2014 Convention



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Circus Vargas setting up in San Luis Obispo
by Lindsay MacLeod
June 25,2014

The circus is coming to the Central Coast this weekend.

Circus Vargas will be in San Luis Obispo from June 27 through July 3.

The circus tent goes up Wednesday at the Madonna Inn.

The show includes acrobatic tricks, stunts, and magic.

Hearts & Noses troupe empower young patients

Arlene Fruchter, a.k.a. clown Fleurette, with baby James at Franciscan Hospital for Children.
By Joseph P. Kahn-GLOBE STAFF   
JUNE 25, 2014
For hospital clowns Joyce Friedman and David Levitin, no two tours of duty are quite the same. Which is just how they like it.

During rounds at Boston Medical Center, Friedman (a.k.a. Frizzle) and Levitin (Toodles) showed off their improv skills room by room, careful to assign an active role to each young patient they visited.

At the bedside of 10-year old Cheyanne, the pair held a mock marriage ceremony, prompting Cheyanne to exclaim, through her oxygen mask, “You forgot to exchange vows!” Next they coaxed Leandro, 8, to perform magic tricks as his mother looked on, beaming. The two then staged an episode of “America’s Next Top Model” for Paoloa, a 21-year old college student, who snapped a photo of the bumbling fashionistas while Toodles cooed, “You’re beautiful, too, Paoloa!” She blushed.

“We’re not clown doctors. But we don’t ignore what a child is saying, either,” said Cheryl Lekousi (pictured), executive director, Hearts & Noses Hospital Clown Troupe.

Stepping out of character briefly, Friedman and Levitin ducked into a vacant room at BMC to discuss their work with the Hearts & Noses Hospital Clown Troupe, a group of professionally trained volunteers serving several local hospitals.

“Hospital clowns are inherently stupid,” explained Friedman, a musician and actress in her 15th year with the organization. “We mess up everything. Pointing out our ineptness empowers the child in an environment that usually doesn’t give them much control over anything.”

Founded in 1997, Hearts & Noses boasts 21 current members, among them a psychiatric nurse, professional storyteller, preschool teacher, and, in Levitin, a retired physician with a fondness for flowery neckties. Their mission? To promote healing while providing a few chuckles to some kids badly in need of a belly laugh.

COLE BROS.: Plymouth Town Meeting bans, Kiwanis seeks to reverse
The ink hasn't dried on the town's new regulation prohibiting the display of exotic animals at traveling circuses, and there is word of an effort by the Plymouth Kiwanis to have its language deleted from Plymouth's bylaws.
By Frank Mand--Old Colony Memorial 
Jun. 25, 2014

PLYMOUTH – The ink hasn’t dried on the town’s new regulation prohibiting the display of exotic animals at traveling circuses, and there is word of an effort by the Plymouth Kiwanis to have its language deleted from Plymouth’s bylaws.
April 5, after a yearlong effort that began in 2013, the exotic animal bylaw – effectively banning circuses that display elephants, tigers, lions and the like – was approved by Town Meeting.
The assumption at the time was that the Cole Bros. circus, which had been a regular visitor to Plymouth for many years, would not be able to bring its tigers and elephants back to America’s Hometown.
But just weeks ago many residents were surprised to see signs going up around town announcing the circus’ return June 17 and 18.

Residents assumed that the local branch of Kiwanis, which had sponsored the circus in the past, had already made a commitment to this year’s show. But the official record suggests the Kiwanis group did not request the permit for the event until April 22, two weeks after Town Meeting voted.
Cole Bros. could still have chosen to cancel its appearance, but the regulation – though passed by Town Meeting April 5 – technically did not prohibit Cole’s from bringing its big top to town until the Attorney General’s Office had officially approved the bylaw change and the town had publicly posted that decision.

That, as it turns out, takes a while.
For bylaw changes made at Town Meeting, the process is as follows:
· First, Town Meeting votes to approve (April 5).
· Ten days after that the town – if it’s ready – can submit a packet containing the bylaw and additional documents verifying that the meeting was properly conducted. The town can take up to 30 days to prepare that packet. (Plymouth sent that packet April 18.)
· Once the Attorney General’s Office has the packet of information, it has a maximum of 90 days to verify the bylaw is constitutional and does not conflict with other regulations in or out of town. (In this case, the AGO has until July 17).
Town Clerk Laurence Pizer offers the example of a bylaw that had been proposed regarding boating on Great Herring Pond. Though approved at Plymouth Town Meeting it was later deemed unconstitutional because part of the pond is in another town.
· If the AGO believes additional research is necessary that office can extend the 90-day review period.
· Once the AGO approves the bylaw and it is posted at Town Hall, it becomes official.
According to Pizer the expectation is that the AGO’s approval will happen no later than July 17. But how long the bylaw will be in effect is now in question.
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America’s Favorite Old-Fashioned Big Top Circus is coming to town
June 24, 2014
BEAVERTON,MI – Thanks to the sponsorship of The Beaverton Area Chamber of Commerce, Culpepper & Merriweather Circus, America’s Favorite Big Top Circus is coming to Beaverton, Michigan on Tuesday, July 1 at the Beaverton High School grounds, with two scheduled performances at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Now in its 30th edition, C&M Circus has become internationally known for quality family entertainment. This authentic One-Ring, Big Top Circus has been featured on National Geographic’s Explorer TV series, Entertainment Tonight, The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Arizona Highways Magazine. It has also been featured on the A&E Special: Under the Big Top and most recently, On the Road with Circus Kids, a Nickelodeon special featured on the Nick News Program.
Bring your friends and family out circus morning to watch as a familiar place in your town is transformed into a bustling Circus City. Activity swirls around the grounds as animals are unloaded, the Big Top is erected, and rigging is prepared for performances later in the day. Enjoy the magic and tradition of the American Circus with your family and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Between 9:30-10 a.m. come watch the raising of the Big Top, then stay for the free tour. This presentation offers a unique face-to-face opportunity for families, schools, and interested community members to meet and learn all about the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus family and includes a walking tour of the circus grounds. Learn interesting facts about our performers, the history of our show and the different species of animals in our Circus Family.
In this presentation we will also address topics such as hygiene, grooming and the veterinary care all of our animals receive. In recent years the Tent Raising and Morning Tour has become a popular program for families and interested community members. It is presented in a way everyone, young and old can learn many interesting facts about the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus Family and now we have a brand new tent! This is a special part of Circus Day that should not be missed.
On circus day, our performers bring the magic of the circus to life in each 90-minute performance. This year’s lineup includes an All-Star group of performers and entertainers that include: Miss Simone and her breath taking single trapeze, Miss Paulina’s proud “Big & Little” prancing ponies, The Arlise Troupe on their wild and crazy unicycles, Natalie’s American Eskimo Escapades, and back by popular demand Miss April and her on the edge of your seat Rola Bola. This year we have Miss Gorgia displaying flexability to the extreme and for the first time, the Wheel of Destiny & Tight Rope by The Los Moralitos. But, lets not forget our favorite performing Jungle Cats, Soloman, Delilah & Francis, presented by Mr. Trey Key, that will certainly have you on the edge of your seats! All accompanied by original music written by the talented, Matt Margucci from Los Angeles, California. Our performers are sure to amaze, delight and entertain the audience members of all ages beyond your wildest imagination. The costumes alone are certainly of Los Vegas quality.

Amazingly Amusing Animals - August 7-17

Published on Jun 25, 2014
Where else can you see a massive boar, watch cows being milked and experience the birth of farm animals? Visit the "Amazingly Amusing" 2014 Iowa State Fair and experience it for yourself — August 7-17
Circus provides high-flying fun at Schuylkill Mall

David McKeown/Staff photo Natalie Franklin is spun high above the circus ring Tuesday during the Lewis and Clark Circus at the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville.
By Mark Gilger,Jr.
June 25, 2014
FRACKVILLE - The big top was back in town Tuesday at the Schuylkill Mall.

The Lewis and Clark Circus had two performances Tuesday evening at the mall. The one-ring circus had something for everyone, including animals, clowns and aerial acrobatics.

"There's a lot of things kids can't see anywhere else," Ariel Valeiras, ringmaster for the circus, said Tuesday. "It's a lot of fun."

David McKeown/Staff photo Ariel Valeiras spins a lasso during the Lewis and Clark Circus Tuesday evening at the Schuylkill Mall.
Based out of South Carolina, the circus performers are several families from five different countries, including Brazil, Argentina and the United Kingdom. The multi-talented performers travel all over the world.

Valeiras said the circus was at the Schuylkill Mall about this time last year and had a nice turnout. The circus had another great turnout this year as nearly every available seat under the big top was taken at the 5 p.m. show.

The circus had a high-energy start with music and trampoline acrobatics. Vandeir dos Reis, better known as the clown named "Grillo," entertained the crowd with his silly antics while involving several audience members in the act.

David McKeown/Staff photo Vandeir dos Reis, better known as "Grillo," clowns around during his act Tuesday evening in the Lewis and Clark Circus at the Schuylkill Mall.
"Circuses come in all shapes and sizes," Valeiras said before the next act.

Lena Dotsenko then guided a horse through various tricks around the center ring. A little pony then joined in on the performance, mimicking the horse's tricks. Natalie Franklin and Dotsenko also performed aerial acrobatics high above the center ring.

Valeiras showed off his skills with a whip and lasso. He was later assisted by his canine companion, Tico the Cowboy Dog.

Steven, 5, and Brady Minakan, 3, of Frackville, were munching on cotton candy and popcorn while enjoying the show Tuesday. The brothers said they were looking forward to seeing all the animals.

"We just wanted to bring the kids out for something to do on a Tuesday," Steve Minakan, their father, said.

Hailey Bowman, 6, said her favorite part of the show was Tico the Cowboy Dog. It was her first time at a circus, her father, Lester Bowman, Delano, said.

"I've been going to circuses since I was a kid," Lester Bowman said. "I knew she would like it."

For more information and a show schedule, visit

Growing up a class clown: The burdens of a professional circus performer

Tim Torkildson with his children and grandchildren. After attending the Ringling Clown College, Tim Torkildson spent 35 years working as a professional clown. His choice of career brought him immense joy and laughter year-round. But even as a clown,Torkildson wasn't immune to the struggles of everyday life.
By Sara Phelps
By Tim Torkildson
June 24 2014

Deseret,UT--Either by random chance or cosmic design, Tim Torkildson had his first opportunity to be a clown in kindergarten, and after that he was never the same.

He swiped his brother Bill’s pajamas and smeared his mother’s lipstick on his face, looking more like the victim of a head-on crash than a merrymaker.

Not having any scripted action besides the teacher’s admonition to “do something funny," Torkildson pranced around the classroom, stuck out his tongue at the indulgent group of parents and then stood as still as Lot’s wife — struck with the utter beauty of laughter and the dim premonition that the cost of generating such merriment could be terribly high.

"I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not want to make people laugh," Torkildson said.
Tim Torkildson spent 35 years of his life working as a professional clown for the Ringling Brothers Circus; however, such a career and addiction to laughter often comes at a price.
He put cellophane tape over the projector lens when the teacher showed movies. He learned to make an immense number of embarrassing noises. He assiduously studied old Marx Brothers and Three Stooges movies on TV. He blew bubbles through his straw into his milk carton until it foamed over, and then slathered the foamy milk over his face so he could shave it off with a plastic butter knife.

The summer after high school graduation, Torkildson found an article about the Ringling Clown College within the pages of Life magazine. In a few months, he hitchhiked to Florida and enrolled in the program.

"I wanted to be (funny), but I wasn’t," Torkildson said. "I needed the training and the exposure that came with working with professional clowns."

Completing the Ringling Clown College program was no easy task for Torkildson. His family was embarrassed by his career choice, and he felt rejected by many of his fellow clowns. Despite this opposition, Torkildson became one of the top performers in his class, and graduated as one of only 12 students with an offer to perform with the Ringling Brothers Circus.

As his college days came to a close, Torkildson began to notice a classmate, Tim Holst, who stood out from the other students.

“This was the first time I’d ever been away from home,” Torkildson said. “I could do anything I wanted and I was considering my options. I noticed that Tim Holst … didn’t swear, didn’t drink (and) didn’t smoke.”

Torkildson realized perhaps there was greater purpose in his attending Ringling Clown College; perhaps he was more than just a juvenile jokester. He took the missionary discussions and was baptized soon after as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After a few years of working as a professional clown, Torkildson put his career on hold to serve an LDS mission in Bangkok, Thailand. Here he developed a love for spicy foods and even performed some of his clown routines for locals.

"I spent two-thirds of my mission performing as a clown," he said. "The church did not have a very good image in Thailand, (so) the mission president did a number of things to generate good public relations. One of the things I did was free clown shows. We would go visit hospitals, schools and jails. I would be introduced as a missionary for the church, and that is as much publicity as we did."

Torkildson was lucky enough to get his job back with the Ringling Brothers Circus after he returned home, but being the class clown came at a price. Though he spent years in the circus making families clap and cheer with excitement, his wife and eight children were not so enthusiastic about his career.

Contemporary circus debuts at Beau Rivagein Biloxi
June 24 2014,

 Now showing at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino is "Saltoriya." Saltoriya translates as "great leap." The show features acrobatics, comedy acts and an upbeat soundtrack in feel-good show.  The collection of acts takes audience members on a journey through a contemporary circus experience. The show runs through August 17th. Performances are 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. And 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Ticket prices start at $12.95. It's all taking place at the Beau Rivage Theater in Biloxi.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014


Circus Model Builders display 
at Circus World, Baraboo, WI
June 26th thru 29th, 2014
Circus performer saved from near-drowning in Walden
By Gittel Evangelist-Times Herald-Record
WALDEN,NY — A man was rescued from near-drowning at James W. Olley Community Park on Wednesday, officials said.
The man, a 25-year-old Russian national who is a performer with the Big Apple Circus, was swimming at the park beach with four other men from the circus, Village Manager John Revella said.
Lifeguards approached the man, who was unidentified, at about 4 p.m. because he was swimming in a restricted area, but found him to be uncooperative – possibly due to a language barrier, Revella said.
At about 5:30, the man went into the water again and began to drown, Revella said. Revella did not know who rescued him.
The victim was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in Newburgh. His condition was unknown Wednesday night.
Survey Will Document Economic Impact of County Fairs 

Posted By glozier1, Community Contributor
June 19, 2014

Agricultural county fairs have a long tradition in Illinois, but the impact goes far beyond delightful squeals from children on the Tilt-A-World and sticky fingers from cotton candy. In a cooperative effort, University of Illinois Extension and the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs, fair-goers in 15 counties will be surveyed to assess the economic impact of Illinois' agricultural fairs.

The report will address the money spent by fair attendees, as well as non-economic impacts of annual fairs. The selected counties include Adams, Champaign, Clark, DeKalb, Fayette, Greene, Hamilton, Lake, Mason, Massac, Marshall, Mercer, Monroe, Richland and Whiteside.

Trained 4-H youth surveyors will ask a percentage of fair-goers to complete a survey which will collect information about the fair attendee's spending habits at the fair, their reason for attending and other information which will help assess the value of local agricultural fairs. Youth will also assist in presenting the results to the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs during its 2015 annual conference.

In addition to the blind surveys, key members of the county fair experience, including fair board members, livestock superintendents, carnival operators, exhibitors and vendors, will be interviewed.

"Illinois 4-H is proud to assist in this economic development project with the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs," said Bill Million, U of I 4-H Youth Development Extension Specialist. "4-H has a long-standing tradition of teamwork with our local county fairs, and we support the value of the fair experience."

"In addition, 4-H youth will gain valuable experience in research methods, data analysis and public presentation skills, Million said."
Demonstrators Target Shrine Circus' Use of Animals

JUN 19, 2014 
In preparation for a Friday, June 20, protest at Boise’s Century Link arena where the Shrine Circus will parade its animals, a local storeowner expects to attract around 20-40 animal rights activists. 
“We’re not there to talk to anyone who does not want to talk to us,” said storeowner Lorraine Guptill. “We’re not there to criticize.” 

The Shrine Circus has courted controversy lately for using live animals in its acts. Guptill said. She isn’t against the Shriners specifically. “I like them,” she said. “I would happily do fundraisers for them.” What Lorraine opposes is the treatment the circus animals are getting.

The Shrine Circus has courted controversy lately for using live animals in its acts. Guptill said. She isn’t against the Shriners specifically. “I like them,” she said. “I would happily do fundraisers for them.” What Lorraine opposes is the treatment the circus animals are getting. 

“Lots of people don’t know what goes on behind closed doors,” Guptill said. “Every year we have a lot of people who say they’re sorry they went in and they’re never coming back.” 

Last year, some of the trainers came out and engaged the protestors. Sometimes, Guptill said, the police are called. 

“Every year the police come and say we’re swearing and we’re not,” Guptill said. 

Guptill said bullhooks and stunguns are used on the animals in training, and their wounds are staunched with Miracle Dust from the vet. Elephants stand on concrete when they should be standing on dirt, and they are chained up when they should be walking fifty miles a day. 

“Do you really think the tigers jump through rings of fire because they want to?” Guptill asked.

Protesting circus animal abuse is a hefty time commitment, and while Guptill said she’s willing to stand out and protest alone, it takes her entire family to get her there. 

“I run a store seven days a week. I’m a grandma. I have to wangle everybody’s schedule so I can do this.”

Guptill is ready for the protest and she’s got some success in her back pocket. In 2012, she and about 90 people showed up to protest the Ringling Bros. Circus, and the circus hasn’t been back since. 

“Sometimes you just reach a time in your life where you can’t be silent anymore,” Guptill said.
But wait! It's a circus

Circus Oz big top media call-Circus Oz will save your soul featuring Candy Bowers (left). 
Photo: Joe Armao
Reviewed by Chloe Smethurst
June 20, 2014
But Wait… There’s More! 3.5 stars
Circus Oz
Under the Big Top at Birrarung Marr
Until July 13
Circus Oz has recruited a whole bunch of new faces for its latest season of acrobatic shenanigans. While veterans Matt Wilson and Scott Hone have returned after several years' absence, only Dale Woodbridge-Brown and musical director Ania Reynolds remain from last year's cast.
Designed by Felipe Reynolds, the gorgeous set resembles a crumbling theatre, a fitting frame for a show bent on critiquing consumerism. Director Deb Batton manages to tie many of the assorted acts together with the help of Laurel Frank's barcode-inspired costumes.
Candy Bowers takes on the MC position with mixed success. She's a strong presence, but on opening night much of her rapping was unclear. Not so for Lilikoi Kaos, whose larger-than-life attitude transcends all communication barriers. With fierce red hair, sequined leopard-print bikini and glittering high heels, she storms about wielding hoops and knives.

Multi-talented partners April Dawson and Kyle Raftery are a terrific inclusion, thrilling audiences with their sky-high unicycle adagio act and graceful swinging trapeze.

Nathan Kell's hoop-diving skit sees him plunging into virtual reality through a television screen, battling smoke rings and imaginary foes.

Wilson plays a pivotal role, satirising the "buy more stuff" mentality and the shallowness of reality TV.

But it's Olivia Porter who is most interesting, a silent clown for most of the show, she finally transforms, bursting into a feverish contemporary juggling solo.

Combining slapstick with cultural awareness and slick production values with some really strong circus skills, Circus Oz knows what its about.
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Wanderlust Circus bringing inexplicable human stunts to town

The Wanderlust Circus will perform at the Missoula Winery Wednesday, June 25.
By SAMANTHA CHENEY for the Missoulian
June 19,2014
Come one, come all to witness some of the most interesting human feats you will see all year. The Wanderlust Circus is coming to Missoula and it’ll be fun for the whole family. It will be at the Missoula Winery on Wednesday, June 25, with special guests from the Moksha Aerial Studio.

The Wanderlust Circus, based out of Portland, Oregon, was started by Noah Mickens and Nick “The Creature” Harbar.

“We wanted to feature human stunts that exceed expectations of the human body,” said Mickens, who is also the ringmaster.

It was founded eight years ago when the two men decided to combine their talents and love for the circus. Mickens had spent time managing several circuses throughout his time in Portland. The Creature spent his childhood on the road with his parents as a traveling gypsy band.

The circus will feature a pneumatophone, an air-powered keyboard created and played by the Creature, and unlike any others in the world. They have many different acrobatic acts that will be featured including Jenna, a singing acrobat who will perform her talents while flying through the air. They also have a new act – stacking people on top of one another to create a human pyramid along with using some chairs and tables in the act. Clowns and other hijinks are sure to ensue.

Mickens describes some of the acts as “hard to explain without seeing it in person.”

They are a smaller circus and like it that way. Mickens says he prefers being able to perform for a more intimate crowd. He believes the effect on the audience is better that way.

There will be no animals at the circus, however, because he finds that the feats of humans is more spectacular and the practices with animals at circuses “morally questionable.”

The circus will take place at the Missoula Winery and Event Center at 5646 W. Harrier Drive, near the Missoula airport. Contact the winery at (406) 830-3296 for more information.
Shriners Circus comes to town: Anything can happen — and does, ringmaster says

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal
Tigers sit and growl for the trainer at the El Korah Shriners Circus Tuesday afternoon at the Bannock County Fairgrounds.
By Jimmy Hancock
Jun 18, 2014.
POCATELLO — As a ringmaster for the El Korah Shrine Circus, Tess Emerson has a motto she’s come to work by.
    “Just keep smiling, just keep singing and just keep talking,” she said with a smile. “No matter what happens.”
    And with live acrobatic, aerial and stunt performers — not to mention a host of different animals — included in the Shrine Circus, a lot can happen.
    “It is a live performance, so you never know what is going to happen,” Emerson said. “You always have to be ready for anything — to cut this act, to get this act on. I have a lot of people helping me, but ultimately, I am responsible for letting everybody know what is going on.”
    As ringmaster, Emerson is literally running the show. She’s not just standing out there letting the audience know what is coming, she’s making the decisions based on some of those unplanned circumstances.

Doug Lindley/Idaho State Journal
Tess Emerson is the Ringmaster for the El Korah Shine Circus.

As ringmaster, Emerson is literally running the show. She’s not just standing out there letting the audience know what is coming, she’s making the decisions based on some of those unplanned circumstances.
    The Shrine Circus, which hosted two shows at the Bannock County Fairgrounds on Tuesday, is often performing outside, making weather one of the most unpredictable of all the variables involved. Based on that weather, Emerson sometimes has to make the call to cancel a particular performance, or shuffle the lineup in hopes of avoiding or waiting out certain conditions.
    “You really have to have good judgment,” she said. “It is stressful. But it’s part of the job, it’s what is required. I would be in the position if I couldn’t do it and I know that our owners have a lot of trust in me.”
    And it’s trust she’s apparently earned relatively early in her career. The fact that she doesn’t fit the stereotypical mold of a circus ringmaster — an older, well-seasoned male — is not lost on Emerson, who is still a few months shy of her 30th birthday.
    “It’s definitely very different,” she said of being a woman ringmaster. “I do get a lot of positive feedback, especially from moms and little girls. They are so excited to see a woman in charge of things, and running things.”
    Becoming a ringmaster wasn’t something Emerson ever intended to do. But then, she never left college with a bachelor of fine arts in musical theater performance thinking she would one day join the circus.
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Circus Comes To Town And Helps Kids

By Ben Lyda
Jun 18, 2014  
Filer, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Rain or shine, the circus is in town. For 64 years, the Shrine Circus has entertained southern Idaho.

The El Korah Shrine takes the circus on tour every year as its largest fundraiser.

This year is no different, as it promises to entertain people of all ages.

"Shriners are known for having fun and helping kids; this is the having fun part," explains Mike Mastropaolo, potentate.

Having fun indeed, you can see them in almost every parade driving their small cars or riding the tiny motorbikes. However, the circus takes the fun to a whole new level.

"We have a human rocket, so we actually have a man being shot out of a cannon. We've had an awesome reaction despite some kind of crazy weather. You know, we have had really big crowds and the people really seem to love it. The kids look like they are having a great time," says Tess Emerson, ringmaster.

High flying acrobatics and clowns… the Shrine Circus also features many exotic animals.

Those who arrive early will have the chance to get up close and personal with some of the animals.

"Something that's really nice and unique about our show is that if you come out an hour before show time, you can actually come down to the circus floor. You can actually ride on one of our elephants, get your face painted. We have pony rides. We have a giant moon bounce, so there's a lot to do here at the Shrine Circus. We have something for everybody here," Emerson says.

Something for everyone indeed, including the chance to give back and support a good cause.

"This is a major fundraiser for us and helps us support the temple and we can continue to support the kids that we help," Mastropaolo explains.

The Shriner's Hospital has helped over one million children, regardless of their ability to pay.

The final show will take place Wednesday evening at 7 pm at the Filer Fairgrounds.
Circus Smirkus to roll into Cheshire Fairgrounds this year

Submitted Photo Ella Warner. 
By DOMENIC POLI / Reformer Staff

SWANZEY, N.H. -- Tumbling, aerial dancing and wire-walking are difficult enough. Now imagine trying to balance those activities with summer reading assignments.

That's the name of the game for many members of Circus Smirkus, an award-winning circus for performers ages 10 to 18. Based in Vermont, it embarks on a two-month tour of New England and New York every summer with a collection of talented young circus artists who must audition to earn their spots. The circus typically performs a handful of shows in Brattleboro each year, but will instead pitch its one-ring, big-top tent at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey for the first time this year. Performances will be held at 1 and 6 p.m. on July 15 and 16.

Circus Smirkus had for several years performed at Famolare Field, but the owner's family has decided to put the land up for sale following the death of Joe Famolare last year. Troy Wunderle, the artistic director of Circus Smirkus, said he and his wife Sara, the assistant circus operations director, always look forward to the show rolling into Brattleboro because they were raised in southern Vermont, but Cheshire Fairgrounds should be a perfect fit for the special event.

"We knew the site would have it all, plus great visibility," he told the Reformer. "There is a huge amount of excitement. Not only do we know our fans that have visited, but one of the spectacular things about Smirkus is the total joy of seeing new audience members come to the show and have their expectations completely blown out of the water. Once you see this once, you come back expecting greatness."
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Circus Comes To Hoopeston
Photos from the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus performance that was sponsored by the Hoopeston Chamber of Commerce Sunday in the McFerren Park Annex.
Photos by Jordan Crook

Show's  Cat act presented by Trey Key

Ron Dykes

Simone Dykes Key