Helping you envision this adventure are photos borrowed from our Pop Up Book Circus Toy Display.
Sawdust, pacing lions, cotton candy, screaming children, & just a hint of elephant dung in the air. Aaahh. The sweet sweet sounds & scents of the circus. Growing up in a rural area, well off the beaten path, the circus coming to town was a very big deal. Every summer, I looked forward to the arrival of the carnival complete with rides & carnies, the ones with the “small hands, smell like cabbage”. I well remember spinning till I vomited on the Tilt a Whirl, being terrified of the Ferris Wheel & equally as afraid of the man with the missing index finger who ran the Scrambler. Good times. But, even more, I really loved when the traveling circus came through. Our local arena magically transformed into the Big Top. The rink where all winter we had learned to do double axles or watched the Pirates beat the Bulldogs was completely changed. Gone were the blue line & the nets & the locker rooms became dressing rooms. The Ringmaster looked like royalty, the acrobats were dazzling in their beautiful, scandalous costumes, & the clowns were heart stopping-ly terrifying to me. This was pre-Stephen Kings’ It so I don’t know why they frightened me so much. Maybe it was all that forced happiness & enthusiasm – really, is anyone sane that happy? Best of all were the animals. I had never been to a zoo, so this was really the only chance we had to see animals we only read about or saw on TV. The elephants were thrilling & a little scary. The lions & tigers were so beautiful, & the chimps made us laugh til our sides hurt. We’d spend the rest of the summer debating the best part of the show & working on our acts. Who knows, maybe the next year they’d spot us in the crowd & ask us to fill in for a sick performer. My sisters & I would do our best to imitate the acrobats, balancing on the rail of the deck in our bathing suits, & our cat became almost as fierce as the lions when we tried to put a scarf on her & make her jump through a hula hoop. My brothers took turns as the ringmaster chasing us with a whip that was really just a piece of broken jump rope. Like I said, good times.
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