ANNAH TEMPLE SHRINE CIRCUS Bangor, ME April 30
On Friday evening, Karen an I went to the Anna Temple Shrine Circus produced by Wayne McCary. The biggest proble the shriners has on this opening day is when the first show lets out and the arrival of the second shows crowds. The wait out side is at times over an hour. It runs over 30 minutes longer than when the doors are suppose to open which makes it a very unpleasant experience and people get rally upset as they are told by the auditorium staff they can not open the doors because they need time to clean up the auditorium. Our annual CFA Tent meeting was held and most members attented the 2PM performance. After the show there was a reception for performers held in the food court of the auditorium with Cake and drinks, enjoyed by all and lots of jackpots.
MELHA SHRINE CIRCUS W. Springfield, MA April 31
On Sunday, I took in the first of my two shows for the day after driving over 300 miles from Bangor. This was the Melha Shrine Circus produced by James Hammid at the coliseum on the grounds of the Big-E in West Springfield, Mass. This is a great circus production of 3 rings at a resonable cost. The shriners sell their program for only a donation compared to other Shrine Temples that can range from a buck all the way up to $8.00 What a great show as the first 20 minutes or so is the Shriners Parade thru the building of all their Units. Before the paread the audience is seranaded by the shrine band playing circus music. Than on with the performance.
ALLEPO SHRINE CIRCUS Wilmington, MA April 31After a 2 hour drive, it was the Shrine Temple annual Allepo Shrine Circus in Wilmington, Mass. This had to be the worse performance of the season. The show is produced by the Royal Hanneford Circus. On this show the only stand out acts was Bret Marshall as Mr. Peddleworth and Mark Karoli and the Karoli riders who was touring for their last year as Mark was retiring after the season ended. Tina the elephant followed me all the time. Mark was sitting in a chair and the angus was on the floor and he had Tina go and pick it up for him and she carried it. The Shrine I feel over charges for this show. But they go head to head with the Big Apple only 20 miles away who actually charges less because of the class on the BA's show. At this performance, the last of the run there was around 100 in attendance.
RINGLING Hartford, MA May
I attended this performance. This was a good show but before the doors opened I became very sick from a case of food poisioning as I had stopped in a doughnut shop a few hours earlier and than I became sick. It hit me just after I bought my ticket. I made the show but at one time I had to leave for the restroom and was so bad the EMT's thought I was having a heart attack and took me to their emergency room , hooked me up to an EKG but I was only sick. I watched the rest of the show and than headed home but it sure was a hard drive. The next day I felt much better. The only thing I recret is not seeing the up-site down people the stars of this show.
WALKER BROTHERS CIRCUS Clinton, ME June
Johnny Walker played Clinton, Maine just as Terry Frisco was getting bad press from the State's biggest newspaper, The Bangor Daily News. Because of one of the reporters investagations from the activist who she sided with, they tried to run Terry and the elephants out of Maine. Other wise this was a great little show in a small Maine town that packed the house. This is the first show that took over playing in Maine after the Roberts Brothers Circus folded.
WALKER BROTHERS CIRCUS Lincoln, ME
Karen and I saw this show in Lincoln my hometown and saw Terry still on the show and this time he had his $25 permit from the State for the importation of animals. He still had to come back to Maine to fight the charges that was brought against him from a few weeks earlier.
Terry Frisco with the Carson Barnes elephants on the Johnny Walker's Walker Brothers Circus in Lincoln, Maine.
Terry Frisco and your Web-master Crash Moreau and the Star of the Circus jack potting before the evenings performance in Lincol, Maine.
HANNEFORD CIRCUS Meadowlands, NJ June
After performing an afternoon show at the far end of Long Island I drove to Rutherford, New Jersey to the Meadowlands Fair which had the Royal Hanneford Show set-up. I talked to Stuppi and sat with Tommy for quit awhile. I was informed of one of Nellie's horses being shot by a paint ball during an earlier show. The paintball cut one of the horses arteies, but a vet got their in time so the damage was minermal. They don't know if the person was aiming at the horse or Nellie. John Wilson was ringmaster. His father Dick Wilson was working the front end. Adrian and his father combined the families two foot juggling acts into one which became one of the best acts I have ever seen in the US.
COLE BROTHERS CIRCUS NY July 4
This day would be a two show day with the first being the all new Cole Brothers Circus. This year dropping the Beatty name. This performance was not as good as last years. Chris Connors remembered who I was. Boy, has he come along ways from the Roberts Brothers Circus. This year Chris does the whole show by himself without Bonnie Bale. This is a great looking show but they had no crowd for the first show of the day. They did not have enough people to fill but only one half of one side of the big top.
KELLY MILLER CIRCUS NY July 4
20 miles and an hour later I was on the lot of the Kelly-Miller show under the shade trres on this tight lot in New York. What a great show. The afternoon show was full and just letting out when I arrived. The last show of the day had at least 80% capacity which on a 4th of July has to be a good crowd. Cindy and Roy Wells along with Harlan and his wife remembered me. I saw on the lot the Walker Brothers performers, as the kids were there visiting with their mom, Laura Harriot.
HANNEFORD CIRCUS DesMoines, IA (Adventureland) July 6
Once again I had the pleasure to stop into Adventureland to see the Royal Hanneford Circus which is set up for an entire summer at the amusement park with 3 shows daily. Performance director and Ringmaster Billy Martin was there along with Mark Karoli who by now was getting ready to retirer from show business. I had to make a quick Hello as I was off to another circus some 100 miles away in Nebraska.
CULPEPPER-MERRYWEATHER CIRCUS Nebraska July 6
This addition of the Cullpeper-Merryweather Circus was much better than the previous year. This year the sound worked, but the tent had more holes in it than last year. Cain now is taking care of Doug Tenovers cats which they only got a few days before and did not have them in the line-up.
CIRQUE OSORIO AMERICA CROWN CIRCUS America Falls, ID July 9
After dropping my equipment in Pocatello I headed to the fairgrounds in America Falls to see a sidewall production of Cirque Osorio - American Crown Circus based in Las Vegas. This show was set-up in front of the grandstand in the rodeo arena. They had about 60 people at $10 a tic for the first show and less for the second show. This was not a great quality show with mostly Hispanic performers. This show was papered head to head with the Carson-Barnes Circus who was scheduled to come to the same ground 3 weeks later.
CIRCUS WORLD MUSEUM Baraboo July
My next stop was the Circus World Museum. The morning show had a good crowd under theVidbel Big Top. The only thing I see wrong if this production has the same acts year after year and the attendance keeps dropping.
In one of her splenter moments I caught up to this wonderful New Jersey Stars walking thru the museum grounds. She is known thru out the country by many Circus Fans. She is married to her other half (Greg)who travels with her as a duo. The one and only Karen Desantos is styling and profiling for my camera.
One of the elephants reaching for leaves prior to the elephant encounter performance.
Here is one of the camel's that was being kept on the museum grounds. They belonged to a camel act that was not being presented at this time. These camels were some of the best looking camels that I have seen on the road. Later in the year I got to see the act perform at a different location and it was one of the most impressive acts that I have seen.
Then after getting back road directions I headed over to see John McConnels show in the Dels.
ROYAL PALACE CIRCUS Wisc Dels July
The second of two shows for the day was John Mconnels Royal Palace Circus set up in the Wisconsin Dels. A very nice show but kind of pricey. The set-up was blocked off by a motel on one side and a coveince store on the other which made it's location hard to find. Tino Wallenda was working (ballying) with a free wire act along the street to draw people in. The crowds was hit or miss all season. A couple of the acts had already left. But I did see a couple of new acts from the West Coast including a dog act (Moores). the show folded a couple of weeks after I saw it. It wasn't a surprise to me as in May I was told I had better see it early as they thought it would not last all year. A couple of weeks after the closing Tino and Jorge Berratta set up a sidewall show and still didn't do any better.
FEARLESS FLORES Belfast, ME July 22
I caught the 3 acts of the Flores family in Belfast, Maine at the festival by the Bay. The Flores calls themselfves a Thrill Show and also the Flores Circus. They do a good job of presenting their 3 acts. The Flores has a couple of other units performing the same acts at the same time in different locations thru out the US. This unit had just come from doing an over night jump from Ontario and on their way into Maine the DOT stopped their vehicle and find them for a couple of DOT regulation violations even when they are in their own private vehicle.
HANNEFORD CIRCUS Cobleskill, NY July
My next show was at the Sunshine Fair in Cobleskill, New York. This performance was the same as earlier in the Meadowlands. When I got to the grounds the local CFAer's was having a get together. Everyone knew who I was and was glad to see me there. The next day I had a peformance in front of the grandstand with the Doug Danger Stunt Spectacular.
BIG APPLE CIRCUS Hanover, NH July
The BA was next in my travels as I had to try and make two shows today. This performance of the BA was not as good as last years. It was not a sell-out performance but they did have a good crowd for being in the hills of New Hampshire. On the lot was Paul and Diane Guthreil of the Felex Adler Tent in New Jersey who was surprised to see me. Paul is a photographer who goes to a lot of circuses during the year.
CIRCUS SMIRKUS Hamilton, MA
I was of and running for my second circus of the day. After driving a couple of hours, I was on the lot of my favorite circus set-up in Hamilton, Mass. The circus is the kids circus called Circus Smirkus from Vermont. Ozzie and his crew was their the second day of their spot and from here was headed north for the second half of the tour in their 500 plus seat tent. This troupe of youngsters to me are far better than the paid performers of bigger shows. My hat off to this troupe of super performers.
CIRQUE ZOPPE Hamburg, NY Aug 14
A great looking small European Style Show set up at the end of the Kids Zone at the great Erie County Fair in Hamburg, NY. Once again I saw Aberto and at this show Nino was there performing.
PEKING ACROBATS Hamburg, NY Aug 14
Also at the Erie County Fair was the Peking Acrobats who was performing under the Dome Stage. The emcee of this area was none other than John Kennedy Kain (egg-roll) an all around entertainer (emcee, ringmaster, clown, magicine, etc.)
Egg Roll scene here after his performance as a magicine.
STAR FAMILY CIRCUS Altamont, NY Aug 18
On my way north I stopped into the Altamont Fair in Altamont, New York to see the Star Family Circus of Oscar Garcia as I could not make the Bentlet Brothers Show in North Andover, Mass that was playing for Father Hogan. While I was there at the fair I ran across a building that housed a Circus Museum on the grounds. What a surprise? After leaving the Fair the next day I stopped at the lot in North Andover and their the Bentley Show was ready and set to leave for a date in New Jersey as I was told by Bobby Parker who had a Hanneford Truck on the show.
VARIEKI Boston, MA SeptSeptember was a very busy month as I first saw Varieki at Suffex Downs outside of downtown Boston. The performance I went to was almost a straw house even after being there for over a month with 2 shows per day and a ticket price on average of $60.00. This is one show that all ways get a standing ovation after the performance. As they truely put on a great performance under a big top.
CIRCUS HOLLYWOOD Syracuse, NY Sept
Next day it was on to the New York State Fair in Syracuse to see the Serge Corrona's Circus Hollywood. The show could be alot stronger than what is put into this spot each year as most performers are family members. I spotted a few CFA members from the Albany Area at the show. Serge goes in for a deal as he brings in all his other stuff like his Petting Zoo, Reptile Show, bouces and tramp jump, etc. This fair also has other circus attractions each year like Sharks, Bears, petting zoos, acrobats and the list goes on. In one of the many building a display of Circus and Carnival models is set up each year. Very entertaining for the ones that can find it. Their is always someone looking at the models.
MARCAN TIGERS at State Fair in Syracuse, NY
HANSEN SPECTACULAR Spencer, MA Sept
At noon the next day I took in the Shane Hansen's Spectacular. A great looking sidewall operation at the Spencer Fair. The set up has class. The featured acts were the Flying Redpath (an all girl flyers with a male catcher flying trapeze), The Rolling Diamonds(roller skating on a pedistal). Shane has one of the best sound systems for this type of performance touring today. The only down fall for his show is he has the same acts year after year for the same place as most performers are related.
RUSSIAN-AMERICAN KIDS CIRCUS North Hampton, MA Sept
For a late afternoon fair, I stopped into the Three County Fair in North Hampton Mass to see the production of the amatuer Russian-American Kids Circus. (This was no Circus Smirkus Production) the kids took to performing but the dierction of the performance was weak. The kids did a good job for what they did. The performance took place in the Horse arena building with less than 100 in attendance mostly the kids family members. This fair does not bring in any first class acts at all. It is a fair that will not be long for exsistance with how there management runs the fair.
HANNEFORD CIRCUS Cumberland, ME SeptA Royal Hanneford Production was presented at the Cumberland County Fair in Cumberland Maine. This was one of the weakest circus presentation that I have seen all year. The show was under a tent from Las Vegas and operations manager and peformance director was Yuro Hoffman from Florida. Yuro started the show off with his cat act, but then every act after worked in the cage as they did not take the time or have the help to take doen the cage which made this a really treibble show. It took so long just to bring the cat props out of the cage so the show could go on. BAD BAD BAD! The only go between the show and the fair was brought in on Tuesday as John Wilson came from Detroit to take on the heat. The fair was promised something completely different then what had showed up when it was booked the past winter. The circus personnel demanded stuff that was not on the contract like personnel to set up the tent and the list went on and on. This whole operation made a bad taste in the mouth of the fair board members. After the fair it was noted that the cost of bringing in this operation did not bring in any added revenue.
STAR SPANGLED CIRCUS Deerfield, NH Sept
My second show of the day was the Star Spangled Circus of Dewight Damon set-up under the trees of the Great deerfield Fair in Deerfield, New Hampshire. This years fair's sidewall circus featured Tino Wallenda's 7 Person High highwire walk. This show and every show at Deerfield is always a straw house as there is limited seating so you need to get your bleacher seats early.
CHINESE IMPERIAL ACROBATS BIG E Sept
The Chinese Imperial Acrobats featuring the Stars of the Peking Circus performed under the Small Hanneford Tent at the end of The Avenue of States at the Big-E to straw houses.
BIG E SUPER CIRCUS BIG E Sept
Now it was time to take in The Big-E's Super Circus in the Big Roayal Hanneford Tent which is produced by Wayne McCary. This circus production always has the top circus performers at each performance and has started a Hall of Fame Walkway into the circus tent. Each year someone different has a square in the walk. To my surprise once again I ran across New Jersey's photographer Paul and Diane taking circus photos.
Tina Winn the Galaxy Girl performce at the Big E as a free attraction prior to the Hollywood Stunt Show.
RINGLING BROTHERS Manchester, NH
My last circus performance was in October at the Verizon Center in Manchester, New Hampshire. This was on a Friday evening after the CFA get together that is put on by Amos and Mary of the Commadore Nutter Tent from NH. A contengency of Maine CFA Tent #30 was their for the meeting and performance.
Pictured below is Maine's CFA member Karen Whitmore with Ringling Super Star performer Bello Nock taken at the ending of the CFA Tent meeting and prior to the Ringling performance.