2014 Convention



Saturday, August 17, 2013


Bring your circus to the circus plus other family events Aug. 18-24

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Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey
Joey Frisco Jr. is a third-generation elephant trainer with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, which is coming to town Wednesday, Aug. 21
By Nicole Villalpando, American-Statesman Staff
Aug. 17, 2013
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey “Dragons”
7:30 p.m Wednesday-Aug. 24; 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Aug. 24 and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. Aug. 25. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St. $10-$80. Ages 2 and older must have a ticket. 512-471-7744,
The circus is in town! See elephants, lions and tigers and other animals perform. Watch trapeze artists and other acts fly through the air. And don’t forget the hilarious clowns. Come to the open house 90 minutes before the show to see where the elephants live and ask their trainers questions. It could be the Greatest Show on Earth.

Wendy's on Monday debunked the theory that it purposefully snuck a hidden message within its new logo.
County fair's first day

MARSHALL – The Calhoun County Fair opened for the 165th year Sunday. Check out the sights and sounds. (Andy Fitzpatrick/The Enquirer)
Circus back in Marlborough for more magic
17th August 2013
Giffords Circus rolls into Marlborough next week for its annual visit to the town.
The circus was formed 13 years ago by Oxford graduate Nel Gifford and her husband Toti, a landscape gardener and has become a regular summer attraction.
The Gloucestershire-based circus tours small towns in Wiltshire and Gloucester-shire with its themed presentations.
This year it will be presenting Lucky 13 – a new show that is about family, gypsies, superstition, magic and mystery.
Set in Serbia, Lucky 13 is a performance for the whole family and offers what the Giffords call a ‘dazzling adventure’.
Audiences will be taken back in time to mysterious and foreign lands – where fire, magic, puppets, illusion, dancing, hilarity, horses and Brian the goose will star alongside world-renowned acrobats, jugglers, hand balancers, wirewalkers, magicians, tap dancers and aerial artists from all around the globe.
During the annual tour, a wild Serbian Gypsy trio will be performing under the guidance of music co-ordinator Nick Hooper, who joins the circus for the first time, having previously worked on the Harry Potter films.
Giffords circus will be on the Common from August 29 to September 9.
There will be a performance every night and two performances each day at the weekends.


Contemporary circus to perform in Arlington next week
Former Arlington woman co-founded troupCourtesy photo.
Left, Lindsay Culbert-Olds, and Kia-Melinda Eastman have started their own contemporary circus, FAQ Circus, will perform in Arlington next Monday and Tuesday.
By Eileen Kennedy
Wicked Local Arlington
Aug 16, 2013
Arlington, Mass. —Two women who fell in love with the flying trapeze as youngsters recently started their own circus troupe, and will be performing here next week at the Arlington Center for the Arts.
Resident Lindsay Culbert-Olds, who graduated from Arlington High School, and her trapeze partner, Kia-Melinda Eastman, a graduate of Waltham High School, have formed the FAQ Circus in Montreal as they finished up circus college this spring, with a mission of bringing modern circus performances to the United States.
 In contemporary circuses there are usually no animals, although clowns and trapeze artists are the stars of the show.
"What I love about the circus is how much of an art form it is," said Culbert-Olds from the road, as the troupe performed in Philadelphia. "Contemporary circus is a combination of dance and theater – it really is performance art."
They both fell in love with the circus at very young ages – for Culbert-Olds, she was 8 when she saw an episode of the television show "Zoom," which featured circus performers, and for Eastman it was at age 7, when she learned about trapeze work during gymnastics.
The two women bonded as young girls touring with Circus Smirkus, a youth circus of kids aged 10 to 18 that tours throughout New England. They became trapeze partners.
Culbert-Olds and Eastman both went on to college following Circus Smirkus and high school graduations, and continued to head toward home every weekend so they could continue trapeze training. Eventually, they decided not to return to their respective colleges because they recognized their hearts were with the circus.
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Dakota City Hosts Benefit Circus
August 16, 2013

DAKOTA CITY, NE - There's no clowning around when it comes to Dakota City's Fire and Rescue teams, except when the circus comes to town for a benefit.
The Culpepper and Merriweather Big Top Circus was in Dakota City for one night only tonight.
This event is extra special because a percentage of the proceeds will go to the Dakota City Fire and Rescue team.
This circus thrives in smaller communities where its able to establish lasting relationships, rather than just pack up and leave overnight.
"Throughout the entire tour we've been partnering up with Chamber of Commerce's in towns that we've been going to and finding ways that we can benefit them. What charities do they need, what is it going on in this specific community that we can address as a traveling troop of people going through the area," explained Nathan Holguin, a clown with the Culpepper and Merriweather circus.
Even though it helps small towns, this is no small circus. It has a little something for everyone.
"A young lady who ties a beret into her hair, into some rigging, and they pull her twenty feet into the air. Her brother does what's called a rola bola act. He stacks tubes on top of each other. That's a structure about 11 feet in the air. He's standing on top of that and the whole thing's wiggling underneath him like this. A trapeze act. A liberty act with a giant draft horse and miniature pony. A group unicycle number. Two golden tabby tigers and the star of our show, a black-maned African lion named Francis," Holguin said.
The Dakota City event was one night only, but the circus isn't packing up and leaving Siouxland.
There are several more nights of entertainment lined up around the area, including Akron on Wednesday.

circus uk 2

Come to the circus - you’ll have a really wild time

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Circus ringmistress Petra Jackson and Cinzia Timmis
August 16, 2013
Now here’s something you don’t see every day. Zebra - rather like civil servants - tend to be thin on the ground at Norcross.

Here it’s a customary sight at least once a year. That’s the zebra. Arguably cutbacks have made civil servants a more endangered species locally.
But time could be running out for traditional travelling circuses such as this.
Circus Mondao is one of the few touring circuses to still feature wild animals.
Zebra, camels, reindeer. In twos, like Noah’s Ark. “Not wild animals,” stresses ringmaster Petra Jackson, “not as most would consider them – lions, tigers.”
It’s an argument which doesn’t wash with animal rights campaigners, such as the Captive Animal Society and Animal Defenders International.
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 Circus set to visit region

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August 16, 2013   
The Whirling Bros. Circus is coming through Southern Illinois.
Whiling Bros. Circus features the Cossack Warriors on horseback, Motorcycle Nitro Cowboys in the Globe of Death, camels, elephants, clown comedy acts and more
Free children’s tickets have been distributed at all elementary schools, pre-schools, day care centers and churches. The tickets are also available at sponsoring businesses in the area. For a limited time, adult tickets can be purchased for $9.75 at www.whirlingbros
The circus show times will be at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Randolph County Fairgrounds, 506 W Belmont Street in Sparta. Tickets may also be purchased at the box office on the day of the show.


Roll up roll up ... to be a Commonwealth circus star!
A WORLDWIDE hunt has been launched for talented young people to become the circus stars of the future.

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From left - Alisa Brough, Hanna Lenox, Andy Irvine and Gabriel Spectre of the Bright Night Youth Circus show off some of the skills that you could learn during circus training Pictures: Phil Rider
By vivienne nicoll
Three Glasgow organisations are hoping to recruit performers aged between 15 and 25-years-old to join a youth circus training programme.
 They will perform to audiences across Scotland during the Queen's Baton Relay in advance of the Commonwealth Games.
 And they could form part of a permanent circus troupe which will be based in the city but tour widely.
 The Commonwealth Youth Circus will be dedicated to high octane and spectacular contemporary performance.
 Young people selected to take part will be expected to train full-time for nine months from October this year until June next year.
 Each person will follow an individually tailored development plan for 20 hours a week, create material with a professional creative team and take masterclasses with international guest tutors.
 The Commonwealth Youth Circus is a partnership between Glasgow companies Bright Night International, Glasgow Parkour Coaching and Aerial Edge which are at the forefront of physical training and performance in Scotland.
 Producer Phyllis Martin said the idea of creating a Glasgow-based circus was the result of the companies meeting talented individuals.
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DON'T forget TO SEND 80TH. birthday card   FOR Joe Frisco, before 8-31. Send to CAROL FRISCO,,4821 W. Alta Lane, Peoria, Il, 61615. Pass the word. Thanks....Bill Prickett
Trimper's Carousel on Ocean City Boardwalk
Ocean City, MD--

100-year-old Herschell-Spillman merry-go-round with its hand-carved menagerie of animals still delights young and old alike.


More great weather Wednesday at the fair

Eric Young
The midway lights up the night at the Ogemaw County Fair.

Posted by Eric Young
The great weather continued for the Ogemaw County Fair Wednesday, as people packed the fairgrounds for the popular bump and run event at the grandstands.

Josh Bisanz (100) of Alpena and Steve Lippner (22) of Newaygo battle for the lead on the way to the checkered flag.

The Shock Drop lights up the night.  

A long exposure shot of Pharaoh’s Fury gives the illusion of happiness.

The two Ferris wheels shine brightly.
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The carnival midway, Arnold's Amusements, shines brightly.
see more:,97726
88th Annual Sharptown,MD Firemen's Carnival
Sharptown, MD---

88th Annual Sharptown Firemen's Carnival continues through Saturday, Aug. 24, except Sunday's
"Happiness Is" another day of fun at the Fair!

Published on Aug 16, 2013
"Nothing Compares" to the 2013 Iowa State Fair.

MO St Fair

Anastasini Circus thrills crowds at 2013 Mo State Fair

Photos by Randy Kirby
August 9, 2013
The Amazing Anastasini Circus is a wonderful way to spend some time at the 2013 Missouri State Fair, with three free exciting shows daily throughout the Fair. The giant yellow and red tent is located just north of the Midway entrance. Photos by Randy Kirby, Sedalia News Journal.


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The 2013 Shrine Circus Rocks Laredo Energy Arena 9/20-9/22
 International performers from 15+ countries set to dazzle Laredo
 Hosted by Alzafar Shrine

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A cultural kaleidoscope of color and opulent panorama of pageantry kicks off a star-studded line up as the Alzafar Shrine Circus rolls into Laredo. Enchanting elephants, tantalizing tigers, and amazing acrobats prepare to dazzle and astound.
This year’s Shrine Circus is all new—including an original new score, beautiful new costumes, and thrilling feats, many never attempted in the US previously. George Carden, the founder of America’s Original Three Ring Circus, said this about the upcoming shows, “Every year, we scour the world to find the best performances. We’re bringing a big show, the biggest we’ve ever put together. The spirit of the circus is to top anything and everything, each year.”
 Slated to appear are:
 •Giancarlo’s Tigers, World Renowned Tiger Trainer. Giancarlo impressively interacts with the Dyanamic Tigers and Liger as they perform magnificent feats!
•Broadway Bo, The World’s Largest Performing Elephant. Trained by Larry Carden. In a jaunty top hat, see this incredible 5 ton pachyderm perform feats of precision and perfection.
•Priceless Pachyderms, trained by Larry Carden. Dancing elephants perform precision feats with our Gagnam style dancers featuring Bo, a one of a kind elephant who loves to show his talents!
•Everyone’s favorite clown, Johnny, and his surprising side kick Baby Pach. Watch Johnny clown around with his “toy.”
•Guiming Meng. Our talented guest from China entertains with his unique balancing act!
•Extreme Circus Riders. Not for the faint of heart, fast paced, highly energized two and four wheeled sensations!
•The Human Cannonball. World Record Holder, David Smith, Jr. is blasted from the booming barrel, soaring freestyle to his destination!
Extreme sports: Daredevils prepare for Nitro Circus Live show debut

Published on Aug 16, 2013
Extreme sports stars show off their freestyle skills in preparation for the Nitro Circus Live show in Macau, China. Report by Sarah Kerr.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Durham Fair Association votes to keep elephant act despite protests
By Michael T. Lyle Jr.-
August 15, 2013
DURHAM >> A new event at this year’s Durham Fair involving elephants that has drawn protests from local residents will go on as planned, fair officials announced after a vote Wednesday.
Rachel Mann launched an online petition on the website two weeks ago in hopes of encouraging other residents into forcing Durham Fair Association officials to cancel the “Elephant Encounter” attraction. The petition, which generated more than 3,000 signatures, claimed the Durham Fair Association is supporting the captivity, mistreatment and exploitation of elephants for entertainment by hosting the event at the fair, scheduled for Sept. 26 to 29 at the fairgrounds on Route 17.
The petition also claimed that Elephant Encounter owner William Morris mistreated his animals in 2003, failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act and was cited by the United States Department of Agriculture for repeated failure to provide adequate veterinary care and for failure to provide a nutritional diet to two undersized elephants.
Morris, however, responded in an email to the Press that he has a clean record with the USDA, has had no issues for non-compliance for the past 10 years and regularly gets unannounced inspections to ensure the animals’ well-being.
Fair association officials released a statement in response to the petition, saying that “Elephant Encounter” was chosen for its educational value based on an overwhelming response to a survey sent out to its members.
The statement goes on to say that the fair’s entertainment department has worked for years with a very reputable agency that understands both the reputation of the fair and mandated the required permits and evidence of applicable regulatory reviews necessary to demonstrate proper care of the animals.
Fair association officials added that they have been in contact with the owners of the animals and are convinced they regard these animals as they would their own pets.
However, after Mann presented her petition to fair association officials during a closed meeting Wednesday, members voted to keep the event by a 59-12 vote, she said.
“We are disappointed that the Association has chosen to ignore the concerns of the citizens of Durham and fair-goers from across Connecticut, and has made the decision to include an act condoning animal exploitation, contrary to the values of the fair and our community,” Mann said in an email to the Press. “We thank those who have joined us to share their concerns with the Association and will continue to raise awareness of the plight of performing elephants. At this time we are considering the possibility of setting up a fund to collect donations from supporters interested in donating money to help end the exploitation of elephants.”
Fair association officials were not available for comment as of Wednesday evening


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Vintage carousels from France go for a spin in New York City
Lauren Glassberg reports from Governors Island


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Fun at the Fair!
15 Aug 2013
BUFFALO, NY (CW23) - As the third largest fair in the country, the Erie County Fair is one of the best events of summer! Matt headed to the fair grounds to get in on all the fun happening this year!

Dog Goldberg Machine by Beneful®

Published on Jul 2, 2013
Beneful takes play to new places with this inventive Dog Goldberg machine powered by dogs and their favorite toys.
"Happiness Is" beautiful weather at the Fair!

Published on Aug 15, 2013
"Nothing Compares" to the 2013 Iowa State Fair.


New company brings new toys
Merriam's Midway Shows makes first stop at Brown County Fair

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Dale Merriam
By Kay Nguyen
August 14, 2013
There's a new company providing rides for the carnival at the Brown County Fair this year.
 It's Dale Merriam's first time in Aberdeen for the Brown County Fair, but it's certainly not his first fair.
 Merriam, 74, is the retired owner of Merriam's Midway Shows, which is making its first stop in Aberdeen. Merriam's son, Todd, is the current owner of the company.
 "We're excited to be here," Dale Merriam said.
 The previous provider of midway entertainment was North Star Amusements, based in Cody, Wyo. According to the Missoulian, North Star Amusements is at the Northwest Montana Fair this week.
 Merriam's trucks pulled out of Austin, Minn., at 8:30 p.m. Sunday after a stint at the Mower County Fair and came straight to Aberdeen, with the first trucks arriving around noon Monday.
 Even after a lifetime in the carnival business,
"The schedule this week was as tight as any could be," he said. "We had no mechanical problems and could begin setup right away."
 The last truck, which was carrying a band organ, arrived just in time at 5 p.m. Tuesday for the opening of the midway. The band organ is the instrument that makes music heard on a carousel, though most carousels use recorded CDs now.
 "Fairgoers can look forward to that," said Dale Merriam, who brought in 20 rides and attractions for the Brown County Fair.
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The First Wienermobile

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Circus Smirkus attracts all ages for ‘Oz Incorporated’

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Troupers perform acrobatic feats for a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers during the circus’ 59th show of the summer season.
By Caela Murphy, The Dartmouth Staff
August 16, 2013
Last weekend, a dry expanse of land along Route 10 known as Fullington Farm Field was transformed into a playground for the imagination. Circus Smirkus, a company comprised of troupers aged 10 to 18, set up a colorful big-top in Hanover for the weekend as part of its summer tour.
Families streamed into the tent and seated themselves on bright yellow bleachers. As circus employees distributed popcorn and cotton candy, young children were invited to sit on the floor around the center ring, where they could participate in the performance.
“For young kids, when they sit up close and there’s no distance between them and the performers, they’re transported to another world,” executive director Ed LeClair Tu ’85 said. “That’s what we’re all about.”
Andrea McCullough attended the circus Sunday at a friend’s recommendation.
“I just want to see the looks on my kids’ faces,” she said.
Children were not the only ones excited about the performance. For adults in the audience like Nancy Lowry, who came with her grandson, the circus offered a chance to relive a childhood fantasy.
“I’m excited to see the kids perform,” Lowry said. “As a kid I always thought that would’ve been the dream, to go to camp to be in the circus.”
The season’s theme is “Oz Incorporated,” a twist on “The Wizard of Oz” that involves the story’s well-known characters but is set in the future, at the Wizard’s corporation. A grand curtain at the back of the ring serves as the building’s elevator, opening and closing to transport performers on and off the stage.
In a humorous variation on the traditional plot, the Wicked Witch argues loudly on a cell phone, while Toto carries a camera to snap selfies with each new character he meets.
Creative director Jesse Dryden chose to add a twist to the classic tale to make it more interesting for the audience.
“It both keeps it fresh and allows you to instantly know the characters,” LeClair said. “It’s a way to let the audience be introduced into the show really quickly, but framing it as a company set in the future allows you to throw in some twists.”
Comedic moments and plot twists were interspersed with theatrical and acrobatic exhibitions, including juggling, body contortion and trampoline exercises.
Sunday’s show was Circus Smirkus’ 59th performance this summer, in a season of 69 shows that visit 15 towns throughout New England. LeClair estimated that 4,500 people attended the Hanover performances.
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Thursday, August 15, 2013


Traveling trainer looks at animals as 'my livelihood'
Circus life has man on road most of year

Kelly Miller Circus crews use a small tractor and an elephant to raise the center poles of the big tent Tuesday at St. Mary Catholic Church in Putnam Township. / ALAN WARD/DAILY PRESS & ARGUS
Written by Amanda Whitesell, Daily Press & Argus
Aug. 14, 2013
Ryan Holder’s tigers can jump over each other, walk on their hind legs and eat right out of his hand.
But what is the tiger trainer’s favorite aspect of working with the animals at Kelly Miller Circus, which on Tuesday visited Putnam Township?
“Letting tigers be tigers,” he said.
The 25-year-old travels nine months out of the year with the circus, performing two shows per day, seven days per week.
“We travel for maybe an hour in the morning, and they’re all set up and sitting on the grass by 8 in the morning,” he said, motioning toward the four tigers, lazily lounging in a cage stationed outside his pickup truck and trailer. “The rest of the day is theirs until showtime.”
Holder grew up the son of an elephant trainer, and began shoveling their barns at age 4.
“I rode my first bull elephant when I was 10 days old,” he said. “It’s in my blood.”
The St. Louis native said he’s always wanted to work with wild animals, and each of his tigers has a unique personality, ranging from “incredibly smart” to “lazy.”
Each tiger has a public name and a given name, to prevent names from losing their significance for training purposes, he said. The given name of his youngest tiger, Zera, is dedicated to his grandmother.
Holder doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that the day a “light bulb” went off in the tiger’s head regarding training was the same day his grandmother came out of the hospital after having a stroke.
The trainer said he’s offended by organizations like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which he said “spews propaganda.” The circus — including interactions between trainers and animals — is regularly inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which shows up unannounced, he said.
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Exotic animals attract the attention of youth at the Kelly Miller Circus in Putnam Township. ALAN WARD/DAILY PRESS & ARGUS
Taking care
“These animals are my livelihood,” he said. “It wouldn’t benefit me at all to not take care of them.”
The Kelly Miller Circus came under fire recently when a circus attendee in Ohio allegedly saw a Carson & Barnes Circus elephant handler, who is traveling with the Kelly Miller Circus, hit the animal three times in Point Place, Ohio, with a stick, which “appeared to have a sharp hook on the end” until it let out a “high-pitched sound that sounded like a scream.” The elephant had four children on its back, between the ages of 4 and 7, the report alleges.
General Manager Jim Royal said in a previous discussion with the Daily Press & Argus that he “absolutely” denies the allegations, noting that the circus invites the public to see the animals before and between the shows.
The circus presented two shows Tuesday at St. Mary Catholic Church, south of M-36 at 10601 Dexter-Pinckney Road in Putnam Township, just south of Pinckney. The circus had a “big crowd” that visited the grounds before the circus began, Holder said.
The church is a sponsor of the circus, with a percentage of ticket sales going toward the church’s youth in faith formation ministries, according to Rebecca Keiser, director of religious education.
For more information about Holder’s tiger act, visit


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