions in this very extended family talk to each other, some do not. 
read more at:
THEATRE REVIEW: Big Apple Circus gives audiences a reason to ‘Dream Big’. 

photo by BERTRAND GUAY/ BIG APPLE CIRCUS.The Shandong Acrobats from China are a spectacularly talented group who surprise audiences with their 11–man human juggling show.
   By R. Scott Reedy, correspondent 
GateHouse News Service 
Posted Apr 19, 2012 
Boston — You won’t find any elephants, never mind lions, tigers, or bears at the Big Apple Circus, but “Dream Big: Grandma’s Farewell Tour,” now at Boston’s City Hall Plaza, does capitalize on its intimate, one-ring approach to showcase beautiful horses, captivating canines, and some talented newcomers to the spotlight including a prancing porcupine, a happy-go-lucky hog, and a singing capybara. And you can’t help but listen when the largest and probably cutest rodent in the world is at the microphone. (Incidentally, fans of the Big Apple Circus with fond memories of Amy the Elephant will be happy to know that the popular pachyderm is now enjoying retirement in Florida.)

For this 34th edition, Big Apple Circus artistic director Guillaume DeFresnoy has enlisted the help of the designer/director team of Andre Barbe and Renaud Doucet to create a flight of fancy involving an imagination machination from which acrobats, jugglers, mechanical dolls, animal acts, and trapeze artists emerge. Also on hand is the legendary Barry Lubin who brings his warm and funny Grandma to life – in all her water-spitting splendor – for her final season under the Big Top. It is only fitting that Grandma invites one of her many fans from the audience to duet with her on the Nat King Cole classic, “Unforgettable.”

Shriners bring wrestling circus to Moody
By Shriners Wrestling Club
Special to The Daily News
Published April 20, 2012
 GALVESTON — The Shriners Celebrity Wrestling Circus will be at 4:30 p.m. April 29 at Moody Gardens, 1 Hope Blvd.
The national touring act combines a circus-like atmosphere, television’s biggest and baddest professional wrestlers and reality superstars for an entertainment spectacle unlike any witnessed before.
Combining the fun of the circus with the excitement and athleticism of professional wrestling, the Shriners Celebrity Wrestling Circus is a new form of family friendly entertainment.
Luke Robinson, one of the featured reality stars from USA Network’s “WWE Tough Enough,” will be in Galveston. 
The Shriners Celebrity Wrestling Circus is a new fundraiser for the El Mina Shriner’s Club. The Shriners are an international fraternity of about 375,000 members throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and Panama. 
In addition to the wrestling and circus sideshow, a cast member of the “The Hunger Games” will be on hand to sign autographs. He’s even stepping into the ring to compete and entertain.
Tickets are available through and the Moody Gardens box office.
Prices start at $10.

Canton Brothers Featured in WGBH Circus Documentary
Jacob and Nate Sharpe appear in "Circus Dreams" to be aired on WGBH this Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
April 19, 2012

A new documentary "Circus Dreams" follows the juggling dreams of Canton brothers Jacob and Nate Sharpe and the dreams of other young circus performers.

WGBH will show "Circus Dreams" on World Circus Day, April 21, with repeat broadcasts on April 22, 24 and 25.

The documentary captures the teamwork and deep friendships at Circus Smirkus, the acclaimed Vermont-based youth circus, as the cast readies a brand-new show and takes it on the road for 70 performances in 14 towns over seven weeks. From the grueling training and rigorous rehearsals to the emotional final show of the season, "Circus Dreams" documents a magical summer for a group of extraordinary young people.

The magnetic supporting cast includes death-defying aerialists and two brothers on a quest to become the best diabolo jugglers in the world. We won’t reveal whether Nate and Jacob made it - you have to watch the film – but we will share that they went on to win multiple awards at one of the most prestigious circus competitions in the world: Le Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris.

They also both graduated from MIT. Nate is now a design engineer while Jacob is performing with Les Septs Doigts de la Main circus company in their Berlin-based show LOFT.

Fun for the whole family – and a must-see for circus enthusiasts – Circus Dreams is an entertaining and inspiring testament to the power of youthful dreams.

Join in the circus merriment when Circus Dreams is broadcast on WGBH 2 on World Circus Day, April 21, at 10pm. Circus Dreams will repeat on Sunday, April 22, at 10:30 am and then will show again multiple times on WGBH WORLD on April 24 and 25. Visit for broadcast details. To learn more about the film, please visit
Celebrating wedding in style

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Sanjay Chowdhury and Priya cutting the cake at the press club in Mangalore on Thursday. Photo: R. Eswarraj 
MANGALORE, April 20, 2012 
A unique feature of Jumbo Circus, which will be in town till this Sunday, is that it has a new couple whose height is less than 3 ft. 

The couple – Sanjay Chowdhury and Priya who are yet to complete three months after their marriage – cut a cake to celebrate their marriage at the press club here on Thursday, as others gathered prayed for their happy married life. An African circus artiste Rehema sponsored the cake for the couple. 

Mr. Chowdhary, 29, has been an artiste with Jumbo Circus for the past 10 years performing feats on the spring net and Hawaii flying trapeze. Mr. Chowdhury, who does know his exact height, said he could be “two feet something”. His wife was of the same height, he told The Hindu at the circus tent later in the day. They got married on January 25 in Kerala where the circus management had invited Ms. Priya, who worked for the other branch of the circus company. That branch is presently in Haryana, according to one of the managers Shashidharan Menon. 

Mr. Menon told The Hindu that Ms. Priya was not initially inclined to marry Mr. Chowdhury but agreed later after many persuaded her. But Mr. Chowdhury insisted that it was “a love marriage.” He said he had won the heart of his life partner through the cellphone. After their marriage, the circus proprietor allowed them to work in the same unit. “But that is not guaranteed always. Decisions are taken based on the demand (requirement),” Mr. Menon said.

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Spring Fair brings NASCAR activities, rock & roll to Puyallup 
Music-making and NASCAR are the themes of two new attractions at this weekend’s vernal version of the Puyallup Fair.

CRAIG SAILOR; Staff writer
Published: 04/20/12
Music-making and NASCAR are the themes of two new attractions at this weekend’s vernal version of the Puyallup Fair. 
Rock U: The Institute of Rock ’N’ Roll allows would-be rock stars to try their hand at a variety of instruments: electric guitars, drums and different sounds that are popular in music today. There’s even a foot-operated oversized keyboard. Think Tom Hanks in “Big.” 
“It’s for all ages. It should be interesting, even for teenagers,” said Karen LaFlamme, the fair’s public relations counsel. 
There will be no lack of car-themed events at the Spring Fair. New is the NASCAR Experience inside of Auto Alley. A simulator, built in a NASCAR race car, will allow you to test your skills against other drivers. There’s a simulator for kids as well. 
“It’s like going 190 mph and having the same experience as a race car driver,” LaFlamme said.
In the crunching-metal-and-busting-glass category, there’s the SlamFest Truck Demo Derby at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and the Big Car Demo Derby on Sunday afternoon. Today features a Monster Truck Show at 7:30 p.m. The shows cost extra ($16/$18 adults and $9 for children), but advance purchase of truck show tickets includes admission to the fair. Back this year is the popular monster fire truck, The Extinguisher, which you can ride for an additional $7. 

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Whether you call them loggers or lumberjacks, there will be plenty of deep woods action in the Timberworks Lumberjack Show. There are competitions in ax throwing, chopping, log rolling (on water), chainsaw carving and more. 
It wouldn’t be a fair without barnloads of kids cleaning, feeding and grooming the animals they’ve raised from little blobs of fur. And there will be plenty of newborn animals for oohing and ahhing: piglets, lambs, chicks and ducklings. 
Young people also will compete in the Northwest Junior Rodeo. Bareback riding, bull riding and barrel racing will be on the program daily.
The horse theme carries over into Fiesta Mexicana, which features food, music, dancing horses and dancing people. Numerous shows are held daily.
Animal-themed shows include those water-loving canines, DockDogs, and the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs whose name explains it all. Wee-size show animals include pygmy goats and miniature horses.
Midway rides, jam-filled scones and onion burgers round out the highlights. See a full schedule of entertainment and exhibits on the fair’s website.
Active, reserve or retired military folks should hit the gates today to get free admission with ID as part of Military Appreciation Day. Read more here:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

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Audience revels in opening performance as entertainers recount day

Mirror photos by Gary M. Baranec
A tiger dives through a ring of fire during the Bruno tiger act during the first performance of the Jaffa Shrine Circus on Monday.

April 17, 2012
By Zach Geiger ( ,
The Altoona Mirror 
Back-flipping dogs and high-flying trampoline stunts had the crowd laughing and gasping in suspense Monday morning on the first day of the Jaffa Shrine Circus.

As a trapeze artist twirled above the crowd and jugglers threw bowling pins, the audience, mostly comprised of elementary school students and their chaperones, watched in awe as the performers' moves were perfectly coordinated both on and above the stage.

When the clowns came out for the "Jaffa 500" in their cardboard "race cars" and ran around the ring on foot while crashing into each other, the scene was more symbolic of the event as a whole: controlled chaos.

The performers put on a great first show Monday morning, event promoter Bill Troxell. Despite any nervousness, the 11:30 a.m. performance went "very well for the first show," Troxell said.

"It's very good today," he said, looking out as the audience let out a collective gasp as a female performer - suspended from the ceiling only by her hair - twirled in the air above the ring.

Troxell said the acts, the ringmaster and the variety of the show makes it, in his opinion, a higher caliber performance than Ringling Brothers or any other circus event.

Behind the Jaffa Shrine, another large group of performers waited patiently in their own personal space - albeit an area slightly larger than the back stage room indoors. That's where the circus elephants, adorned in colorful costumes, were tended to by their caretakers as they awaited their turn in the spotlight.

Behind the stage, the performers - about 45 people in total, Troxell said - remained busy with costume changes and preparing props for their next act.

"It's a lot of fun and very fast paced," Rebecca Olate said. Rebecca, along with her husband, Richard, and son, Nick, described their Olate Dog Act as a very high-energy show that anyone with a pet dog in the family can relate to.

The crowd constantly laughed as the Olates led their dogs through different tricks, including back-flips and running up and down a large slide. At one point multiple dogs managed to "evade" their owners by escaping on a large scooter, much to the delight of the audience.

After the act, the dogs appeared much quieter as they rested up for the 7 p.m. show.

The 10 dogs the Olates brought with them for their performance will have time to run around and sleep between shows, Nick said.

"They even have their own trailer," Rebecca added.

Nick, a third-generation circus performer, said he is accustomed to life on the road and has been involved in the circus since he was born.

Two-year-old Violet Bertini also started her circus career young. Her brother, Vincent, is the star of the unicycle act, but Violet is also involved - she rides on the shoulders of her father, Roger, during the performance. Seated in a small wagon with the dogs from the Olates' routine, Violet seemed more content to pet and play with the puppies than rehearse her routine.

"We're like a big family," her mother, Kim Bertini, said. "Everybody tries to help each other."

That help could be seen as members of the Bertini and Olate families helped to move props and costumes from one location to another and shared a quick lunch between acts.

The majority of time between the morning and evening shows is spent catching up on food and sleep, Kim said.

After coming to Altoona from Wilkes-Barre on Sunday, the group needed to focus and relax before the second show - and some of the women planned to get manicures before the evening performance, she said.

Although the lifestyle can be hectic, the family would not have it any other way, she said.

"It's our way of life," Kim Bertini said. "Instead of my son out on a swing set and playing ball, he's out on the unicycle practicing."

Valley Fair board gives Pierce College farm $25,000
By Dana Bartholomew, Staff
from: L.A. Daily News
The Valley Fair board approved a $25,000 gift Wednesday to the historic Pierce College farm, whose operations have been affected by budget cuts. 

Support by the 51st District Agricultural Association coincides with the upcoming Pierce College Farmwalk community event and fundraiser on Sunday. 

"We're reaching out to Pierce," said Dan Jacobs, acting manager of the fair. "We want to show them we're really interested to promote agriculture and agriculture education. 

"We're giving the money, no strings attached." 

The 51st DAA, which overseas the Valley Fair, has been hoping to partner with the college to promote agriculture, stage livestock exhibitions and 4-H events. 

The state agency, which has nearly $3 million set aside from the sale of its Cal State Northridge fairgrounds, has for decades lacked a permanent site. 

Its beleaguered Valley Fair did not stage events in 2009 and 2011, and hosted a lackluster fair in 2010. 

A year ago, its board decided it would no longer host traditional fairs, but would focus on agriculture and livestock shows. 

No events are planned for 2012. 
Charleston, West Virginia

In 1950, an elephant fell out of a monorail in Germany

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In 1950, a three-year-old elephant named Tuffi was forced to ride a public monorail in Wuppertal, Germany. The animal was loaded aboard as a promotion for the Althoff Circus. This ride was supposed to be a lighthearted affair, but the world quickly learned that pachyderms and monorails simply do not mix.

Even though Tuffi was accustomed to train rides, the swaying tram upset the elephant such that she trumpeted, charged, and sent passengers scrambling for cover. 40 feet above the Wupper River, Tuffi decided that she had enough. The animal burst through a window and plummeted into the water below.

Miraculously, this monumentally bad plan to force an elephant to ride a monorail did not result in any fatalities, human or tetrapod — Tuffi (and some of the passengers) suffered only minor injuries. Although no photos exist of this incident, it has since been immortalized by the above, old timey, and widely circulated photo manipulation of Tuffi careening into the Wupper trunk-first.

[Werner Steinbach via Reddit]

Enjoy family fun at the Circus of the Orient in Crosby 

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Apr 19 2012 
by Janine Yaqoob, 
ROLL up, roll up – the circus is in town!
One of the country’s most spectacular and exciting big top shows Circus of the Orient will be entertaining youngsters and adults alike this week.

Performers opened the show on Monday and will remain opposite The Lakeside Adventure Centre on Cambridge Road until Sunday (April 22).

Children are being asked to become clowns to join in a global celebration to mark the third annual World Circus Day on Saturday.

By dressing up as clowns – or any other recognisable style of circus performer – they will be admitted free to the 2pm Saturday performance (when accompanied by a full-paying adult and subject to availability).

Featuring a galaxy of international circus stars from China, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic and the UK, the production is a mix of oriental and western elements creating a thrilling and laughter-packed show which will appeal to all the family.

There will be crazy clowns, breathtaking aerialists – and, making their first appearance in the UK, the multi-talented Red Dragon Chinese Acrobats. They will be performing an incomparable array of jaw-dropping acts.

Under the royal patronage of Her Serene Highness Princess Stephanie of Monaco, World Circus Day was set up three years ago to celebrate the magic of circus, and to promote its international importance as a performing art.

A Circus of the Orient spokesman said that by asking children to dress up it would make the occasion feel even more special for them and would focus attention on celebrating circus as an art form.

“The youngsters don’t have to be just clowns – they can dress up as any recognisable circus performer from glamorous aerial artiste to muscular acrobat,” he said.

“Because it is such a special occasion the producers felt that many girls – and perhaps boys too – would want to wear a more glamorous costume reflecting the colour and spectacle of circus.

“We hope that through events like this on World Circus Day, circus will always occupy a small place in the hearts of all the youngsters who join the celebrations.”

Performances take place at 4.45pm and 7.30pm on weekdays, 2pm, 5pm and 7.30pm on Saturday and 2pm and 4.30pm on Sunday.

There are no shows today (April 19).

State Fair Meadowlands Set for Kid-Pleasing Fun,
June 22-July 8

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By Mel Fabrikant    
Wednesday, April 18, 2012   

Featuring the largest Kiddieland in New Jersey, Free Animal and Thrill Shows, Geocaching and Family-Friendly Facilities

State Fair Meadowlands, home to New Jersey’s largest “Kiddieland” amusement area, is set to return for 17 days of fun for children of all ages this summer, running from June 22 through July 8 at the New Meadowlands Fairgrounds, next to the Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford. The fair will return with over 25-kid friendly rides – including the Rockin Tug, the Caterpillar Coaster, Construction Zone, Bumble Bee, and of course, the traditional Merry-Go-Round – as well as special fair games where kids of all ages can step up to win their favorite prizes. Have a picky eater at home? No worries, there is something for every kid to enjoy, from curly fries, chicken fingers and pizza to cotton candy, fruit smoothies and ice cream.

Once you’ve entered the fair, shows are free. Children will love Circus Maximus, a tent circus with acrobats and animal shows, as well as the Live Shark Encounter, an entertaining and educational water show with real sharks. Wild animal fans can check out The Big Cat Show, with gorgeous performing lions, tigers and ligers. And, kids will love cheering on the Racing Pigs as they snort their way around a hilarious racetrack.

New this year will be Geocaching, a real-world outdoor treasure hunt that will be a hit with every member of the family. Containers will be placed throughout the fair, filled with prizes, and fair goers will be able to use their GPS-enabled devices such as smartphones to participate as well as share their experiences online.

“For just $5 admission on weeknights and $7 on weekends and holidays, you can bring a child to State Fair Meadowlands and enjoy the country’s best live animal shows, circus performers, rock bands and petting zoo,” said Al Dorso, President of State Fair Meadowlands. “We even offer a ‘Kids Go Free’ night on June 27, where any child 12 and under gets into the fair for free.”

Also new this year will be children’s karaoke. For older children and teens, don’t miss the Skyride, as well as the BATCOPTER from the original Batman TV show, providing panoramic rides of the fair and New York City. On the evenings of July 3 and 4, fairgoers will be treated to State Fair Meadowland’s world-class fireworks shows. 

The fair also offers comfort stations, conveniently located in Kiddieland, with diaper changing and family bathrooms, as well as covered private areas for mothers and babies. For more information about the fair, bargain days and promotions, visit

About State Fair Meadowlands 

State Fair Meadowlands is the largest fair in the New York metro area, with over 150 rides and attractions occupying over 35 acres of fairgrounds plus parking. This year’s fair features thrilling rides, free entertainment – including the Big Cat Show, the Live Shark Experience and Racing Pigs – and acres and acres of food vendors. Special discounts and promotions include opening Dollar Night, Kids Go Free Night, Midnight Madness, Cheap Cheap Night and Patron Appreciation Day. Fair hours are Monday through Thursday, 6:00 p.m. to midnight; Fridays from 6:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., Saturdays from 2:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., and Sundays from 2:00 p.m. to midnight. Special hours on July 3 are 4:00 pm to 2:00 am, and on July 4, 2:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. On Friday, June 22, opening night, gates open at 4 p.m. This year, the fair is offering free parking Monday through Wednesday and just $4 all other days, including July 4. On June 22, opening night, parking is just $1. Visit  for more information.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

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Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival: 10-day event celebrates springtime in the valley

Apple blossoms in Shenandoah Valley signal start of Apple Blossom Festival. (Google Image / April 16, 2012)
April 17, 2012
April 27-May 6 celebrates spring and the Apple Blossom Festival in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley.

Since 1924, the blooming of apple trees has inspired residents there to drape the area in pink, white and green, according to a press release from festival planners.

What orginally started as a one-day affair has "blossomed" into a 10-day event, and this year, the 85th festival carries the theme, Rhapsody in Bloom."

Each year, the festival crowns Queen Shenandoah and hosts ifts Grand Feature Parade. The festival also includes 45 other events .. band competitions, dances, carnival midways, Cole Brothers Circus, 10K run, firefights events and more.

For a schedule of events, visit