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Friday, June 22, 2012


Gold Reef City Theme Park has brought the magic of the Big Top to Jozi for the winter holidays with the amazing McLaren Circus in attendance from 23 June to 15 July.
Featuring perky poodles and magnificent lions, incredible acrobats, hilarious clowns, astounding aerial shows and astonishing contortionists, McLaren Circus is one of the best circuses in the country. Founded by the McLaren brothers in 2005, the circus tours South Africa, bringing its magic and a range of acts from every corner of the world to every corner of the country.
*McLaren Circus is included in the entrance fee and runs twice daily in the Hippodrome at Gold Reef City Theme Park from 23 June to 15 July. For more information, contact Gold Reef City Theme Park on 011 248 6800, e-mail or visit
Your Ticket to Ride is now available at Computicket, so avoid the queues and book your Theme Park entrance ticket online today. Follow us @GoldReefCitySA on Twitter to keep up to date with Gold Reef City news and events.
Circus visits Schuylkill Haven

Andy Matsko/staff Photo
 Lisa the elephant pulls on a pole to raise the big top tent Thursday for the Kelly Miller Circus on the Island in Schuylkill Haven.
June 22, 2012
SCHUYLKILL HAVEN - The circus came to the borough Thursday.
Elephants, camels, llamas, horses, zebras, tigers and even dogs camped out on the Island as the Kelly Miller Circus from Hugo, Okla., set up their tents Thursday morning.
The circus had two shows, at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Kenny Frehafer, assistant borough recreation director, said the circus had been in the borough before seven or eight years ago.
"Our main concern was, 'Is it going to rain?' I didn't think there would be extreme heat today," he said shortly before the tent was put up, a job that takes about 2 1/2 hours because it includes the ring, the bleachers, lights and other structures inside.
Before the show, spectators could see the animals up close.
"I think it's fantastic, living in a small town, that something like this can come," said borough resident Maggi Fessler, 37. Her sons, Kaede, 9, and Grayson, 3, were with her.
Before entering the tent, aerialist Rebecca Ostroff gave a history of the circus and talked about the animals. An aerialist is someone who performs on a trapeze.
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Andy Matsko/staff photo
 A crowd gathers to watch the Kelly Miller Circus raise its big top tent Thursday in Schuylkill Haven.
Some children were surprised when they noticed Lisa, one of the elephants, not far away.
The 36-year-old, 8,000-pound elephant moved four poles into place one at a time as part of the big top being erected shortly after 9 a.m. Wearing a harness and pulling two chains attached to a skid loader, Lisa walked slowly forward, her ears flapping at times to keep cool. In about 15 seconds, once she started moving forward, each pole was in place. Lisa then moved backward briefly a step or two. A guide, Armando Loyal, was giving commands to Lisa, one of three elephants, the other two being Becky and Tracy.

The 39-foot-high European push pole tent required about 20 people to make it spring to life. All told, 93 people work with the circus, Ostroff said.
The group does "almost 500 shows a year" and starts in early February. Those who work the circus work seven days a week, Ostroff said. Normally, they spend one day at a location.
Ringmaster John Moss said the experience a circus can give is rare.
"It's live performance that is rare these days. It appeals to multiple generations," he said.
Each year, the circus travels about 15,000 miles, Moss said.
As her 2-year-son, Justin, stood in front of the llamas, Angela Watcher, 33, said her son was excited to attend the circus "because he's obsessed with animals."
Amy Troch, 37, and her daughter, Kasie, 6, both of Cressona, were at the Island at 8:30 a.m. in anticipation of the circus.
"I'm anxious to see the tigers," Kasie said.
The origin of the circus dates back to 1938. It was started by Obert Miller and his sons, Kelly and Dorry, according to a history of the circus at It has changed names over the years.
Zoppe Family Circus returning to Bolingbrook for shows July 12-15

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(Bolingbrook Park District, Handout / June 21, 2012)
Emily Miller
 Neighborhood News Service
June 21, 2012
BOLINGBROOK— The Zoppe Family Circus will return to Bolingbrook's Central Park in July.
Zoppe came to Bolingbrook last year and was a big hit, according to Dan Leahy, Bolingbrook Park District's marketing and communications manager.
"Last year there was a lot of emphasis on the acrobats and juggling," Leahy said. "And great music."
The Zoppe Family Circus has been around since 1842 and is filled with Old World Italian tradition, according to the Zoppe website.
"It's an authentic family circus," Leahy said.
Last year there was a strong emphasis on Nino the clown, and Leahy said he imagines there will be something similar to that this year. Audiences should not expect to see elephants, tigers and lions, but dogs and horses.
The Zoppe Family Circus sets up a tent for 500 people and tells an intimate story rather than presenting a show based only on individual acts. According to the Zoppe website, the circus features acrobats, equestrian showmanship, dog tricks, Nino the clown and audience participation.
Performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 12 and Friday, July 13, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, July 14 and 1 p.m. Sunday, July 15. Each show will have two 45-minute acts.
"It's about as long as a kid's movie," Leahy said.
Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for seniors and youth ages 3-17. Children 2 and younger are free. Tickets are available at all Bolingbrook community centers.
"We are being proactive, and have thousands of $5 off coupons at many places around the area, such as Pelican Harbor," Leahy said. "We are trying to give back to the community and reward them for using our facilities."
The down economy has caused the park district to not have as much going on as it would like, said Al Traczek, president of the Bolingbrook Park District board of commissioners.
"One of the biggest things happening this summer is the circus," Traczek said. "It went well last year.
Fairest fair of all?

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Samantha Baker, then 6, of Kingston, takes a spin on the merry-go-round on opening night of last year’s Northeast Fair in Pittston Township.
June 22, 2012
Summer fairs always have plenty to offer, but one look at the schedule for the Northeast Fair in Pittston Township will show anyone this is no ordinary event.

“There’s just an enormous amount of things going on,” Joe Pupa, marketing chairperson, said, noting the schedule itself could probably fill an entire newspaper page.

The fair, which opened Tuesday, brings educational and agricultural shows, contests of all sorts, food, games, rides, and entertainment, all of which last from the time the gates open until late in the night.

Pupa said the events that pack the schedule are more than just locally based shows and people.

“We’ve got some first-class acts that come in; we’re very fortunate. Many of these guys, like the new Kountry K-9 Show and Buffo the Clown, they travel the whole country. The Ron Diamond hypnotist show that we have can be seen in front of 17,000 at a big fair elsewhere.”

This is the eleventh consecutive year that Ron Diamond will not only perform at the fair but host the Pennsylvania Lottery Community Pavilion. Diamond has an advanced clinical certification and a practice in hypnotherapy, combining his expertise with a sense of humor that makes every show different.
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Hundreds witness thrilling high wire walk over Beau Rivage

Hundreds witness thrilling high wire walk over Beau Rivage

By Trang Pham-Bui
Jun 21, 2012
Hundreds of people gathered Thursday morning to witness Bello Nock's thrilling walk across the sky. As the circus star made a spectacular high wire walk high atop the Beau Rivage, spectators nervously watched his every step.

They gathered around trees, on trucks, and under the big top.  While most people were on the ground, others found spots high up in the garage, hoping to catch the best view of daredevil Bello Nock and his hair-raising stunt.

"I have binoculars. I hope he has nice buns," said Evelyn Greenwell of Ocean Springs.
At noon, Bello appeared before the anxious crowd.
 "Bello's going to walk 360 feet across, another 360 of high wire," announced George Corchis, MGM Regional President and COO.
 Comic daredevil Bello Nock successfully walked a high wire from one corner of Beau Rivage to the other Thursday. That's 365 feet across and 32 stories up without a safety net, harness or cables.
As he stepped off the roof, nervous spectators remained quiet.
 "Here he goes. He has now cleared the building," said the announcer.
 \The Greene family of Pascagoula offered up this special prayer: "Lord, we just ask that you keep Bello very safe on his walk Lord. He's doing this in faith, trusting you Father."
 "Don't fall," a little girl said as she looked up.
 "There's not enough money in the world that could ever get me to do that. Flat ground is dangerous for me," said Greenwell.
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As Bello took his final steps on the tight rope, a wave of relief and joy swept over the crowd.
 "The most amazing thing you've ever seen in this part of the United States," the announcer said.
 Ten year old Jadyn Cuevas of Pass Christian was quite nervous.
 "Because I thought he was going to fall," she said.
 "Honestly, I didn't think he could do it, but he proved me wrong," said one young man.
 "It was magic," said a little girl.
 After the show, the crowd was treated to a short fireworks display.
 "It's awesome!" a lady exclaimed. "He was great! The Lord was with him today."
 Bello Nock's high-wire walk kicked off the show Fata Morgana. The first performance is next Tuesday and the show will run through August 19 at the Beau Rivage Theatre.
Baby Chimp, Human Baby at Zoo Become Fast Friends

Video of a baby at the Sedgwick County Zoo sharing a moment with a baby chimp is making people everywhere smile. The two share a moment looking at one another and playfully slapping the glass.
Big top thrills

Argus-Press Photo by Jessica Robison
Clowns DJ, left, and Cherry, right, entertained the crowd throughout the night Tuesday at the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus in Ovid

from: The

By JESSICA ROBISON, Argus-Press Staff
June 20, 2012
OVID, MI — The big top could be seen going up early Tuesday morning in Ovid as the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus came to town.

“It’s a very traditional, old-school American circus,” resident clown “DJ” said Tuesday of the one-day show. “It has all kinds of cool stuff.”

Big top Workers assemble the big top Tuesday morning.

  Argus-Press Photo by Jessica Robison
trapeze act
Miss Simone amazes the crowd Tuesday as she swings high in the air on her trapeze

 Argus-Press Photo by Jessica Robison
Russian swing
Angel Perez flies through the air off the “Russian” swing in attempt to make it through a ring. Although he missed the ring on the first attempt, he made it through on the second during the first show Tuesday by the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus.
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  At the circus
Circus-goers walk the midway Tuesday
(It appears to me that they are watching the Big Top go up)
Contortion Group presented by CGEAgency

Published on Jun 21, 2012 by CircusGuideAgency
Deep Fried Fair Food Includes Cheeseburgers, Red Velvet Cake
By Todd Rigney
June 20, 2012The deep fried fair food on the menu at this year’s California State Fair will probably test the limits of those individuals who believe their stomach is constructed of cast iron. Once upon I time, I could stuff just about anything into my gaping maw and walk away from the experience without much gastrointestinal trauma. As I’ve gotten older, however, the very thought of consuming chocolate-covered bacon is enough to make me reach for a big ol’ bottle of Pepto.
Over 100 vendors will be peddling their edible wares at the California State Fair, which runs from July 12th through the 29th. Some of the entrees that will be made available to adventurous foodies include the Big Beef Rib (essentially, a big ass 24-ounce steak jammed onto a 17-inch cow rib), a deep-fried cheeseburger (complete with jalapeno cheese), and, last but not least, a pork chop on a stick. The last one is probably the most palatable to those who aren’t really in the mood for something that will obliterate their bowels in a matter of seconds.
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from: Facebook
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State Fair wants trailers to move 'CALIFORNIA'
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These giant letters will move from the California Adventure park's entrance to Cal Expo.
By Jacqueline Sahlberg
Thursday, Jun. 21, 2012
Got a flatbed trailer, or two?
Friends of the California State Fair need help to transport the magic of Disney to Cal Expo.
Disney donated the oversize CALIFORNIA letters that used to adorn the entrance to California Adventure, but the gift is stuck in storage in Southern California.
"We are all very excited about the gift," said Norb Bartosik, Cal Expo CEO and general manager.
"But (transportation) is over and above what we budgeted to spend."
Cal Expo has calculated that two flatbed trailers – a 45-footer and a 52-footer – will suffice to carry the 10 letters that weigh more than 8,000 pounds each.
Butler Amusements Inc., provider of the Magical Midway amusement rides at the fair, has offered to help. Butler will donate drivers, fuel and tractors for the 400-mile journey, according to Harry Moos, executive director of Friends of the California State Fair.
Additional fundraising will be required to put the letters on permanent display at Cal Expo, but the main focus is finding the flatbeds.
"The gift is a big deal. It will spell out California in a big way and we don't want to lose the memorabilia to a junk yard. We just need to find the two trailers," said Moos.
Bartosik said the letters must be picked up by the end of September.
Once they are on permanent display, a plaque will mark the history of the Disney donation.
If you have trailers to lend, contact Friends of the State Fair's Moos at (916) 833-9247.
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Thursday, June 21, 2012


JUNE 12, 2012

Felicia and Dumbo, Sarasota, about 2003.
FELICIA FRISCO was kind enough to spend several afternoons lately telling me about TIGER ENCOUNTER, operated by her parents Terry and Linda Frisco, and letting me photograph their tigers. Felicia started performing at age three (she is now 18), with her dad, Terry, in their elephant presentation working fairs, etc. Her grand father,  Joe Frisco ,Sr., was the Zoo Director at Glen Oak Zoo in Peoria, Il, for over 15 years, and in the animal training business for 65 years plus.. It is just amazing to me, how much knowledge, love for animals, and concerns for their well being that this young (18) year old has. You can certainly see it when you are around her tigers and her "baby Romeo".  Romeo was raised since birth by Felicia, and is still bottle feed,all 100lbs plus of him.  We stood there and watched Romeo "purr for his bottle" and "talk to Felicia". It is just truly AMAZING the connection between Romeo and Felcia, as well as the other tigers. In about another 3 weeks, Tiger Encounter, will begin their fall and winter route of working fairs, etc.

 Romeo, 1 yr old, "love that bottle" 

Felicia and Romeo (100 lbs plus)

  Daruba, (Romeo's Dad) 500 lbs plus

Tyna (Romeo's Mom)   

Romeo and Tiana  

Romeo, Daruba, Kyla 

Sara and Kyla
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Felicia and Romeo - "my what big paws you got"   
ALL Photos: 5-21-12 and 6-13-12 by Bill Prickett  
(the end)

Circus Oz returns to Melbourne for new show

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Circus Oz's new show takes on a construction theme.
Picture: Nicole Cleary Herald Sun
Sally Bennett 
From:Herald Sun
June 21, 2012
Melbourne, Australia---THEY'VE performed for more than three million people all over the world. 
Now Circus Oz is back under the Big Top in hometown Melbourne for tonight's premiere of its all-new show From The Ground Up.
It will be a big moment for new recruit and indigenous dancer Ghenoa Gela, who is making her Circus Oz debut in the starring role of emcee.
General manager Linda Mickleborough said it was good to be back on home turf after an extensive international tour.
"We've seen a lot of the world since we were here last and it's always lovely to open in our home town with a new show," she said. "Our Melbourne audiences are wonderful."
The show's "construction theme" is a celebration of the company's new $15 million home, which is about to be built in Collingwood.
It includes the flying trapeze, tumbling, baton twirling, teeterboarding, juggling and clowning, all set to live music.
Following a four-week run at Birrarung Marr, Circus Oz will tour regional Victoria and New South Wales before a five-week season in New York.
The eccentric and celebrated ensemble, now in its 34th year, has performed to more than 3.2 million people in 26 countries on five continents.
"One of the great joys of working with Circus Oz is making a show that is distinctly Australian and taking it all around Australia and the world," Mickleborough said.
"We have a combination of meeting new audiences by going to new places and having a loyal following in places that we're returning to."
Circus stars lighting up young lives in Swansea

Circus descends upon Lafayette

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Duchess and some of her caretakers prepare for the start of the circus tonight with a pre-show party at 7 p.m. in the Cajundome.  
from: the
Written by Matthew Sigur
Jun 21, 2012
On Wednesday, crews are sweating in the Lafayette heat, setting the stage for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's return.
"We're basically a small city that moves to each town every week," clown Dean Kelley said.
Just last week, the show was in Jackson, Miss. This time is valuable for the Ringling Bros.; however, if they needed to, Kelley said the circus could be set up within eight hours.
"We can come into an empty arena, and, if we need to, we can be show ready in eight hours," he said. "Or less, if everyone works really fast."
Kelley is just one small part of the production. The circus comes in with seven semi-trailers — four of which are filled with more than 20 animals. The other three are filled with thousands of feet of cables, stereo speakers, mixing boards, food for the animals, costumes, chain motors and more.
"It's amazing to me because it looks like chaos right now," Kelley said, looking at the half-built stage and steel cage where motorcyclists will do tricks. "But every nut and bolt is accounted for. When we leave, it looks like we were never here."
Kelley wanted to be a part of the circus since he was 4, after seeing a Ringling Bros. show in his home of Kansas City. Though the famed Ringling Bros. Clown College closed one year before Kelley was ready to attend in 1997, he rode to Anaheim, Calif., for an open audition in 2002 and signed a contract to be a clown.
This year, the 31-year-old Kelley will celebrate a decade being a clown. He said it's a lot of hard work, but it has its rewards.
"A lot of people think you put some makeup on your face, and you act silly, and you're a circus clown, but no," Kelley said. "Clowns actually train just like acrobats do, but we train a little differently. One of my favorite things to do in the show is watch the audience because I'm part of a show where I can see three generations of people in the same row, oohing and ahhing at the same thing. That's pretty amazing."
\While Kelley hosts the pre-party event to this year's Barnum Bash and is the unofficial MC for the big show, Catherine Carden and her husband, Brett, help to take care of the three Asian elephants, including the 41-year-old, 8,000-pound Duchess.
"She's a gentle giant," Cardin said.
Carden's love of taking care of animals started when she was 12 years old, after her father bought her Silver, a white Shetland pony. Cardin is a seventh generation circus performer and animal trainer. Her family used to run its own circus in Florida. Her knack for giving attention to animals, though, comes from her mother.
"My mom was one of those crazy ladies who took in all the strays and fed the neighbor's animals," she said. Elephants have been a part of her everyday life for the past 40 years, Carden said. Though her job might seem like it's a tall order, she said working with elephants can be a breeze.
"The main portion of our job is not the glamorous part, but the animal care, making sure they're comfortable," she said. "I work with them. I interact with them. I put them through their paces. I can't really call myself an elephant trainer. They're so smart. You just explain what you want them to do, and they do it."

Giovanni Zoppé keeps family ties in Addison circus performance

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Giovanni Zoppe, known as Nino the Clown will be performing in Villa Park.
By Allison Horne
GateHouse News Service
Jun 20, 2012 
Addison, IL — Giovanni Zoppé, or Nino the clown, has never known anything but the circus life. Ever since he was young, he always knew that he wanted to grow up and join his family circus.
 The Zoppé Family Circus first got started in 1842 when a French street performer, Napoline, ran into a ballerina named Ermenegilda in Budapest. The duo ran away to Italy, and began what is known today as the Zoppé Circus.
 When Zoppé’s grandfather inherited the circus, he was asked by Orson Welles to be a part of the Ringling Brothers Greatest Show on Earth. That’s when they decided to pick up their circus and moved across the ocean to the United States.
Now, the circus travels all over the country for about 30 weeks in the year. This year, they’ll be returning to Addison and Caputo’s Fresh Market with an extra treat—Giovanni will be reunited with some of his family members from Italy. The Christiani Brothers will bring their trampoline act and perform with Giovanni and the rest of the Zoppé family for the first time in 52 years.
 The circus also has one more treat in store—Giovanni’s 2-year-old son, Julien, will also be joining him in the ring.

Circo Hermanos Vazquez Circus Preview

Boneless Boy, Bippo the Clown and Mad Max Norton the crossbow champion: Gerry Cottle's Circus is brought back for the last time as legendary showman celebrates 50 years in entertainmentWorld-famous circus king established his Big Top in 1974 
He retired in 2003 and bought Somerset tourist attraction Wookey Hole 
Other acts on bill include Wizards on Wheels - Ten on one bike; and Six on Silks - Big Top Beauties 

To celebrate 50 years in showbusiness, the world-famous Gerry Cottle's Circus has been brought back for one last time with 50 Acts In 100 Minutes. Mr Cottle (above) ran away 50 years ago to join the circus 
By Nick Enoch
20 June 2012
Fifty years ago, a teenage boy ran away from home to join the circus. A note he left for his stockbroker parents read: 'Please do not under any circumstances try to find me. I have gone.'
That 15-year-old was Gerry Cottle, who would rise from fledgling juggler to a legendary showman and become synonymous with the world of the circus.

The cast of Gerry Cottle's Circus which is on a national tour until July 23
Now, to celebrate 50 years in showbusiness, the renowned Gerry Cottle's Circus has been brought back for one last time with the spectacular 50 Acts In 100 Minutes - including Chico and Ernesto, the blindfolded high-wire walkers; Mad Max Norton the crossbow champion; Boneless Boy; and Bippo the clown.
Mr Cottle established his eponymous Big Top in 1974 and ran it until 2003, at which point he retired and bought tourist attraction Wookey Hole in Somerset.

Mr Cottle - who began his career as a juggler in the 1960s - rehearses with the cast

Gerry Cottle, seen on stilts, in the late 60s as he established himself as a master showman

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For  more great pictures---
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