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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Massillon Museum hosts Kelly Miller Circus clowns
By Christina Redekopp correspondent
Jul 13, 2012
Something funny is going on 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday on the front lawn of the Massillon Museum, 121 Lincoln Way E. Bring family and friends to meet the Kelly Miller Circus clowns and enjoy their antics and then head to the Museum’s second floor to view the miniature Immel Circus. Visitors also can buy Kelly Miller Circus tickets at the front reception desk ($6 for children; $10 for adults) by cash and check only  through Aug. 1, when the circus performs at the Massillon Knights of Columbus, 988 Cherry Road, NW.  
Carson & Barnes Circus Wows Portage County Crowds

Published on Jul 12, 2012 by TheRecordPub
The Carson & Barnes Circus paid a visit to Ravenna Township, bringing with it amusements of all shapes and sizes.
County fairs review safety of fairground structures
By David MacAnally
from: WTHR
July 13, 2012

13 WTHR Indianapolis

Historical Marker To Be Unveiled at Local Raceway

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History buffs and car enthusiasts will have plenty to do Sunday afternoon when a historical marker is unveiled at Heidelberg Raceway to honor its rich legacy.
By Mike Jones
July 14, 2012
Cars used to roar around its racetrack and the traveling circus often erected its massive Big Top in the infield.
But the old Heidelberg Raceway faded into the memory of many residents years ago as the track closed and big box retail stores took over the land straddling Heidelberg and Scott Township.
The dedication of the blue-and-yellow Pennsylvania Historical Marker located next to the King’s restaurant at Raceway Plaza will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday and include state and local dignitaries along with racing experts.
Heidelberg officials have worked in recent year to have a historical marker erected at the old raceway after learning the last ever Big Top circus in the country closed its tents in the track’s infield. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had its final show under the famous Big Top at the racetrack on July 16, 1956 before sports arenas or convention center were commonly used.
The track closed in 1973, its stands and press box were shipped to Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway in Imperial and big box retailers moved into the open space.
Heidelberg Raceway was finally given historical status late last year and the town easily fundraised the nearly $2,000 needed to install a sign.
Some of the speakers for Sunday afternoon’s unveiling include Andrew Masich of the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission, David Kohler of the Pittsburgh Circle Track Club and Steven Witlock of the NASCAR Members Club.
The Circle Track Club will also bring vintage racecars that once sped around Heidelberg Raceway.
Anyone who wants to attend is asked to park at the Walgreens or Raceway Shopping Plaza.

Carson & Barnes Circus - Elephants Cooling Off In Pittsburgh (KDKA)

Published on Jul 13, 2012 by CarsonBarnesCircus
Volunteer firefighters help the elephants beat the heat at CONSUL Energy Park in Washington, PA.
World famous Wallenda, 76, skywalks in Auburn
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist

AUBURN, MI (WNEM) - The Auburn Corn Fest has a full slate of events this weekend, but there's one special act that you have to see to believe.

In fact, it'll likely put you on the edge, and you will have a shot to see it at this weekend's festival, starting at 6 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.

Carla Wallenda is 76 years old and she has been performing daredevil acts for 73 years. She's in Auburn this weekend putting on nightly shows and showing her acrobatic tricks from the top of a 110-foot sway pole.

"I love it and I'm working in all the small towns," said Carla Wallenda.

She climbs to the top of the pole, with no safety harness, and does flips, headstands and even stands straight up as the pole sways. People on the ground say watching Carla Wallenda do these ridiculous tricks gives them butterflies.

"She's not scared of heights, and that's one thing I'm afraid of, I admire her, I really do," said Rickie LeBeau.

You may recognize the Wallenda name. Her father is Karl Wallenda, who walked across a tight rope spanning the World Trade Center buildings and was the originator of the "Flying Wallendas."

"I think I learned it before I even was born," laughed Carla Wallenda.

Her nephew is Nik Wallenda, the man who recently crossed the Niagara Falls by tight rope on national television. She said she is just a part of a long, long family tradition and she's nowhere close to retiring.

"I'm only 76 really, at least another 24 years," said Carla Wallenda with a big smile.

Hip Hop Clown Continues Legacy
The family of Ivan Vargas, known as Von the Hip Hop" clown, has performed in Ringling Bros for two centuries.

Ivan Vargas' dragons show. He says he was “born on Ringling Bros”—almost as if it was another world. Vargas has never known anything else. For the last two centuries all his family has done is performed in the circus
Source: Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus
By Rebekah Sager
Fox News Latino
Published July 13, 2012
Ivan Vargas says he was “born on Ringling Bros”—almost as if it was another world. Vargas has never known anything else.
 For the last two centuries all his family has done is performed in the circus.  The legend is, his great, great, great, great-grandfather had a trained cow act in Mexico City. He was scouted by the circus going through town, and the rest is Vargas family history.

The legend is, his great, great, great great-grandfather had a trained cow act in Mexico City. He was scouted by the circus going through town, and the rest is Vargas family history. 
 Source: Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus
From animal trainers and handlers, to acrobats, aerialists, and clowns, Ivan says the film “Like Water for Elephants” rings true for him.

“The cast, crew, and animals still travel on trains—11 months out of the year and perform 8-13 shows per week—it is very much like living on another planet," he said.
The mile-long trains are privately owned by Ringling Bros. "We still set up tents and the clowns still use steamer trunks for all our belongings,” Vargas says.
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Ivan Vargas started performing at age 13. By 16, he was essentially an independent adult performer. He says the circus makes children grow up faster than in the real world.
 Source: Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus 
Auguste: which means “foolish” in German, is the buffoon. He does pratfalls and takes hits.
 White Face: The traditional clown. He’s the aristocrat, the one in charge, and the straight man in the act.
 Character: Originally the Tramp or Hobo, but today can be any character—firefighter, policeman, or businessman.
 Ivan aka “Von the Hip-Hop” clown, is a mix of Auguste and Character.
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"Oz the Great and Powerful" Trailer Blows James Franco Away
Hey, it's another prequel!

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Sea lion show is whimsical fun 

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Sea lion showTrainer Stefi Slavova gives Sparky a hug for doing a trick well during the Florida-based Sea Lion Splash performance at the Jefferson County Fair.
By Steve Sharp
July 13, 2012
JEFFERSON,Wisconsin — This Jefferson County Fair show may be brief, but the entertainment value is high and the life lessons of honesty, trust and friendship are found in abundance if a person approaches with the right mindset.

On its surface, the Florida-based Sea Lion Splash performance offers whimsical fun for children of all ages. It possesses, however, an undercurrent of deeper meaning, when an attendee thinks about what is actually taking place onstage and perhaps sets aside a moment to chat with the woman who coordinates the show.

The diminutive Stefi Slavova has a voice that is a unique cross between a Southern drawl and an Eastern block accent. As she talks it quickly becomes evident how she and her sea lions get along so well together.

Slavova is a native of Bulgaria who long ago told circus moguls Ringling Bros. to shove their job. Drawing that line in the sand, Slavova struck out on her own, gained her focus and graduated from a childhood love of horses to the amazing world of sea lions. Slavova comes from four generations that spent their time caring for and presenting animals to the public.

“Marine mammals are so smart it is almost spooky,” Slavova said following one of her many shows with her three sea lions Sparky, Zoey and Alisha, at the fair this week. “They are so intelligent.”

Slavova’s Sea Lion Splash features her all-female trio doing tricks such as handstands, catching rings on their noses, shooting baskets, balancing balls and interacting with children.

Within the performance, which offers many interesting facts about sea lions, Slavova subtly weaves reminders to the audience about the value of protecting the environment, being honest in life and respecting others. With her demeanor and goals, Slavova winds up having a remarkable rapport with her marine mammals.
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O.C. Fair shines through cloud cover 
Huge crowds gather for opening day. 'Home Sweet Home' will run at the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa through Aug. 12.

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Fairgoers enjoy themselves aboard the Flying Dutchman as it swings around during opening day of the O.C. Fair on Friday. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / July 13, 2012) 
By Brittany Woolsey, Special to the Daily Pilot
July 13, 2012
Thousands of eager attendees flooded through the gates Friday to be among the first to attend the O.C. Fair.

Under overcast skies, about 30,000 people passed through within the first hour after the noontime opening, said Jerome Hoban, the fair's chief executive.
Michael Pursey of Harbor City got to the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa at 10 a.m., hoping to beat the crowds.

"I took a precaution because of the warning on the website," Pursey said. "It said, because of promotions and the traffic, allow yourself enough time, so that's what I did."

Pursey, who was attending for the 13th year in a row, didn't let the cloudy weather deter him.

"It was raining last night, and we kept checking the Internet for weather updates," he said. "I saw that the chance of rain dropped down to like 10% at 3 or 4 o'clock this morning, so I made a decision like, 'We're going.' So it should be a good day to go because it will be cloudy but no rain."

From noon to 1 p.m., patrons were given free admission to the fair, where they could indulge in shows, rides, games and, of course, deep-fried cuisine.

"We're looking forward to the food," Pursey said. "I heard they had some crazy stuff like frog legs, but I don't know if I'll go that far."

This summer's fair will offer the regular staples, including barbecue, ice cream and funnel cakes. There are also some more difficult choices for the calorie-conscious, such as chocolate-covered bacon and artery-busting burgers.
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Call Me Maybe Best Parody with Elephants & Sarah Conley

Published on Jul 9, 2012 by elphyjs
Best Parody of Call Me Maybe with Elephants and Sarah Conley of "The Conley's. Call Me Maybe by Carley Rae Jepson

Friday, July 13, 2012


Josh "Meatball" Dummit, breaking in on Cole Bros. clown alley
Just out of his teens, Joshua Dummit marks his first year of clowning on Cole Bros.  Hired by Elvin Bale after a cold interview, "Meatball" has been heeding the advice of more experienced joeys and the ringmaster in shaping his big top appearances, as he explains to Lane Talburt.
Thanks for your support of my continuing efforts to videotape interviews with circus personalities.  In coming uploads, you'll see the results of visits this weekend to Kelly Miller Circus in Dalton, MA, and Circus Smirkus in Richmond, RI.  As always, suggestions and critique are welcome. 
Have a great weekend, and stay cool.
Best wishes,
Lane Talburt

Dick-- As I told you the Picadilly Circus is one of the best I have
seen in years.
The Midway from the Box Office to the Big Top is about 100' deep.
A 40' x 80' tent, on the right, houses A Petting Zoo, Pony Ride,
6 Camels and 2 Zebras.
Going down the left side is an Elephant Ride (Tom Demry), Moon Bounce
& Camel Ride. Many Stands in between leading to a Reception Tent selling
the Usual Merchandise. This leads into the Beautiful Blue & Yellow Big Top.

The Big Top looks to me like it would easily seat 1500 patrons.

Can't name all the acts in the show, but they were all outstanding!

Ian Garden has a two zebra & six camel act, Tom Demry &
Anna May, Dancing Elephant, Ming Chinese Vase Juggler are
the only ones I can identify.

All Butchers, Prop Crew and other hands were in Uniforms and
look neat and clean. Sound and Lighting were oustanding.

Even the Rest Room was great and neat as a pin!
This is a great show from beginning to end.
I was really impressed!
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Moscow circus tiger urinates on visitors
by --IANS/RIA Novosti
Friday, July 13th 2012
Moscow, July 13 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A tiger from a Moscow circus urinated on the audience in the VIP zone during a show in Kazakhstan.
The male tiger, Kesha, was ordered to perform a trick, but instead lifted one of his hind legs and urinated on the people in the best seats, news website Novosti-Kazakhstan reported.
Several kids and adults were hit by the urine stream, causing the show to be halted by laughter.
However, the performance proceeded after the people wiped themselves clean with handkerchiefs, the news website said.
No complaints were filed against Kesha or the circus owners. The Nikulin Moscow Circus was in the second week of its shows in Ekibastuz in northeastern Kazakhstan.
Cows having sex block traffic on Pennsylvania highway
 Troopers “kept trying to shoo them off the highway, but that just got the bull mad and it started to escalate.”

Saturday, June 2, 2012,
KITTANNING, Pa. — State police say a pair of amorous bovines tied up traffic near the intersection of two rural Pennsylvania highways.
 The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first reported the situation Friday morning. Trooper John Corna tells The Associated Press it was resolved about 9:15 a.m. when state Department of Agriculture managed to shoo the bull and cow into a trailer.
 Corna says the intersection of Routes 28 and 85 in Rayburn Township is busier than usual because of construction, and traffic was hampered when the mating bovines refused to budge. The intersection is about 40 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.
 Corna says troopers “kept trying to shoo them off the highway, but that just got the bull mad and it started to escalate.”
 The animals are at a nearby farm until their owner is identified.
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PETA-philes Scream at Kids, Insult Los Angeles Circus-Goers

Lisa Derrick
Thursday July 12, 2012
Last night the Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey Circus opened at Staples Center in Los Angeles, and I went as the guest of the very lovely and talented milliner Satanica Batcakes.  We were dressed in glamorous finery and feathers, as befits an opening night, and were prepared to revel in the joy of the circus.

But I wasn’t prepared for the hate-filled circus outside the Staples Center: Hundreds of anti-circus protestors,including dozens of kids who looked confused about why they were holding signs, demonstrating on the sidewalks against Ringling Bros alleged mistreatment of elephants. The LAPD was on hand too to make sure things didn’t get too ugly as families led their stunned children past the screaming PETA-philes waving posters and chanting. As I walked through the barriers set up to keep the protestors out of the Staples forecourt where clowns juggled and made balloon animals, several women screamed in my face–and in the faces of children, holding on to their parents’ hands:
"They beat elephants! Don’t go to the circus!
You’re supporting animal cruelty!"

In November, 2011 
an agreement was reached where Feld Entertainment, Inc., doing business as Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus (Feld), will pay a $270,000 fine for allegedly violating the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
 According to a USDA press release, Feld also agreed to “develop and implement annual AWA compliance training for all employees who work with and handle animals, including trainers, handlers, attendants and veterinarians starting March 31, 2012, and to establish an AWA compliance position on its staff by February 28, 2012.”…
 CEO Kenneth Feld said in a statement, “We look forward to working with the USDA in a cooperative and transparent manner that meets our shared goal of ensuring that our animals are healthy and receive the highest quality care.”
 Ringling Bros, though Feld Entertainment. runs the Ringling Bros Center for Elephant Conservation, established in 1995 and located in Florida. The center has received praise for its care of Asian elephants and its breeding program. it is also a retirement facility for circus elephants.
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Last night’s angry exhibition by animal rights’ groups was really hostile and felt kinda like visiting a women’s clinic with and anti-choice crew outside. Except there were children involved. Kids getting targeted and yelled at.
 This tour has Johnathan Lee Iverson as ringmaster. Iverson was  the first African American and the youngest ringmaster Ringling Bros history. Man, he can sing! The theme was Dragons, which was little forced–dragon concepts culturally appropriated from north, east, south and west were thrown into the mix with faint plot about gaining courage, strength, wisdom and heart via the various acts which represents the directions and the virtues. It was thrilling to see the Shaolin monks do their mind over matter show, and the women who performed acrobatics using their hair was really mind boggling. I loved the performing horses, ponies, mini-donkeys, goats, llamas, dogs and kitties–domestic house cats performing tricks! Seriously, so amazing! And totally cute!
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‘The fair is just in my blood’
Carnival is a family affair

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Chuck and Lynn Waterman stand in the middle of the midway at the Stephenson County Fair on Thursday. Waterman’s company is Calkins Midway, which provides the rides and amusements at the local fair in Freeport.

By Jane Lethlean,The Journal-Standard
Posted Jul 12, 2012
Freeport, Ill. —
As a young boy growing up, life was not easy for Chuck Waterman, who eventually was taken in by his aunt and uncle in Wisconsin, who introduced the young boy to the sights and sounds of a county fair. Waterman said he was a troubled youth at the time.
 His uncle told him he had to do two things — go to church and go to school. Waterman did both, and while he was cleaning up his act, he fell in love with the family business — Calkins Midway from Oshkosh, Wis.
 Now some 40 odd years later, Waterman and his wife Lynn spend their life on the road, going from festival to fair for eight months out of the year. Waterman said he never tires of the fair life. It is the faces of the children squealing on his rides that puts a smile on his face.
 Calkins Midway is the company that is providing the rides and amusements at this year’s Stephenson County Fair. Waterman is the owner and operator of the company. At this fair, he has 25 rides and many games and food stands.
 Much of his day during the fair is spent traveling by golf cart to make sure things are going smoothly for the rides. He has 60 employees that travel with him for each fair, many having been with him more than 10 years. He said the life is hard, but together they are all a family.
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Circus entertains some, angers others

The Shrine Circus' Freestyle Motor Show wows a Windsor audience on July 11, 2012.
by Sanja Frkovic
Thursday, July 12th, 2012
For over 80 years, The Shrine Circus has featured entertaining animal acts and death-defying stunts, raising more than $750,000 for Shriners charities in the process. The WFCU Centre hosted the charity event last night for the second year in a row.
 Indoors performances such as Equestrianism, Tarzan Zebrini Performing Elephants and the Freestyle Motor Show delighted the crowd. Outside, as young and old settled into their seats for the show, 60 non-violent protesters lined the street near parking lot.
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Erika Zerbinie continues a circus tradition of dancing horses with 'Equestrianism' on July 11, 2012.
“We wanted to have a voice for the animals who don’t have a chance to say that they don’t want to be involved,” explained Kate James, co-founder of Ban the Shrine Circus protest.  This is the first protest for the group and members organized through a page on Facebook.
 Admitting that she has never attended The Shrine Circus, James felt it was important to offer a different perspective to the public.  Generalizing about the circuses she stated,“The amount of abuse that occurs within the circus of any kind – even though they say they are humanely treated – it’s just impossible.”
 A representative was not available for comment on the circus or its protestors but Global Spectrum did release the following statement: “Global Spectrum Facility Management is happy to provide a multitude of events at the WFCU Centre that target a variety of demographics within Windsor and Essex County. All of the events within the WFCU Centre are held to very high standards, and must pass certification from municipal, provincial and federal levels before we consider hosting them in our facility.”

Shrine Circus awes and woes : Southwestern Ontario : Video

Shrine Circus awes and woes : Southwestern Ontario : Video

Thursday, July 12, 2012


This poster is for circus performances over a three-day period - in Hyannis, Massachusetts - beginning on August 30, 1937.

Burt Lancaster - who later became a famous Hollywood film star - began his career as an aerialist.  He was employed through the federal government's "Federal Theatre Project" in the 1930s.
 Before he became a famous movie star, Burt Lancaster was an aerialist performing with other circus members in traveling shows sponsored by the Federal Theatre Project (FTP). 

During the Great Depression, some of the circus performers were people with talent who had been on relief.  The federal government formed the "Federal Theatre Project," which gave out-of-work individuals a chance to perform while earning a living.
The troupe toured nationally, just like other circus companies, and featured standard circus fare - like clowns.
The Library of Congress describes this image, as follows:
The Circus Unit was part of the larger Variety Unit of the FTP [Federal Theatre Project]. Employing as many as 250 performers in 60 acts, circuses toured regionally and drew huge crowds that included both the young and old. 
Many of the performers, such as Katie Sandwina, known as the world's strongest woman, had been in the circus for years, but the ranks also included individuals who had unique talents that were not typical of those who performed in traditional theater. 
Performers included clowns, jugglers, tightrope walkers, cyclists, and aerialists ... Although few animals performed - Hallie Flanagan stated "There were no elephants on relief" - there was one elephant in the FTP named "Japino." ... At some point, Japino escaped and was accidently returned to Barnum and Bailey Circus, who quickly returned the escapee to its rightful owner.

A traveling circus including side shows.  Some of those side shows featured overweight people, such as the individual pictured in this photo. 

Originally published in the Chicago Herald & Examiner, this pictures is now part of a collection at the Wisconsin Historical Society, where it is described as follows:
Title:      Circus Fat Man
Description:     A circus

Young women were involved with circus life, including working with large animals.  Marlena and Rosie are part of a fictional story, in Water for Elephants, but their counterparts, during the 1930s (and before), performed with actual circuses.
A newspaper reported the following story about this elephant and its trainer:
Sagacious old elephants and chic young girl trainers form one of the diverting combinations of the Great Sells-Floto Circus, which comes to the Ball Park today for its annual engagement.  These unusually wise lumbering creatures appear in several displays and are guided by the slender hands and keen intellect of Mlle. Lorette, Irene Ledgett, Lillian Burslen [Burslem, according to Circus] and Betty Stephens.
The Sells-Floto herds are said to be the best trained in this country and for five months, Charles Morgan, master tutor, sent them to school for eight hours each day.  
News stories like this helped to make sure that people flocked to see the circus.
A note about the Sells-Floto Circus company.  By 1929, it was part of the American Circus Corporation.  That same year, Floto's new owner had a contract to perform at New York City's Madison Square Garden.  When John Ringling - of the famous Ringling Brothers Circus - heard that news, he bought Sells-Floto.  Ringling's web site provides the details:
In 1929, reacting to the fact that his competitor, the American Circus Corporation, had signed a contract to perform in New York's Madison Square Garden, [John] Ringling purchased American Circus for $1.7-million.  In one fell swoop, Ringling had absorbed five major shows: Sells-Floto, Al G. Barnes, Sparks, Hagenbeck-Wallace, and John Robinson.
By the beginning of the 1930s, therefore, it was becoming more difficult for independent companies - depicted by the fictional Benzini Brothers in Water for Elephants - to remain independent.

In this photo, Lancaster and a fellow circus-unit performer (of the FTP) are showing their skills on the parallel bars.
Maria Rasputin - the daughter of the famous Russian monk who influenced the Romanov family and helped to care for Nicholas and Alexandra's son, Alexei - left Russia and became a circus lion tamer.  She performed with the circus, in Europe and America, in the 1930s. 
 During a circus stop in Peru, Indiana, Maria was mauled by a bear.  She left the circus shortly thereafter.
 In this photo, from 1914, she is seen with her mother and father in the family's St. Petersburg apartment.

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 In this photo, Lancaster and a fellow circus-unit performer (of the FTP) are showing their skills on the parallel bars.