Around the pool yesterday morning, everyone was talking about the circus Thousand Trails booked in for the Labor Day Weekend. They talked about the head honcho, a guy in an electric wheelchair, who has put this thing on the road for 52 years. An amazing feat in itself. He told me that today’s circus kids are an off-shoot of the gymnastics craze. Not everyone can go to the Olympics and be a standout, but the circus…well you will see the talent at work.
I’m taking a break from my China Trip of 2006 to acquaint you with the Wenatchee Youth Circus because it is a great venue, and because I have two personal connections to the circus. Earlier this year, two of my grandsons attended a circus camp and I was quite impressed with the program and the head honcho there who started this camp in Mendocino County, California over 50 years ago. He dresses as a clown and gets around in an electric wheel chair. You know what I’m thinking, don’t you? This has to be the same outfit. But, it was not.
This little youth circus has a fire-eater, and that is my second connection to circus. My great-aunt Mitzi was a sword swallower and fire-eater in the circus during the 1920′s and 30′s. She said they practically starved to death, sometimes surviving on leftover popcorn or bread and gravy when money was thin. But enough! Wenatchee kids are from 3 years to 18 years in age. The fire-eater was tearful because after 9 years with the circus, this was her very last performance. She also does high wire.
The day was so bright and sunny, we were truly in point and shoot mode and hoped we’d get something on camera. The three-year old is probably one of the children of an adult associated with the circus. There are plenty of adults around to make sure the kids don’t get hurt. But, the kids are fearless, well-practiced and impressive performers.
The high wire acts, (and they were numerous) were by the book, the standard acts you see in all circuses on professionally rigged high wires.
Billy and Amanda. Billy does tumbling, high wire, flying trapeze, swings and just about every thing in the line-up. He is one of the top talents.
Here he is on the top of the free-standing ladders. The strong man is in the middle.
Billy again, on the high wire as part of the wheel barrow. These kids performed five or six different difficult feats, sitting on a chair, walking a bike rim, stopping mid wire, performing, and getting back up to a standing position on the wire. Great strength and coordination is a must.
Billy is also a flyer. The catcher is Brendan, an 18-year-old who also retires from the circus this year to enter college. This circus is a non-profit, supported by grants and donations, but what a marvelous youth experience, responsibility, hard work, team work, sharing living quarters, all ages. It’s a given that these kids have a one-up on their peers from working the circus.
No act is too small. They start out as clowns, they learn balance, how to fall, timing, to entertain and graduate to more strenuous feats.
And, a final bow.
You can read a bit about the circus on the following website: http://www.circus4youth.org/res_det.php?res_id=30