2014 Convention



Saturday, March 2, 2013

Florida Strawberry Festival kicks off in Plant City
by Adrienne Pedersen
Feb 28, 2013

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The Big Top
55th Barak Shrine Circus comes to Monroe

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Clowns delight the audience during the Barak Shrine Circus at the Monroe Civic Center.
The News-Star file photo
Written by William Caverlee
Feb 27, 2013
The 2013 edition of the Barak Shrine Circus opens Friday for a three-day stand at the Monroe Civic Center. The annual event is the Shrine Center's biggest fund-raiser of the year, and local members will be on site all three days, according to circus chairman, Cliff Hall.
Organizing and planning the circus is a year-round activity for the Shriners, who, as always, will be selling their traditional favorites: cotton candy, Cracker Jacks, ICEEs, circus programs, t-shirts, baseball caps and novelties. In their preparations, Shriners also organize local volunteer groups to assist at performances, collect bicycles for giveaways, and donate tickets to grade schools, plus veteran's, nursing and children's homes.
As the Shriners put the final touches on their clown costumes and tune-up their motorcycles, miniature cars and scooters, the James Cristy Cole Circus has rolled into town from its last appearance in Nebraska. Producer James Plunkett has collected 20 acts for his family-owned circus, headlined by a troupe of Bengal tigers and the motorcycle thriller, Globe of Death.
Plunkett, a Texan, grew up in a circus family; his grandfather and great-grandfather once performed in Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. Plunkett's co-producer is his wife, Cristine Herriott-Plunkett, who also comes from a circus family and has her own horse and animal act. Their daughter, Star Cristy, is an aerialist and a trainer of Alaskan malamutes. The Plunketts' two sons have a trampoline act.
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UniverSoul Circus ready to 'Mash It Up' for Mobile this weekend

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The international flavor of the UniverSoul Circus includes acts such as an exhibition of Shaolin martial arts.
(Scott Cunningham photo courtesy of UniverSoul)
By Lawrence Specker
on March 01, 2013
MOBILE, Alabama – It might be shaping up to be a chilly weekend in Mobile, but it sounds like it’s going to be hot under the big top of the UniverSoul Circus, which has set up its tent on the grounds of Ladd-Peebles Stadium.
The theme of the show is “Mash It Up,” and UniverSoul President Cedric Walker has said that it’s inspired by the fact that “it fuses a special blend of cultures, music and styles with world class acts from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas to create an unforgettable entertainment experience for the entire family.”
The performer known as “N.O.,” a member of the circus’ improv troupe who also serves as co-host, said the theme also refers to a take-no-prisoners approach.
“That means that we have put together a crew this year that is dedicated to giving high energy,” he said. “It will be definitely an experience to remember. It will be a lot of fun, a lot of energy, a lot of yelling and screaming and dancing, jaw-dropping from top to bottom.”
“We’re leaving nothing behind,” N.O. said.
UniverSoul was founded nearly 20 years ago as a showcase for black talent, designed primarily to entertain and inspire African-American audiences. But over the years, its lineup and audience have broadened. According to promotional materials, current circus acts have their roots in the USA, the Ivory Coast, Cuba, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Trinidad and Tobago, France and China.
As co-host Zanda “Zeke” Charles said in a 2012 NPR interview, “soul is not a color.”
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Tickets on Sale for Circus Flora "A Trip to the Moon"
by sonya potter
Mar 1, 2013

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KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; |
Summer planning continues at Circus World

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By Ben Bromley, News Republic
March 2, 2013
Circus World Museum supporters have decided to go ahead with fundraising, including presenting an annual summer gala, despite the Baraboo historic site’s uncertain future.
During a Circus of Chefs planning meeting Wednesday, organizers decided to press on despite their dismay over the governor’s plan to fold the museum into the Wisconsin Historical Society, Circus World Executive Director Steve Freese said.
Freese said organizers are halfway toward reaching their $165,000 fundraising goal for the June 23 event.
“It would be consequential if we had to return the money,” he said.
Last week, Gov. Scott Walker unveiled a budget plan that included rolling Circus World — whose property is state-owned but whose operations are funded privately — into the Historical Society. This would include making Circus World’s staffers state employees, funneling the site’s revenue into state coffers and ending a lease agreement between the state the Circus World Museum Foundation, Inc., which has operated the museum for 54 years.
Freese said many donors have contacted him, furious about the proposed disbanding of the foundation and have vowed to suspend support if the state takes over.
The fate of Walker’s proposal won’t be known until this summer, when the Assembly and Senate vote on the budget. But in the meantime, Freese needs to book acts and hire summer staff.
Freese said he’s concerned about the foundation spending about $250,000 on summer acts up front, then potentially losing out on gate revenue after the new state budget takes effect July 1. The state can terminate its lease and management agreement with the foundation with 30 days’ notice. “We would be screwed,” Freese said.
Ellsworth Brown, executive director of the Historical Society, couldn’t be reached Friday for comment.
During the gala planning meeting, Freese said supporters agreed to do all they could to keep Circus World in the black and demonstrate that the institution has a strong future.
“We’re going to do everything we can to keep the doors open,” Freese said. “They want to go out with a bang if they’re forced to go out.”
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Catch high-flying antics of Circus Oz at Elliott Hall

Circus Oz, an Australian circus group, will take its high-flying antics to Elliott Hall at 4 p.m. Sunday. / Photo provided
Mar 1, 2013
With performers flipping into the air from a giant teeter-totter, balancing on each other in acrobatic feats and swinging from the death-defying trapeze, Circus Oz is out to dazzle Greater Lafayette with a performance it’s never seen before. And the group is doing it all with an Aussie twist.
The group, from Australia, combines stunts, comedy and a live band for a uniquely Down Under circus experience, said performer Mason West.
“We don’t take ourselves very seriously at all,” West said. “If you’ve seen Cirque du Soleil, it’s pretty much the exact opposite.”
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Circus Oz, an Australian circus group, will take its high-flying antics to Elliott Hall at 4 p.m. Sunday. / Photo provided
The group will perform in a show presented by Purdue Convocations at 4 p.m. Sunday at Elliott Hall of Music.
The show has a construction theme, West said, and performers will evoke the high-flying antics of building high rises by rolling around on paint cans and swinging from a large beam.
The group’s unique circus style is difficult to describe, West said, but the goal is to leave people saying “I had no idea circus could be like that.”
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Circus could move from Meriden Hub to Southington Drive-in
by Lauren Sievert
March 1, 2013
(foto from balloonmans files)
SOUTHINGTON — Southington officials are working with Meriden to bring the circus to the drive-in movie lot.
Town Councilor Dawn Miceli said Meriden officials contacted her about hosting the Cole Bros. Circus this year due to conflicts with construction at the Meriden Hub, the site used for the past three years when the circus came to the area. Miceli said Meriden reached out to Southington due to its proximity and not wanting to lose the town’s place on the circus roster. Meriden Mayor Michael S. Rohde said the plans for the Hub are “up in the air,” awaiting for a decision from the State Bond Commission. Rohde said the site will most likely be under construction at circus time.
“It has been a great run. Tens of thousands of people attend,” Rohde said, “We haven’t had any negative experiences.”
Rohde said that if the circus has to be moved to Southington, it’s a change that can be made fairly quickly.
“They didn’t want the residents to miss out (on the circus),” Miceli said at the Town Council meeting. “It will have to be researched, but I think we should do our due diligence to see if it is feasible.”
The circus would include a three-ring big top, but not the carnival, Miceli said. There would be no rides or games. The Cole Bros. “Circus of the Stars” was established in 1884 and has gone through changes, and has been modernized and kept alive by current president and CEO John Pugh.
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Friday, March 1, 2013

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MARCH 2013
3 Palm Bay FL
4 & 5 Eustis FL
6 Ocala FL
7 Lady Lake FL
8 Ocala Fl
 9 Port Charlotte FL
10 Clewiston FL
11 Stuart FL
12 & 13West Palm Beach FL
14 & 15 Homested FL
17 Brighton FL


1914-1918: Zoo animals supporting the war effort
“With many of Sheffield horses conscripted by the military he had an increasingly difficult time to match supply with demand. Lizzie the Elephant was brought in as a solution to this problem. Drafted in from Sedgwick’s Menagerie, the elephant became a familiar sight carrying goods around the city. She inspired other Sheffield firms and a company used camels also from Sedgwick’s Menagerie in place of their own horses.”
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EARLY 1900's


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Suspended Animation Illusion - Magic Unlimited

Uploaded on Sep 22, 2011
Watch Magic Unlimited do this amazing trick fastest illusion in the world.
Pig races family favorite at St. Lucie Fair

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By Alisha McDarris
February 28, 2013
St. Lucie County — Children squealed, bounced up and down and waved their arms in excitement, parents smiled and laughed from the bleachers as pigs raced around an oval track lined with wood shavings for an iced oatmeal cookie at the finish line.
The St. Lucie County fair pig races are a family favorite every year, and with comic emcees and kids kissing swine, it’s not hard to see why.
For years the Show-Me swine races have entertained fair goers, provoking hearty chuckles at trained Yorkshires and Potbellies with racing names like Shakin’ Bacon, Cristina Hoguilera, and Arnold Schwarzenpigger as they scurry in a circle and lean into the curves, hoping to be the first to reach the trough at the finish.
Race master Nathan Tidwell helps train the pigs, which he says takes only a week or two with a smart pig.
“A pig is smarter than a dog,” Tidwell said.
The trick to finding those smart pigs, he explained, is selecting pigs with ears that stand erect as opposed to those that fold over.
Tidwell’s “world-famous racing pigs” garner much excitement from children, especially those chosen as “pig rooters” for a numbered pig. If their pig wins, they are awarded a stuffed pink piglet and a bag of mini doughnuts from the stand nearby.
But “You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy it,” said Tidwell.
With the help of the pig corralers, Riblet and Hambone, Tidwell also called for kids to nominate their parents to be rooters for the potbelly race, duties they performed good-naturedly.
Pam Combs of Port St. Lucie and her 10-year-old daughter Olivia, who is in 4-H, have enjoyed this fair event many times over the years.
“I think it’s a wonderful family thing,” Combs said.

2013 36-Hour Giving Challenge

CIRCUS and TRAVELING SHOWS Retirement Project invites your support!

Are you aware that there is a group who are incorporated in the state of Florida and are working to help show people who have to leave working on the road due to age or health problems?  Father Jerry Hogan who is the National Circus Chaplain, is Chairman of this group known as CATS or THE CIRCUS AND TRAVELING SHOWS RETIREMENT PROJECT WHICH IS A 501 (c) (3) PUBLIC CHARITY.

CATS was founded to assist show people with age or health problems in their search for affordable housing in the Southwest Florida area. Our goal is to obtain land and establish a community where show people can live and share their tradition.
 You will have an opportunity very soon to support this project!
 From 7:00 a.m. March 5 until 7:00 p.m. March 6 any donations to
CATS will be matched by local funders through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.   Your secure online donation can help us share in more than $645,000 in matching and challenge support.
 HERE’S HOW:  Visit
 Hit:  Find
 Enter: Circus and Traveling Shows Retirement Project, Inc.
 When the CATS box appears, Hit the Donation button and enter your gift
Just a reminder that the Showfolks Tent of CFA will have their Pot Luck Supper on Wednesday, March 6th at 6:30 p.m. at the Showfolks Club.  The main dish will be provided as well as utensils and coffee. 
Each member should bring a side dish or dessert that will feed at least 6 to 8 people.
Our annual fund raiser of an AUCTION will also take place on this evening as well as a short business meeting.

Pete Adams
WPTV: National elephant center making progress

Published Feb. 21, 2013
WPTV NewsChannel 5 reports National elephant center making progress.


Feb. 28, 2013
Yesterday we had the pleasure of hosting the Eros School for Cerebral Palsy and Learning Disabled, The School of the Blind and Peace Haven Old Age Home in a specially scheduled afternoon show. From the smiles on their faces we think that they enjoyed the show as much we enjoyed performing it for them.

McLaren Circus in Wynberg til the 10th of March. The community has spoken with full houses in all shows this last weekend and tickets selling fast for next weekend we have extended here for another week.

Lazy morning here at McLaren Circus.
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from McLaren Circus facebook page
Piccadilly Circus coming to Cobb

by Alison Jibilian
March 01, 2013
MARIETTA — The Piccadilly Circus is coming to town this weekend, offering a lineup of entertainment that many will find irresistible.
The Piccadilly show, put on by Ice Capades, opens Sunday at 1 p.m. with two later shows at 3:30 and 6.
Circuses are among the most ancient forms of entertainment, dating back to early Rome, while the modern circus came into its own in the 18th century when the first one-ring circus opened in France. Soon after, the circus reached the United States and was so wildly popular that even George Washington went to see the show.
Since then, circuses have expanded and improved, but have also received their fair share of criticism. In the 1970s and ’80s, people began to voice concerns over the treatment of animals, and that has remained an issue to this day.
MDJ Facebook fan Kim Bannerman said: “We don’t do circuses because of the mistreatment of animals.”
Although circuses have continued to be accused of exploiting animals for entertainment, those that still operate appear to have no problem selling tickets and filling arenas.
Sherry Jernigan of Kennesaw recently enjoyed a circus, saying, “My favorite part (about the circus) was the trapeze; my granddaughter’s favorite part was the dogs that did tricks and the horses.”
Shyann Waggnoer, spokesperson for the Piccadilly Circus, said she thinks the circus remains popular because it’s a fun time for families.
“It’s a good place to make memories,” she said.
Waggnoer stressed that Piccadilly Circus does not mistreat its animals.
A production of Ice Capades, Piccadilly Circus visits more than 200 cities a year, and as many as five to six a week. It is a one-ring circus that combines traditional elements with modern special effects. There will be an all new show called Piccadilly Circus BLAMMO! which includes the “Cossack Warriors” on horseback; Motorcycle Nitro Cowboys in the globe of Death, many animals, including camels, zebras, ponies and tigers as well as clowns and comedy acts.
Piccadilly Circus will be in Marietta on Sunday at Jim Miller Park, at 2245 Callaway Road. One hour before each show time, there will be a Kids Fun Zone offering pony rides, bouncy houses and a free petting zoo.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Piccadilly Circus coming to Cobb
The Great Circus Parade: 50 years after its Milwaukee debut, McElhatton remembers the event

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Flanked by son Tim McElhatton and daughter-in-law Barbara Armstrong, Irene McElhatton shares memories of the first Milwaukee circus parade in 1963.
By Ben Bromley, News Republic
March 1, 2013
What Irene McElhatton remembers most is high heat and tall buildings.
It was Independence Day weekend 1963, and somehow this waitress found herself appearing in a new event, a circus parade in downtown Milwaukee. She couldn’t help but ask herself how she ended up riding on a circus wagon in a parade, clad in a heavy green skirt and jacket. “It was hot,” she said.
Then she remembered that her boss at the Simon House, an upper-crust, circus-themed restaurant in downtown Madison, was a friend of Chappie Fox, a tireless promoter of Circus World Museum and the Milwaukee parade. “He said, ‘Pick five of your favorite waitresses for a wagon ride,’ and I was one,” McElhatton recalled.
Now 92 and living at St. Clare Hospice House, McElhatton retains sharp memories of the start of what turned out to be a long-standing tradition. Circus parades were held in Milwaukee from 1963 to 1973, then vacillated between Baraboo, Chicago and Milwaukee from 1980 to 2005. In 2009 the parade made a one-time return to Milwaukee, which McElhatton attended as a spectator.
In addition to the July 1963 heat, she remembered being awed by Milwaukee’s skyline — “I felt like I was in New York” — and not being able to see much of the parade. She saw the crowds, but none of the other parade entries. While she was busy spending three hours waving — and trying not to disturb her large green hat and yellow plume — her husband Ralph “Mac” McElhatton and sons Tim and Terry enjoyed the parade at street level. “They saw the parade, and I didn’t,” she said.
A Cross Plains native, she and Mac bounced around from state to state over the years, often landing in the Madison area.
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'Traces' mixes circus, parkour

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A moment in "Traces" called Hand to Hand. (Michael Meseke)
By Michael Eck
Thursday, February 28, 2013
SCHENECTADY — It's an age-old saw, the one about the kid on the street running away to join the circus. But what if it happened the other way around, and the circus ran off to join the street.

"Traces," a product of the Montreal-based 7 Fingers troupe, melds urban activities like skateboarding, basketball and the corner hang into a sinuous whole with modern cirque tropes of dance, fable and acrobatics. The show's Wednesday night opening at Proctors was, in a word, dazzling. The show was performed again Thursday night.
Perhaps the strongest flavors in the show come from parkour and freerunning, with thrilling jumps, spins and gyrations that blast past the nonsensical martial acrobatics of action films. These moves are entertaining enough, but in "Traces" all feats serve a purpose in the story as well.

It's a unique entertainment, which finds each of its players (traceurs in the parlance of parkour) excelling in many fields, not just one. Gone, it seems, are the days of the "circus act." It's not enough to walk the tightrope anymore; you have to do standup comedy, impersonations and read poetry as well. Frankly, none of the latter "skills" enter into "Traces," but its players do multitask in thrilling varieties.
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