2014 Convention



Saturday, June 9, 2012

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I saw this yesterday on Jim's "My Days are Circus Days" Blog.
And it reminded me of what the late Harry Fee, of Monkey Speedway fame,
used to tell Bill and Me when we had our backend stuff.
"If it weren't for Duct Tape you'd never get it up!"
Jim I hope you don't me using it.

Day in Photos: June 7, 2012

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 A stuntman practices the "Wheels of Destruction" at the Myrtle Beach Speedway in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

121st Merced County Fair: The fun's about to begin

Merced Sun-Star - BEA AHBECK/ 
Ride operator Omar Pedro, an employee of Butler Amusements, works on the carousel ride before the start of the Merced County Fair at the fairgrounds in Merced on Thursday. Organizers expect attendance to top last year's numbers.
Saturday, Jun. 09, 2012
The Merced County Fair is one of the region's oldest traditions. Since the early 1890s, residents have been celebrating community and culture with this multi-day event.

This year's fair officially starts Wednesday and will run through Sunday. The nightly programs feature live music, carnival rides, animals and food. 

"I think it signals the start of summer," said Diane Conway, spokeswoman for the Merced County Fair. "People embrace this fair. They like the old-timeyness and tradition." 
In an effort to make the fair more accessible to large families and others, officials have dropped the price of admission.

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The cost of the event has been reduced to $5 a day, down from last year's price of $10. Fair organizers are also offering five tickets for $16 to encourage attendance.

Fairground officials decided to move forward with the price drop despite losing state funding for the fairgrounds last fall.

"It's been more than 20 years since admission was five bucks," Conway said. "We really felt that with the economy, we wanted more people to be able to enjoy the fair. And so far, the response has been overwhelming. We've been selling a lot of presale tickets."

Read more here:


County Board backs ban on elephant performances at Alliant Center

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Broadway Bo amazes the crowd as he rolls across the floor on a barrel during a performance of the George Carden International Circus at the La Crosse
NICO SAVIDGE | Wisconsin State Journal | 608-252-6120
June 9, 2012
Circuses and other attractions that use elephants for entertainment would no longer be welcome at the Alliant Energy Center under an ordinance the Dane County Board approved Thursday night that bans new contracts for performances with the animals.

Animal rights advocates have said such shows are inhumane and abusive to elephants.

Sup. Al Matano, 11th District, Madison, proposed the ordinance, which in its original form would have immediately banned all elephant attractions from county facilities.

But since the Alliant Energy Center has a contract with the Zor Shrine Circus, which features elephants, Sup. Robin Schmidt, 24th District, Monona, proposed an amended version that would honor existing contracts but prohibit new or renewed ones.

The council passed the amended ordinance and sent it to County Executive Joe Parisi.

If Parisi approves the ordinance, the Alliant Energy Center would honor its existing contract with the Shrine Circus, which runs through 2020. But the circus would not be able to renew the contract — and no performance could receive a new contract — if elephants are featured.

The county could have risked a legal fight by enacting a law that invalidated an existing contract, according to Schmidt. Matano said he would have liked to do more, but accepted the compromise.

"We have eight years worth of circuses left, which is quite a few for a practice we've deemed inappropriate," he said. "But we're moving in the right direction."

Matano said he has not spoken to Parisi about the ordinance, but is "optimistic" he will approve it.

Kevin Gould, the Alliant Energy Center's interim director, said he was glad the board amended the ordinance to honor the current contract, but said it would limit the venue's ability to draw other circuses.

"It's business we would have booked that we won't be booking," Gould said.

The center has no other contracts for attractions featuring elephants, he said.
Read more:

Shrine Circus coming to Douglas County Fairgrounds
 The Alexandria Shrine Circus will be at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on June 22 with two shows at 2:30 and 7 p.m.

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Daniel Raffo will present his tiger act at the Alexandria Shrine Circus on Friday, June 22. (Contributed photo) 
 June 08, 2012
The Alexandria Shrine Circus will be at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on June 22 with two shows at 2:30 and 7 p.m.

The show will feature Daniel Raffo, a fifth generation circus performer, and his group of tigers.

Raffo began presenting animals at age 13. His feline cohorts consist of Siberian, Sumatra and Bengal tigers. He trains them for four years before they can join the act. The maneuvers that the tigers perform are extensions of their natural abilities.

George Carden Circus International presents family entertainment with a three-ring production. It is owned and produced by George Carden. He is the fifth generation in show business and has been in the circus business all of his life.

Adept in all areas of the circus, he started his own in 1981 and then purchased his father's circus and integrated the two.
The entire operation is housed between Springfield and Willard, Missouri. Carden's pride and joy are his elephants. He currently owns 10.

The circus travels more than 40,000 miles each year in the U.S. and Canada. The season lasts 42 weeks.
Tickets for children 12 and younger are $5 and adults are $10. Attendees may register to win one of six youth bicycles.
State Fair Meadowlands Will Be Quite a Ride 
Ride a batcopter, watch a trainer swim with sharks, and eat an alligator later this month.

June 8, 2012
New Jersey sometimes gets a bad rap when it comes to events that occur across the state; a situation that is completely without merit. Oh sure, we’re not as big geographically as our neighbors to the north and to the west, but we have two (count ‘em) two state fairs.

Patricia Buchanan is a PR representative for the one coming up soon: “This is State Fair Meadowlands, held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford from June 22 thru July 8. (The other "state fair" you’re thinking of is what’s also known as the Sussex County Farm & Horse Show, held in August up in Sussex County),” she wrote.

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Going over a bullet-point list of data regarding State Fair Meadowlands can be overwhelming at first. The event has been in existence for 26 years; there are over 7,000 bags of cotton candy sold at State Fair Meadowlands and over 5,000 corn dogs sold at the fair annually; almost 100 pig races annually (and this year marks a quarter-century of oinking racers); over 1,300 people hypnotized annually at the fair (presumably not while they’re racing pigs, however); and perhaps just as importantly, each year, the fair generates almost $1 million in sales tax for the state of New Jersey.
There is a lot of it to experience, so we’ve made it this installment of Day Tripper, a weekly look at destinations that are out of town, but in reach, and worth the trip.

Friday, June 8, 2012

San Mateo County Fair Kicks Off this Weekend 

The Yoyo in full swing at the 2011 San Mateo County Fair. Credit James Tensuan 
This year's theme is 'Where Tradition Meets Innovation.' Pre-sale tickets save you money and are available through June 8. 
By Jennifer van der Kleut 
June 7, 2012 
ummer is in full swing in San Mateo County, and the fun continues this month with the San Mateo County Fair, opening this Saturday and running through June 17.

The San Mateo County Fair has been a tradition since 1926. This will be the fair's 78th year in its current location at the San Mateo County Fairgrounds, at 1346 Saratoga Ave. in San Mateo.

This year's theme is "Where Tradition Meets Innovation," which organizers explain on the website as this:

"The San Mateo County Fair is excited to use what was great in the past to bring out the best for the future. By keeping the foundation of what the Fair's values were built on, we continually change and grow to make it even better than before, especially with unique, modern ideas to add to the plate.

"Even having the annual Fair allows the community to continue the tradition of the Fair experience for generations to come. The Fair staff cannot wait to show what they have prepared for you!"

Patch has sussed out all the details of this year's County Fair for you. Read below for highlights of this year's carnival rides and attractions, competitions, exhibits and more.
read more at:
Weather: San Diego County Fair
June 7 2012

View more videos at:

Saving Money at the San Diego County Fair
Enjoy yourself at the fair without breaking the bank

Fair-goers enjoy a ride at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar California. The fair features games, rides, live entertainment, livestock shows, food and much more and is within the 10 largest fairs in North America.(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Source: Saving Money at the San Diego County Fair | NBC San Diego 
By Keisha O'Neal and Sarah Grieco
Friday, Jun 8, 2012
It's the weekend thousands of San Diegans have been waiting for all year - the San Diego County Fair opens Friday at 11 a.m.

While a day at the fair for a family of four can be pricey, there are ways to visit the  this year without causing too much damage to your bank account. By planning accordingly you can go and have a good time while saving money.

On Tuesdays during the fair, children 12 and younger are admitted free.
 Purchase a Passport to Savings booklet at your local 7-Eleven, which has promotional savings range from a free ticket to discounts on food, rides, games and products.
 Take the Coaster to the Fair, and save money with our Weekend Fair Tripper combo ticket. For just $15, you get a round-trip fare on the train, a shuttle from the train station to the West Gate, and adult fair admission. You'll save up to $9, plus you won't have to pay for parking fees. It’s valid Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays – on Fridays, the Coaster has late-night trains!
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For many performers, circus is their life

Telegram photo by Cole W. Eberle 
Gabby Fernandes is seen during a performance called Spanish Web Wednesday afternoon during the Carson & Barnes Circus
By Jesus Lopez-Gomez | 
Thursday, June 7, 2012
COLUMBUS — The first thing audiences saw as they took their seats at the Carson and Barnes Circus at Platte County Agricultural Park Tuesday evening was the clown Alex Acero.

His modest height gives him an adolescent appearance that he exploits in shows by donning red parachute pants and overdone face paint below a gravity-defying single long lock of hair that sticks straight out like an antenna.

His voice was raised a few octaves over the public address system giving him a chipmunk-like voice as he delivered the rules.

“There will be absolutely no, no, no smoking,” he said with a child’s self-conscious defiance wagging a finger.

Acero performed in Brazil before joining Carson and Barnes four years ago, where he does a little of everything. Before the show was over, the Columbus audience saw Acero perform on a trampoline, catch a bowling pin with his chin and turn his dog into a young girl.

“I have fun at my job,” he said. “I like making people laugh. I feel like it’s a game when I go on, not work. I just give thanks to God and go out there.”

Under the big top, the ringmaster summoned the first act: Jenny Walker.
Jenny Walker
 She performed the dog portion of her dog and pony act. Donning an impossibly sequined one-piece with excessively long fringes, she walked gallantly inside the ring smiling while dogs jumped easily through a hula hoop she held a few feet above the ground.

The moves are completed with such precision that it had to be the 408th time she had run the routine, although Walker smiled like she had just nailed the trick last week.
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Charioteers--Calliope Jane

Uploaded by nipsipone on Jun 12, 2008
Road Show 1941
The Charioteers were a black gospel group formed in Ohio in 1930 by Billy Williams (1911-72). By 1937 the group consisted of Williams (lead tenor), Eddie Jackson (second tenor), Ira Williams (baritone), Howard Daniel (bass) and James Sherman (piano). They recorded mostly negro spirituals for the Vocalion label until they signed with Columbia in 1940. Columbia wanted to remake the group into a pop rival to Decca's Ink Spots. Soon the Charioteers were in the pop music charts with their recording of Russ Morgan's 1940 song "So Long." Although they never achieved the phenomenal success of the Ink Spots, the Charioteers' gospel-pop sound did produce a total of 7 hits of their own in the 1940s and two more in support of other artists.
Shriners Circus offers ‘barn burner’ at Olney City Park

Kevin Ryden
The 46th annual Ainad Shriners Southern Illinois Circus was held Wednesday at Olney City Park. The event drew a huge crowd and featured tigers, elephants, dogs, clowns, acrobats and high-wire acts
By Kevin Ryden
Olney, IL Daily Mail
Jun 07, 2012
Olney, Ill. — 
The 46th annual Ainad Shriners Southern Illinois Circus drew such a large crowd Wednesday to the grandstand at Olney City Park that a local Shriner said it may have been the biggest turnout in the circus' history.
“It was a barn burner,” said local Shriners Chairman Joe Hunt. “It was the largest crowd we've ever had.” He added that it may have been the largest Shriners Circus crowd in recent history. 
Hunt said he heard no complaints and he credited the performers for putting on an entertaining show. 
“It was super packed. We had a great crowd,” he said. “It was just a great night.”
There were Shriners helping from surrounding counties and as far as from Marion and the Belleville area. Hunt said he has told Shriners that if there was  an evening of the circus when it came to town and there was decent weather, it would be a full crowd.
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Love at heart of circus
by: Cassie Monroe
Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Zoppé Italian Family Circus presents more than just breathtaking acts in its tent, it also tells its viewers a love story.

And the story begins 160 years ago with a young street performer, Napoleone Zoppé, who won the love of an equestrian ballerina, Ermengilda, despite her father’s disapproval and their dream to runaway and start their own circus.

The story will unfold for the first time at the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival, with performances by the Zoppé Italian Family Circus taking place Aug. 17-26.

“People don’t see our show,” said lead clown Giovanni Zoppé. “They feel it.”

The legend of how the Zoppé Circus started begins in 1842, in Budapest, Hungary. Napoleone was wandering about a plaza looking for work when he first laid eyes upon Ermengilda.

According to Giovanni, she was very beautiful and captured the audience’s hearts when she performed her dangerous tricks, gracefully, on horseback.

Although the two fell in love instantly, Ermengilda’s father disapproved of their relationship because Napoleone was just a clown and beneath his daughter’s station.

To be together, the two ran away to Venice, Italy. Ermengilda left behind her plush life to start a circus with Napoleone.
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Salute to The Red White and Blue

Published on Jun 7, 2012 by TheEdSullivanShow
Ed Sullivan will always be remembered for
assembling some of the most high profile and patriotic Americans to
honor our country. This program features classic versions of "God
Bless America," including one by Kate Smith, as well as an extremely
rare performance by Irving Berlin (the song's composer).
Also included in this special are performances by the U.S. Air Force

Drill Team, The West Point Glee Club, Charlton Heston reading a
'Lincoln Address,' Sgt. Barry Sadler singing his smash hit "The Ballad
of the Green Berets" and many other memorable performances. For more
Ed Sullivan Show DVDs visit:
Circus comes through town

By Nicole Dominique
Hillsdale Daily News
Jun 07, 2012
Hillsdale, Mich. — 
Children and adults alike enjoyed the majestic sights of the Circus Pages Tuesday night. The traveling circus offered two shows for the community to attend, with animals, acrobatics, clowns and stunts.

Circus Manager Yolanda Earhart said the production is in Michigan until mid-August, and will hit up about 45 locations.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Uploaded by hsinyicohen on Jan 25, 2010 / Honey & Lemon shared the same birthday - they came into our lives together, grew up together, played together, shared adventures together - and should have grown old together...but we lost Lemon to a mystery infection while she was staying in a cattery, in Jan 2009. She was only 5yrs old. For such a tiny cat, she has left a huge hole in our hearts - and an empty space by Honey's side. She was the night to Honey's day, the spice to Honey's sweetness, the devil minx to Honey's angel goodness - and she was a cat in a million.
Piccadilly Circus comes to Lilac City
 June 13-17

Foto from Balloonman's Files
Thursday, June 7, 2012
ROCHESTER, NH — Starting next week, the Rochester Fairgrounds will be filled with racing camels, balancing elephants, dancing zebras and daredevil acrobats.
From June 13 to June 17, Piccadilly Circus promises to amaze audiences with one and a half hours of performances, lights, music and special effects.
One of the animal features of the show will be racing camels, the largest herd of performing camels in the world.
Oka, a 9,000-pound Asian elephant, will stand atop a three-foot-high round ball and roll across the circus ring, showing the amazing balance of the giant animals. Oka will be joined by a herd of African and Asian elephants, as well as dancing zebras.
The Romanian Olympic High Bar Team will perform feats that prove why these athletes are deserving of all their medals.
A giant catapult will send acrobatic daredevils flying high in the air, while others will dive from the heights of the European Big Top, which soars 80 feet in the air.
Every seat inside the climate-controlled Big Top is theater-style, and audiences will get a feel of being close to the performers.
\Residents are encouraged to come early with their families and enjoy the Circus Fun Zone with elephant, camel, and pony rides, as well as a free petting zoo that starts one hour before show time.
From June 13 to June 16, performances will begin at 4:30 p.m. and at 7:30 p.m. On June 17, shows will begin at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.
For more information, visit, or call 877-373-0477.
All seats are general admission. Advance deals include free admissions for children and two-for-one adult tickets.
Remember When? First Ainad Shrine circus was 1922 
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The Great Cahill, one of the acts in the first Ainad Shrine circus in January 1922.
By JOHN BLONDELL Ainad Shriners of Southern Illinois
June 7, 2012 
The Ainad Shriners’ first circus — a tradition that continues today in several Southern Illinois communities — started on Jan. 21, 1922.
Known as the “Shrine Circus and Arabian Fete,” the circus wowed spectators for period of eight days with a break on Sunday, Jan. 22. The John W. Moore Co. from Chicago provided the circus entertainment.
A Shrine parade was scheduled for opening night, but due to weather it was canceled. The streets were covered with snow and ice.
There were special nights for public admittance, with each performance starting at 7 p.m. Opening night was on Jan. 21; Stock Yards Night was Jan. 23; Suburban Night was Jan. 24; Club Night was Jan. 25; Southern Illinois Night was Jan. 26; and Get-together Night was Jan. 27. The closing and Awards Night were on Jan. 28.
 At the time, the circus was held at the new Union Trust Bank Building in East St. Louis, at the corner of Collinsville and Missouri avenues. Spotlights illuminated the new building as to “flood” the exterior of the building as well as project into the night's sky.
 The Nobles created their own stages, lighting and backdrops for all of the circus performances, and the overall theme was Arabian with Shrine colors.
They created an Arabian village for concessions. The Nobles who were businessmen, grocery store clerks, meat packers, railroad engineers all became hot dog vendors, popcorn makers, hucksters and hosts to the public.
 There were five major acts that traveled from Okmulgee, Okla., and entertained the Shiners at their stated meeting on Jan. 20. The circus had just finished a performance for Bedouin Shriners in Oklahoma.
 The circus performers included the ABI-DELA, an acrobatic Arab troupe, and the Great Cahill, who provided the sensational cloud swing with nightly trapeze performance.
 Ariel Thompson was the “King of the High Wire.” The Great Mad Company intrigued the crowds with mystery and magic shows. And “Jan Albert” was spotlighted as the “Tallest Man in the World”; he was 6 feet, 6 inches tall.
 Jazz concerts with dancing were held In the evening of each circus performance.
 The circus held a raffle for three cars, all different models for 1922 — an Oakland Sport Six, Auburn Beauty Six and Hudson Phaeton. The winners were from Alton, Carmi and Edwardsville.
 Also as part of the circus, a popularity contest was held. The contest started three days before the circus and ended with final judging on Jan. 28.
 There were 26 young ladies who submitted entries for the contest, as well as 21 babies. These ladies came from throughout the area, including Belleville, East St. Louis, Lebanon ... even up to 150 miles away from East St. Louis.
 The ladies had to be of “good character,” and babies up to 7 years old. Each contestant had to be sponsored by a Shriner.
 More than $1,000 in prizes had been given out on the last night of the circus.
 Ms. Veronica Gilligan from East St. Louis was the winner for the young lady contest. She received a $500 diamond ring — solitaire cut and a little over a karat — for winning.
 Baby Charles Snider won the baby contest and received a $50 diamond ring. The runners-up received $25 and $10 diamond rings.
 The Noble who sponsored the winner of the popularity contest received lifetime membership in the Shrine. The Noble who sponsored the winner of the baby contest received a pair of Shriner cufflinks.

 In the beginning, ticket sales for the circus were slow. The Nobles of Ainad Temple stood out in the January cold and went to the street corners of East St. Louis to sell the tickets one week before the circus opening.

The Nobles wanted to beat the record, and many of them came back two to three times to sell the 50-cent tickets. The community supported them but fell short of the goal.
 The total gross for ticket sales was approximately $30,000.
 Noble Wallace Watkins, secretary of the circus in 1922 and captain of the Arab Patrol, said he was proud of his Arab patrol boys who were selling concessions.
“Behold, what splendid body of barkers my war dogs are.
“Selling those hot dogs.
“See the precision of their march and counter march behind the concession counters.
“Note the accuracy of their charge and recovery of every nickel and the dime.
"Verily, my efforts have been fruitful.”

State fairs and festivals now required to have permit
Elisabeth Rentschler
Wednesday, 06 Jun 201

73rd Colusa County Fair opens Thursday

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By Todd R. Hansen/Tri-County Newspapers
June 6,m 2012
Colusa County, CA--
The 73rd annual Colusa County Fair officially opens today.

Dozens of FFA and 4-H students have been bringing in their animals since the weekend, and the judging process is well under way.

The midway has been constructed, the buildings are being filled with exhibits, and the odd sounds of the sea can be heard as well.

The fair is about tradition, mixed with new ideas and new exhibits and new memories.
Activities kicked off with the Miss Mini Miss contest on Wednesday night. Fourteen more young women take the stage this evening with the dream of becoming the next Miss Colusa County.

"There are always unique things, but that is not the essence of the county fair, which is the spirit of the community," said fairgrounds Chief Executive Officer Susan Clark.

For the first time, for example, local artists will not only show their work and compete against other artists, but they will be allowed to sell their work, too.

The program is being run through the Colusa County Arts Council, and the only restriction is, a buyer cannot take the piece until after the fair is over.

Another first for the fair is the Mr. Cinderfella Pageant at 8:30 p.m. Friday at the grandstands.

It is being run by the Junior Fair Board, and at last count, six young men will compete for the title.

Fireworks will follow the event— also a first for the fair. That was part of the carnival package brought to the fair by Johnston Amusements of Elk Grove.
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Circus comes to town

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Roger Zhang -- THE BATTALION
The Ball of Death has multiple motorcycle riders in a steel mesh sphere. 
By Kalee Bumguardner
Updated: Thursday, June 7, 2012
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will perform “Barnum Bash” in Reed Arena Friday through Sunday. Circus acts include acrobats, clowns, gymnasts, a strong man and, of course, animals.

“All the acts are very impressive, but I’d have to say the animals are my favorite,” said Virginia Tuells, one half of Duo Fusion, a hand-balancing act. “A performer has to do difficult stunts, but when you see the animals, it adds an extra ‘Wow.’ And, I have to say, we have a clown from Russia and he’s taking the audience all through the show, doing very funny things. I love his act.”

Tuells and her husband, Ihosvanys Perez, have been gymnasts since they were children, and joined the circus to do something a bit more artistic. Part of their hand-balancing act includes a tango. The pair put a spin on traditional lifting acts, however.

“It’s a really different act because the man always lifts the woman, and in Duo Fusion I lift him,” Tuells said. “I weigh about 100 pounds, and my husband weighs 145. I lift him in high heels, so it makes the act a little bit different, and sexy.”

Tuells said the hardest part of the act for her is the end, because by then she’s a little bit tired but needs to be super focused for the finale.

“It’s hard because I don’t have the same strength he does, but you just practice and get a good technique,” Tuells said. “And it’s nice because the people in the audience are always cheering, and it makes me feel special because I know that I am doing something that not everyone is able to do.”

Part of the “Barnum Bash Gold Edition” show is that audience members are only feet away from the action.

“I think being closer, audience members can appreciate our act more,” Perez said. “They realize that it’s not an illusion and that Virginia is doing most of the lifting. We also love feeding off of the energy of the audience and seeing their reactions.”

When asked about their favorite circus memories, many Aggies shared the same sentiment that elephants are the best act, relating the circus to the Elephant Walk tradition at A&M.

“I think the tie-in is cool that [the elephants] are at A&M,” said senior accounting major Michael Ariza. “[It’s] pretty entertaining.”

 The circus also includes a pre-show party, where the audience can go backstage, meet the performers and get pictures and autographs. While backstage, audience members can also learn juggling and balancing skills from a clown and get a close-up view of the animals, all of which is included in the price of their ticket.

“I am so excited,” said Christie McKinney, Class of 2012. “I’m going to the pre-show to meet the clowns. I love circuses. I can’t wait to see the elephants because they’re so big and cute. It’s cool to see them do tricks.”

State fair owner may sell land

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06 Jun 2012
CAROLINE, Va. (AP) - The State Fair of Virginia and The Meadow Event Park could change hands again.

Universal Fairs LLC president Mark Lovell bought the 150-year-old fair's intellectual property and the event site at an auction for $5.67 million on May 22. He tells The Richmond Times-Dispatch  that a group later approached him with an offer to buy the fair and the event site in Caroline County.

Lovell says he made a counteroffer. If the group accepts it, the property will be sold.

He didn't identify the potential buyer.

Lovell says he planned to operate the property as a "full-event facility" with the fair and other activities, such as trade shows. But if the price is right, he's open to selling the property.


Hey, What’s Up With That? 

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John Kennedy (Eggroll) Kane was destined for the circus
Business First by Elizabeth Carey, Broadcast reporter 
Date: Friday, June 1, 2012
Meet Kanen the Human Volcano!
 Not many people can put the title “fire-eater” on their resume, but John Kennedy Kane did just that at the young age of 18.
 It’s one of many claims to fame for the South Buffalo resident, whose incredible career has taken him from circus life to the theater and right back into the circus ring.
 While his titles have gone from fire-eater to playwright, Kane has earned many nicknames along the way.
 “The nickname Circ I’ve had since I was 8 years old because I talked about joining the circus,” he said.
read more at:
Boldly, a circus tent is pitched near Times Square

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Associated Press
Tuesday, June 5, 2012 
This undated theater image released by The O+M Company shows a scene from a performance of the circus-turned-burlesque show "Empire," from the traveling troupe Spiegelworld. Billed as an acro-cabaret variety show, each show is housed in a temporary spiegeltent, a hand-hewn pavilion used as traveling dance halls, bars and salons in the early 20th century. Spiegelworld has added a bar and a lounge area. (AP Photo/The O+M Company, Thom Kaine)
Read more:
Circus Flora performers visit CityGarden for lunchtime show
Written by Katie Maassen
Jun 5, 2012
St. Louis, MO (KSDK) -- Stars of the beloved Circus Flora made a special lunchtime visit to CityGarden in downtown St. Louis on Tuesday.
Families and friends crowded the park to watch the special lunchtime engagement the performers had lined up.
The event featured a few favorites from this year's production 'The Wizard', including the Bertini Troupe on unicycles, several four-legged friends with Luciano's Pound Puppies, jugglers with the St. Louis Arches, Nino the Clown, and Shayna Swanson on the cyr cycle.
This performance gave on-lookers a small taste of what they can expect under the big top in Grand Center.
Circus Flora performances in St. Louis continue through June 24. For more information, visit
(South Africa)

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Attached is a picture of the McLaren Circus artists taken at Howick in KwaZulul-Natal today.
First on the left is American Casey McCoy, the animal trainer seen with a cub tiger and 
Miss Nikkita of Australia who performs astounding aerial trapeze acts stands in front of David.
 Pity the picture was not taken from more close up.
Denzil McLaren

“Circus Flora” a Big Top of Circus Celebration
Harry Hamm
June 5, 2012
Before Circus Flora began on opening night, Artistic Director and Producer Ivor David Balding (he likes to be called David) personally introduced this year’s new show, “The Wizard,” and reaffirmed the Circus’ steadfast dedication to maintaining the highest standards of circus custom and entertainment.

Tradionally, Circus Flora has always built their repertoire of displays and acts around a story. This year’s tale is that of Camelot.

Among the featured acts is The St. Louis Arches, a fast-moving group of youngsters from St. Louis who run, tumble, somersault and flip with amazing skill and precision.

The Flying Wallends, arguable the most daring and fabled high wire act in the history of the circus world, are the highlight of the evening on the high wire. They are the kind of act that scares you to death, but you can’t take your eyes off them

Circus Flora is a single ring sensation performed in an air-conditioned tent that gives the audience the definite impression that the show was built exactly for them, and it was. The ticket prices are very affordable, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. As David Balding himself says, “It’s a circus about family, beauty, magic and inspiration.
It’s all that and more at Circus Flora. 

Circus Flora performs on the parking lot behind Powell Symphony Hall. For performance times, ticket prices and information on special programs and activities, click on the link below. Step right up, because the circus is back in town. 
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Vicksburg Old Car Festival kicks off Friday; circus planned for Sunday

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MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette file
The Vicksburg Old Car Festival in 2010.
by Tom Haroldson 
Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette 
June 06, 2012
VICKSBURG, MI — At least 1,200 vintage vehicles, 10,000 people and the circus will be coming to Vicksburg this weekend.
It’s the 32nd annual Vicksburg Old Car Festival Friday and Saturday, and along with the regular appearance of old cars and trucks will be a circus brought into town as a fundraiser by the Vicksburg Rotary Club on Sunday.
“We’re working with the Rotary to help promote the circus,” said Virgil “Skip” Knowles, organizer of the Vicksburg Old Car Festival along with his wife Carol. “It’s a car festival weekend and we think the circus is an added draw to bring people to the village.”

The Vicksburg Old Car Festival, sponsored by the Vicksburg Community Association, draws on the strength of more than 130 volunteers to put on a big event in the small town. 

Vehicles of all makes, colors, years and sizes pull into town and park all over the downtown area. People walk the streets to look at the jalopies and muscle cars, or take advantage of various other activities around town including an arts and crafts show in Clark Park, touring restored buildings at the Vicksburg Historic Village, having a pancake breakfast at the fire station, ice cream social and chicken dinner at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church or buying a used book at the Vicksburg District Library.

It all starts Friday with Cruise the Drive-In from 6-10 p.m. Basically people drive around downtown in their old cars and trucks and take part in a vintage ‘50s drive-in reminiscent of the movie “American Graffiti.”

On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the festival pops the clutch in anywhere from 500 to 1,200 hotrods, souped-up jalopies, historic-vintage vehicles like the Model T and a few other unusual motorcars and trucks. The vehicles come from several states.

Returning this year is Irv Gordon of New York, who is in the Guinness Book of Records for his 1966 Volvo that has nearly three million miles. Gordon has been seen on various network programs and in national publications, and has come to the Vicksburg festival several times, though he missed last year.

“Irv is an old friend of the old car fest,” Knowles said. “I joke that we’re the ones who made him famous.”

This year the Midwest regional meeting of Hudson car owners — an automobile started by the J.L. Hudson family and featuring the Wasp and Hornet — will be in Kalamazoo and it’s likely they will be having a driving tour through Vicksburg sometime in the early afternoon.

“They asked if we could reserve some parking for them and I said absolutely,” Knowles said. “They will have a special spot on North Main Street near the Corvette Chorale.”

Live music is also a regular activity for the festival and this year will mark the return of a northern Indiana popular ‘60s band called the Kingpins. They will be playing on Saturday along with the Vicksburg High School Jazz Band.

As always, the festival is free. Knowles said that families can come, pack a lunch and not have to spend a dime.

“You don’t need any money to have a good time here,” he said.

You will need money to attend the circus, though. The Vicksburg Rotary Club is bringing the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus — big-top and animals — to the old elementary school playground on South Kalamazoo Avenue for two shows at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $6 and $9 in advance and can be purchased at the old car festival and from Rotary members. At the door, tickets will be $7 and $12.

The fundraiser is a chance to take advantage of the old car festival’s draw of people to downtown, said David Aubry, representing the Rotary Club. It will feature hour and a half circus performances under Big Top. People can come in the morning from 9- 9:30 a.m. to see the set up.

“The last time circus was in town was 20 years ago,” Aubry said. “It’s going to be a huge weekend in Vicksburg.”

Circus moving through O.C. promises 'unique experience'
Published: June 5, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Circus coming to Bedminster in first aid squad fund-raiser
Monday, June 4, 2012

BEDMINSTER TWP. - A real circus Big Top with tigers, elephants, camels, clowns, acrobats and more is coming to town in just over a week.
In a novel fund-raiser for the Far Hills-Bedminster First Aid Squad, the Kelly Miller Circus will perform two shows on Sunday, June 17, at River Road Park at Route 202-206 and River Road.
Tickets, which are on sale locally, are $10 for adults and $6 for children if bought in advance, and $15 for adults and $7 for children on the day of the event.
“We have not done anything like this before,” said Patty Segal, vice president of the squad. “People usually meet us through illness or injury, and we wanted to bring in a fun family event where people could see us in a different way.
“It is so affordable,” she added. “It’s hard to do anything with the family at these prices anymore. It’s a fun day and it’s not going to hit you in the wallet.”
The Kelly Miller Circus, based in Oklahoma, was founded in 1938, according to its web site. The show travels on a fleet of 25 vehicles and its Big Top has a seating capacity of 1,500 seats.
The show features, among other things, an exotic display of animals, ponies, performing dogs, jugglers, trapeze performers, theatrical lighting and circus music, the web site said.
On the morning of the event, at 9 a.m., the circus will invite the public for a free viewing of its efforts to raise the Big Top with the help of its elephants.
The shows will follow at 2 and 5 p.m.
Segal said the squad happened to be looking for a different type of fund-raising event when it was contacted by the circus. “We thought it was a pretty good match.”
The squad kicked off its promotion on Friday, June 1, when two circus clowns distributed donated tickets to autistic children at the Somerset Hills Learning Center on Burnt Mills Road. The clowns also performed at local pre-schools and the Clarence Dillon Public Library.
“It’s a pretty amazing event,” Segal said. “We know that people who have heard about it are excited.”

SHEFFIELD,UK: Circus animal rights concern 
Sheffield Telegraph online 
Monday 4 June 2012 10:13
CIRCUS performers are coming to Sheffield - but the shows have caused controversy with animal rights activists.
Zippo’s Circus is setting up its big top at Endcliffe Park and will be putting on shows from Thursday until Tuesday, June 12.
But campaign group Animal Defenders International has called for a boycott due to the use of animals.
Jan Creamer, chief executive of Animal Defenders International, said: “Animals have to endure constant transportation and live in rudimentary, temporary accommodation. We urge people to only go to circuses with human only acts – those acts have a choice.”
Zippo’s said it complies with all current animal transport regulations.

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Auburn-Williams Lions bringing circus to town
June 23

by John Becker
Monday, June 4, 2012 
Auburn, MI will host a circus on Saturday, June 23, thanks to the sponsorship of the Auburn-Williams Lions Club. The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus will be in town for two performances officials say will transform Auburn City Park into a bustling circus city.
“I hope people take advantage of this,” said Dale Gripentrog, a Lions Club member. “I know my grandchildren will. I’ve been a resident of Auburn for 35 years and we’ve never had a circus in town, so I’m very excited about it.”
Shows are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. June 23, but people are invited to Auburn City Park from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. to watch the raising of the Big Top, the animals being unloaded and other pre-performance preparations.
A free tour and presentation will be offered during which families, schools and interested community members can meet circus performers and learn about the show’s history. This will include humble origins as a small show in 1985 to its current status as an internationally known one-ring show that has been featured on Entertainment Tonight, Nickelodeon and National Geographic’s Explorer TV series.
During the morning program, Culpepper & Merriweather officials will provide insight on the different species of animals in their circus family and the hygiene, grooming and veterinary care they all receive.
“We did a lot of research on this circus and came away with nothing but good reports,” Gripentrog said.
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Circus Flora shines again, with 'The Wizard'

Laura Lippert of Circus Flora rehearses with the company, Wednesday, May 23, in the big top tent in Grand Center. Circus Flora's 26th season presents its new show "The Wizard," May 31 through June 24 in Grand Center. Photo by Steve Truesdell
June 2, 2012 
Still going strong after all these years, Circus Flora opened its 26th season on Friday evening.
 Its latest show, the energetic and crowd-pleasing “The Wizard: Merlin & the Legends of King Arthur,” proved to be a perfect fit for the circus’s irresistible blend of mirth and magic. The performance attracted more than 900 people to the Grand Center venue.
 After remarks by artistic director and producer Ivor David Balding, Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, the stage was set for fast-paced fun. Clad in wizard garb, including a pointy hat, Cecil MacKinnon assumed her usual role as narrator. So what if the Arthurian theme could be stretched only so far? For true circus fans, this show is as close as it gets to Camelot.
 Aerialist-acrobat Shayna Swanson mesmerized the crowd with her imaginative maneuverings of a hoop. Her command of its trajectory seemed almost telepathic, but no less fascinating than her ability to go with its flow as she spun around inside it.
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The Flying Wallendas, internationally recognized as virtuosos of tightrope-walking, stylishly delivered their trademark brand of tension and release. It was impossible not to think of one of them falling, but just as impossible not to watch.
 The young, homegrown St. Louis Arches thrilled the crowd with feats of exhilarating athleticism that mocked the laws of gravity.
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