We went to the circus on Sunday with Leslie, a good friend of ours, and Ian, her 6 year old son. We were supposed to go with her husband too, but between the time that we bought the circus tickets last May and now, Leslie had a baby boy. So dad and 3 week old baby stayed home. Leslie and Ian picked my husband, Robert, and me up and off we went to Reid Park for the circus. Ian was so excited. His excitement was infectious.
When we got to the park, we could see the big white and blue tent. As we walked toward the tent, there were lots of other kids and adults going in that direction. The energy was building. The circus performers were doing acts outside of the tent to keep the crowd happy until the tent opened. It was cold on Sunday, so we tried to stay warm while we watched the crowd and the circus performers until they let us into the tent. Once we got in, there were bleachers arranged in a circle around one circus ring. There were only 500 people in the audience, so it was a small circus and everyone was really close to everyone else and to the action. They told us there was no bad seat in the tent and they were right. It was an intimate setting and it was an intimate circus – everyone in the circus seemed to be related – it was the Zoppe Family Circus.
There were trapeze artists and performing dogs, jugglers and people doing acrobatics on top of a horse. There was a man who balanced a pole on his forehead and his wife climbed up the pole and twirled around it at the top. There were lots of amazing acts, usually high up in the air, everyone in the audience – old and young – held their breath and then applauded wildly. But the most fun was the clown Nino. He is not an ordinary circus clown; he isn’t scary for one thing. He doesn’t wear any makeup, just a red nose, a phony mustache and a little red hat. He was accompanied by a very small version of himself, maybe three years old. The two clowns were in the ring most of the show. They did silly things that had all the kids (and adults) laughing. At one point Nino put his hat on top of a broomstick he was carrying and then he couldn’t find his hat. All the kids in the tent yelled at him to look at the top of the broomstick – but of course, he didn’t at first. When he finally saw his hat, he couldn’t reach it, because he kept raising the broomstick so the hat was just out of reach. There were other skits like this, where he would do something and the kids would try to help him. He was just such a sweet clown and everyone wanted to help him.
My favorite part of the circus was watching the kid’s faces and listening to what they had to say. They were all having such a good time. It made me happy just to be sitting among them and to be seeing this old fashioned kind of circus. It was a perfect Sunday afternoon.