Rain doesn't dampen local circus enthusiasm
By Scott Fitzgerald
All fotos by Alexa Rogals, The Southern
A large crowd watches one of the performances Saturday 2014 during the Ainad Shriners Circus at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. Nearly 2,500 people attended the event.
Alexa Rogals, The Southern
Tigers were guided through rings of fire for a performance Saturday during the Ainad Shriners Circus at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds. The tigers were also able to balance while walking on a large barr
A clown entertained the crowd between performances Saturday during the Ainad Shriners Circus at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds.
A performer gets thrown in the air Saturday during the Ainad Shriners Circus performance at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds
DU QUOIN -- Rain didn't hamper the 48th annual Ainad Shriners Circus on Saturday as the show went on.
A large crowd huddled underneath the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds grandstand as rain began falling during the third display -- Royal Bengal Tigers performing in the steel cage as cued by their trainer, Michael Ramos.
"It's amazing how many parents have been here when they were children, and now they are bringing their children," said circus site chairman Denver Tolbert at the start of the George Carden Circus International performance.
The show benefits Shriners activities throughout the year and includes sizable donations to Shriners hospitals, said Ainad Potentate Rick Sieben of Freeburg.
"We're doing exceptionally well this year," Sieben said of earlier performances in Waterloo, Jerseyville, Olney and Salem before the show arrived Saturday.
Shriner officers were hoping for $15,000 in gate revenues for each show.
There was local talent to compliment show professionals that included new acts such as David Smith Jr. as The Human Cannonball and The Windy City Tumblers.
Ten-year-old Maggie Stacey of Sesser sang the national anthem. It was her first time to sing the song before a large crowd and she said she was nervous.
Miss Perry County 2012 Alyssa Reinhardt of Murphysboro said it was an honor to be invited to the circus as a special guest to welcome circus patrons.
However, she had a special request.
"I've never ridden an elephant before," she said in anticipation of the opportunity to ride one.
Audrey Michelle Alvarado of El Paso, Texas, was the show's ringmaster. She said during a break in the show that she attended her first circus at age 5. She has been a part of the circus world ever since learning how to perform various acts and train animals.
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