STARS OF THE MOSCOW CIRCUS
An indoor show produced by Tuffy that is over priced at $22 per ticket. There was plenty of discounted tickets out around the area so the price could be much lower especially if you had kids. The show had the same acts as they did in 2005. They play a lot of small towns that the big shows can not play in.
IAN GARDEN CIRCUS
Ian has a quality 3 ring circus production at $25 per ticket featuring in2006 Egg-Roll as a Genie. The show has plenty of animals including Tarzan Zerbini's elephants. My friend Patti Cook was running the concession for the shows American dates.
Pictured on the left: Crash Moreau, John Kennedy Kaine"Egg-Roll", and Ernie Tarbox
Pictured on the left is The Genie, Father Jerry Hogan, Ed Motta and Crash Moreau at the Ian Garden Circus in Lowell, Mass.
RUSSIAN AMERICAN KIDS CIRCUS
At $20 plus per ticket this was one of the worse buys of the year. Way over priced and the quality of the acts were of being amateurs. The show did have a few good visual ideas in the performance with the use of black lights.
KORA SHRINE CIRCUS
The Wayne McCary produced show. Not a spectacular presentation but a decent show. The Shriners of Maine needs to up grade their visual appearance of the show to keep the crowds as attendances has been dropping off over the years. The lighting, sound, ring curbs etc is provided by the Shriners. The locals need to up date this area to make the show a production not the same as 40 years ago.
BIG APPLE CIRCUS
A quality show featuring some real great acts. Acts like the juggling act from Russia, the teetor board troupe from China and the flying act made this a great performance with ticket prices around $27 in the heart of down town Boston.
ALEPPO SHRINE CIRCUS
The Royal Hanneford produced show with one of the better line up of acts that this date as seen in a few years. Some of the acts were Brian Franzen's Elepants, Mr. Peddelworth, Leo Gacia and family with Ringmaster Kimbal Keller. As always Kay Parker was watching over the show.
MELHA SHRINE CIRCUS
W. Springfield, MA
This has to be one of the best New Englands Shrine Circuses produced by Jim Hamid. Ticket prices are in the $10 range. This year the show had the Beretta's Elephants and Hawthorne Tigers.
This one ring circus needed to be in a smaller building and the advertising needs to be up graded. For over $20 a ticket this was not a good buy for a show that had no spectacular acts. The price of the programs was the same as the Blue Units but had half the pages. At the Saturday morning performance there was only about 200 in attendance. A far cry from 2 weeks earlier at the Shrine circus across the river at the Big E's coliseum.
See CFA's District 1 Director Harry Gordon, standing by the back of the trailer in Springfield, Mass.
I thought this was a fair show but needed a lot of improvements as all acts were good. Ken needs to get rid of the black floor matting and hang some lighting around the arena so it does not look like a warehouse atmosphere. The one ring foremat really doesn't take away from the show and the video screen reminds me of some European TV shows that I have seen over the years. Now only using 2/3rds of the arena seating, this makes a lot of sense if you are not filling the arenas up like a decade ago. Smiling is Harry Gordon, CFA DISTRICT 1 DIRECTOR to the top left. The picture on the right is the pre-show on the floor of the Hartford Civic Center.
ALAIN ZERBINI CIRCUS
(Melha Shrine Outdoor Circus)
A nice family type tented show that was handled by Jim Hammid and Gordon MacKay. The day I was on the lot it was rainy and the show was lacking advertising. The show was sponsored by the Melha Shrine. Everyone was saying the advertising of the Cole Brothers Circus some 6 weeks later hurt the attandence for this run.
COLE BROTHERS CIRCUS
W. Hartford, NY
This is a nice looking show with a large red and yellow tent and painted trucks. This year the show had a much better line up of acts compared to the past few years. This year at selected performances the elephants has returned now owned by Gopher Davenport and handled by his son. The only thing I can say is young Davenport needs to put away the bull-hook on these two elephants as Adam Hill never used the hook on these two in previous years. All the animal rights people need is to see how he is handling these two elephants, Tina and Jewel and there will be a lot more flax about not having animals in circuses.
CIRCUS WORLD MUSEUM
Probally the best Chinese Acrobatic show I have seen which was produced by Meng who balances giant Vase on his head. Doug Teranover had the elephants, camel and pony rides at the museum this year. Business had been up and down all year.
GEORGE CARDIN CIRCUS
A canvas wall show playing the summer shrine dates in Wisconsin. The Shriner's were selling the left over programs from the winter dates. the acts listed were the same but a few of the performers were different and absent were the elephants. Reason for no elephants was the truck broke down a couple of weeks earlier and will be back on the road soon.
I drove all night from Ransomville, NY which is about 40 miles north of Buffalo to Pittsfield, Mass for the Circus Themed 4th of July Parade. I walked the entire parade route with no sleep with members of the CFA Tent from Dalton, Mass and Hartford, CT. After the parade I went over to the lot of Cole Brothers Circus who was in town and met with the performers and CFA tent members from the Wayne McCary Tent of CFA for a luncheon. After the meal I joined on the picket line that was picketing the animal rights protesters (PETA). They were protesting the patrons of the circus as they feel all animals should be in the wilds not in the circus so the circus is abusing the animals. After the early show began I started back to Maine.
Scene here are some of the Animal rights protestors who came out to picket the Cole Brothers Circus.
To off set the Animal Rights Protestors 2 CFA members took their signs to protest the picketing protestors who did not enjoy their company. In the red cap is Dan McGinnis President of the Wayne McCary Tent in Dalton, Mass.
This has to be the best performance that I have seen on Serge Corona's show in years. The ending was with young David Smith, Captain USA's Cannon. Handling the front door was Mr. and Mrs. Dick Wilson.
This performance of the Royal Hanneford Circus at Adventureland Amusement Park has to be the strongest performance of acts that I have seen at the Park in all the years that I have past thru. The show ran approx. 30 minutes under the direction of Billy Martin. Angela Martin has to be the best trapeze performer from America. Also on the show was Leo Garcia with his family performing in the Globe of Death and Wheel of Destiny. A quick change artist was next than the Svensons comedy horse routine and a hula hoop act was presented. During the show the fil crew from Award Productions was filming Crash Moreau and parts of the show for a documentary on Hell Drivers. Also Billy Martin was interviwed on the circus and how it was associated with fairs and Hell Drivers as a grandstand attraction.
CIRCUS HALL OF FAME
A nice show but the circus gets very few spectators. To my surprise as this was the day before the big circus parade I saw quit a few Circus Fans on the lot including Mary Jane Foot CFA's President who spotted me.
CIRCUS CITY FESTIVAL CIRCUS
Truely one of the great kids circus. These kids are better than some paid professional performers. And nothing can compare to Doc Smoc the man in the clown suite that leads the band with his grandson.
WALKER BROTHERS CIRCUS
Johnny Walker has a great little family show with a brand new tent. John John is ringmaster and also presents the Big and Small horse act. This year the show had a wire walker. CFA Tent #30 had a luncheon for all the performers and crew of the show on the last day of the 2 day stand.
This date was an open air spot with out the tent being set up. The performance was the same basic shows as was performed earlier in the year at the Meadowland Fair. The show played numerous performance each day of the Orange County Fair. Serge also had his pony ride, pig races and petting zoo set up on the grounds.
STAR FAMILY CIRCUS
Oscar Garcia's produced his free circus style show on the infield of this small county fair in the heartland of New York state as a free attraction. I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the set up as I had a lot to do setting up my acts for the grandstand show. The set-up was the same as I have seen over the past few years.
KELLY MILLER CIRCUS
Sagamore Hills, OH
Probally the best runned small one ring circus that plays the east. This show always has quality acts and neatly painted equipment. My hats goes off to this orginization for a quality show. The show carries 3 elephants and only uses 2 in the show. Frisco uses his bull-hook compared to the past years when Roy Wells handled the same elephants. Harlan does an excellant job at handling the shows set-up tor and seen later in the day working the front door with his wife and also handles the snake show when Dennis Loomis has to leave to do his main job of Ringmaster. What a fine job he does as Ringmaster.
A true European Style Circus that is family owned. The show is basicly the same year after year with a few changes. Always a surprise to the spectators before they are let into the big top. This night they was entertainted by the band. Nino Zoppe is the star of the show and knows how to get the audience involved in the show. One of the newest members is Christian who was on Circus Smirkus show for the past few years.
CARSON BARNES CIRCUS
One of the biggest shows on the road today. This has to be one of the best painted rolling stock of any show touring the country. The down fall of this show is their advertising is so weak and then complain all the time of attendance not being there. If you don't advertise people will not know you are there like this spot in Indiana, PA. All acts was mediaoca with a few exceptions. A new and young Ringmaster needs to learn how to do the job right and not over do the announcing like a monster truck show announcer. And Mr. Petersen needs to cut back on the bull hook as every moment he is poking the hook on the elephants. I couldn't tell which end he was using but this is what PETA is looking for to make their case about using animals in the circus. This show is now down to 4 elephants and only uses 3 in the show. This is a great business decision as now the extra elephants are making money in groups of 2 and 3's on other shows.
This was a different version of a week earlier as when this show plays fairs they must cut down the performance to less than an hour compared to their full 2 hour presentation. It was a straw house the day I saw the show at the Altamont Fair in New York. After the performance the spectators gave the show a standing ovation for there hard work. It was nice to see Alberto up and around for both performance sitting thru out the show.
WINN'S FAMILY DAREDEVIL CIRCUS
This outdoor fair presentation featured Nicolis and Karl Winn. Acts included juggling, slide for life from the top of the grandstand down over the midway, a double sway pole (Skymasters) hula hoops, trampoline and the feature the Sky-cycle. (This act was not done because of mechanical problems on the afternoon show that I caught.)
WINN'S GALAXY OF THRILLS
Another outdoor performance this time with John and Tina Winn's featuring the Galaxie Girl (Tina). Acts included the Galaxie Girl , the skycycle incline wire, Miss Ashley's hula hoops, the slide for life down the incline wire and the Winn's Cyber Cycle a revolving cycle on a high elevated platform.
At the far left is Tina Winn performing her Galaxy Girl routine. The next picture is John and Tina on their Cyber -Cycle Aerial Platform.
The Skycycle incline wire performed at the Union Fair in Union, Maine. Here the cycle is performing the roll on the wire.
An outdoor performance produced by Victoria and Wally Murcia. Their 6 year old son does the ringmaster job and for his age he is better than Carson-Barnes 24 year old announcer. The one thing that really looks nice, is laying the canvas on the ground which dresses up the area. I have never seen this before. Also Victoria's 2 nephews do the high wire act. They make what everyone seems simple look as it is really hard. This is a great 3 act, free carnival attraction. Victoria is the daughter of Victor Flores.
This time Serge had all his equipment in one area of the fair. He had his inflatables set up, petting zoo etc and also had a smaller tent up compared to other spots this season. This was a cut down version of the show at the Meadowlands earlier this year. Captain USA was still on the show with the cannon. Other things on the grounds of the State Fair that were of interest was an incredible model circus and carnival set-up.
With a smaller tent set up this year compared to previous years at this spot, it made for fuller houses at each performance. Stuppi was working the front door as they were having straw houses. This performance has to be the strongest fair show that I have seen in years. Kay Parker was running the sound. Adrain was presenting the 12 horses of Nellie Hanneford, as Nellie was still out on maternaty leave. She still watches over the act from the ring curb. The featured act was the incredible Dondi the elephant.
FEARLESS FLORES THRILL CIRCUS
Victore Flores presented 4 acts in his sidewall show at the Vermont State Fair in Rutland. A wheel of destiny, juggling, foot risslie and a 2 cycle globe were the acts. Victor did the announcing. Seen on the lot was booking agent Jim Lawrence. Also on the fairgrounds was an"N" Gauge model carnival of the Keipes Shows. Across from the Fearless Flores area was Lance Gifford's Magic Show and at the other end of the midway was "All The king's Horses" (horse show).
Oler Productions furnished Pat Cashin for a strolling clown for the Rutland State Fair. I met him for the first time last year at 2 different circuses, in 2 different states. One was at the Deerfield New Hampshire Fair on the Dewight Damon's Star Spangled Circus a few weeks later at Utica NY Shrine Circus. After taken this picture I ran across him again at the Glen falls New York Shrine Circus (Circus Royale). I want to Thank Pat for the correct info about Rutland and also to let everyone know about his circus clown history blog at www.clownalley.net . Pat also has his own site up at www.cashincomedy.com
Glen Falls, NY
At 2 PM I watched one of the most un-coordinated circus performances in the country. The circus was the annual Glenn Falls New York Shrine date with is produced by Les Krimes and Rebecca Monroe who bought out the show from circus owner John McConnell last winter. The show started off with the National Anthem which was messed up half way thru it even on disc, next was suppose to be the slide for life which never took place even when everyone was looking up to the top of the ceiling. The music was way off on most acts. Even the lighting was off at times. The show has the idea to take the looks of the new RBBB with one ring format. Bit instead of having the back drop only 2/3rds of the arena it was at the end. To make matters worse the performers entrance in the back drop needed a curtain as when you set facing the back drop you could see straight thru into the back. Now after going to this date many times and seeing the small crowd each time. I do not see the need to sell tickets for the expected 90% crowd of the complete building. For this circus performance it should be set up for a half house than it would be more ticket holder friendly for watching the show. Everyone would have a better seat as the prices for this show is high and you can tell this by the attendance figure. Stars of the show was Bones Craig and his elephant, The Pages (they did not fly), Michael Winn and the Sky Cyclew, plus others. Ringmistress was Rebecca Monroe. After the afternoon performers a group of local CFAer's had lunch at Applebee's.
BIG E SUPER CIRCUS
Another excellant presentation of the Big-E's Super Circus under the Roal Hanneford big top.I went along with the Carnival and Circus Model Builders who had their yearly convention at the Eastfield Mall the past week. i took in the displays of the model builders on the 15th
One of the many Mardi Gras Floats that is shown in the Big-E's Nightly Mardi Gras Parade.
I watched the early morning mini circus of Serge's show at the Rochester, NH Fair. I talked to Dick Wilson and Larry Rich. To my surprise Dick Wilson was the Ringmaster for this performance.
WALLENDA'S FLYING CIRCUS
Karen and I watched Tino and his family perform their 45 minute circus performance. The performance featured the 7 person wire walk two to 3 times daily at the Great Deerfield Fair. This fair is probally the best fair in New Hampshire. The Wallenda's Circus is the first circus that was not a Dewight Damon's Star Spangled Circus that has been at the fair for many, many, many years. Dewight how ever booked this show into the fair.
The Wallenda's clown is on the left playing with a ball. To the right is Tino Walleda doing the duties of the Ringmaster for this Deerfield Fairs Circus production.
A great performance by the cast from Quebec. This was truely a different production with the cast not wearing the masques like other shows in the past. Seating was on both sides of the stage which runs straight thru the tent instead of just at one end. The screen that had many images projected onto it and than roll up, and you have a picture perfect of the show. You can see numerous angels flying around the stage (up to 5 at a time). A one of a kind trampoline casting act which to me was the hi-lite of all the acts on this production, along with the opening act of the 3 Chandiliers. Truely a magnificant show but to me not their best ever production. The only doen fall of the show for the high price was the seating.As there was not enough room to sit comfortly as if you had two other full size people on either side of you, than you were crowded into each other with no moving room.
WINN'S GALAXY OF THRILLS
Tina and John had a great presentation on a cold and windy day at the Topsfield Fair. The show was set up in a tight area of the fairgrounds. It was very hard to run the guy wires for their 3 aerial acts that they performed. The presentation started with John and his Sky-cycle with up to 2 riders under the cycle, next it was Tina and her Galaxie Girl routine than came their daughter who did a hula hoop act and the final of the performance was John and Tina as they climbed to the top of their Cyber-cycle platform and topped the night off. Charlie Van Buskirk the Fairs public address announcer came over to be ringmaster for the standing room only crowd. ( Charlie is best known for being the ringmaster of the Wayne McCary's Maine Shrine Dates for many years.)
Pictured here is the Skycycle being lifted onto the incline wire. at the bottom is John testing out the Skycycle for the nights performance.
On Friday night I saw the Ringling Gold Show. But before the evening show, Maine Tent #30 of CFA had a "Sugarfest" for the crew of the show. I was very surprised of the very low turn out for all the free goodies that was put out by the event co-ordinator Barbara Moore and he parents. Probally about 10% showed up. The show was a little tighter than this spring and the house was about 50% of the available seating was filled compared to 400 for a Saturday morning performance in Sprinfield, Mass. New was areplacement elephant act from Tarzan Zerbini who had 3 Asians in the show. I commend the handler who never used the hook end of the angus stick during the whole elephant performance. A great job done right. The Flying Nerves has finally come up with a rebound to the catchers bar for an ending, as they were so blarr the first time I saw the show. Probally the best thing I can say is the singing hostess Lilliana Escobar sang the National Anthem the right way, compared to other who butcher our National Anthem. Tom Dougherty one of the two clowns is real knowledgeable about different circuses. At right is one of the semi-trailers the show uses to go down the road with. The signs on the trailers are not painted on but are hooked on and are made out of vinale.
Pictured here is CFA member Priscilla Fecteau and Barbara Moore setting one of the tables with lots of goodies for the cast and crew of the Ringling Hometown Unit in Portland Maine.
Fixing another table at Portland is Monica Moore and Priscilla Fecteau with lots of homemade goodies.
Pictured is Barb Durtche one of Ringling's sales representative setting up her novelty stand.
Jen another concessioneir in her novelty stand waiting for the blow-off from the show.
On Friday Karen and I started the day off with the annual meeting of the New Hampshire's CFA TENT hosted by Amos. During the get together, we had a fantastic talk about Ringling Brothers by special guest Boss Clown Kelly and Grand Pa. Later Father Jerry Hogan popped in after giving mass to the novelty sales crew of the Ringling Show. Than it was off to see the 7 PM performance of "The Greatest Show On Earth". There was 41 CFA members and guest in attandence with more than 16 coming from Maine to this performance. To me the best part of the show was Brian Misser's hi-fall and the double cannon act of Brian along with his wife Tina. The Misser's will be coming back for next years new edition. Probally the weakest act was the Double Wheel of Destiny nothing like 2 years before when Crazy Wilson performed the act. The flying act was good as there was 2 sets of fliers but they only did the basic routine which was boring to me after seeing many Russian fling acts. There was a lot of high energy in this show by the performers, which made a decent show. My biggest bitch about Ringling's meet the performers for the adventure hour (pre-show) is the big stars never come out for autographs. If you are lucky you may get Sasha Houche autograph but you never see stars like Bello coming out. If you are going to have an autograph session than all the performers should be out there for awhile not just the stylers and profilers who make the stars shine.
Boss Kelly and Grand-Pa talks to the CFA members at a get together of Maine and New Hampshire CFA Tents prior to the evenings performance.