Circus leaves telltale signs in Overpeck County Park
TARIQ ZEHAWI/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Cole Bros. circus trucks left a half-acre of ruts at Overpeck County Park, but county officials said extremely wet weather was to blame, not anything the circus did wrong.
BY JOHN C. ENSSLIN,STAFF WRITER, The Record
JUNE 17, 2014
The big top came to Overpeck County Park for the first time last weekend, along with the requisite clowns, tigers and elephants. When the circus rolled out to its next destination, however, it left telltale signs of its presence: muddy tire tracks on about a half-acre of land.
But County Parks Director Ron Kistner said last week's torrential rains were to blame more than the trucks that haul the circus from location to location. The water had turned the already soft earth into mud.
Bulldozers will level out the ruts today, Kistner said. With seeding, the roped-off area in the Ridgefield Park section of Overpeck should be back to normal in about a month, he said.
"It all comes back," Kistner said after inspecting the site Monday. "I'm not blaming the circus. They didn't do anything wrong. I was very impressed with their operation."
The four-day event with Cole Bros. Circus was another first for Overpeck, which in recent years has hosted a variety of new events from ethnic celebrations and county fairs to a food truck mash-up and wine festivals. The county has hosted several smaller carnivals, but never a circus.
The circus opened on Thursday on the park's Great Lawn when rain and thunderstorms were pounding the area. Despite the wet weather, a spokesman for the circus said the event went smoothly once the rain let up.
"The experience with people at the park was tremendous," said Randy Hales, marketing director for Cole Bros.
Hales said the tire tracks were confined to about a half-acre of the 20-acre section of the park where the circus set up.
"We enjoyed the experience and hope to be back next year," Hales added.
Kistner said the circus paid a $10,000 permit fee for the four days. The county also required a security deposit.
But because the damages were weather-related, Kistner said the county will not charge Cole Bros. for the bulldozing and reseeding effort.
Kistner also said the area where the damage occurred is far enough away that it will not affect some upcoming events — such as an Irish festival on June 28.
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