Chris Connors touches up the lettering on one of the trucks at the Cole Bros. Circus winter headquarters in DeLand on Thursday morning.
By Anthony DeFeo,STAFF WRITER
March 10, 2013
DELAND — As it has done every year for more than a century, the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars is preparing to hit the road for yet another season of high-flying acrobatics, death-defying stunts and family-friendly fun.
The circus will open its 129th season with four shows at the DeLand Municipal Airport on Saturday and Sunday before kicking off a tour that will take nearly 150 performers and support staff to almost every corner of the eastern seaboard from mid-March through Thanksgiving.
A brand new white tiger act, a new high-wire troupe and a new dog act are just some of the additions to this year's version of the long-running show, according to ringmaster Chris Connors.
The production bills itself as "The World's Largest Circus Under the Big Top."
At their secluded 17-acre winter hideout, nestled next to DeLand's Amtrak station on the outskirts of the city, crews were hard at work last week repairing trucks and trailers, repainting hundreds of chairs and making sure everything was in order before heading out for a 10,000-mile tour through more than 100 cities.
"It's going to be a different show, and that's what we try to do. We try to bring something new and different for children of all ages," Connors said.
"This will be our 129th year. And I've been here for 100 of them — that's what it feels like," he joked.
In reality, it's only been 12 years, he admitted.