Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ya can't just go and watch a circus. . . you have to experience it.

 I have always loved circuses under the big-top. The "Roar of the grease paint, the smell of the crowd" or something like that.
To me, that is the best way to experience them. And I knew from past experience that if you go early to can watch them set up.
And if you are real lucky, they will use the elephants to help raise the big-top.

Despite promise of rain for most of the morning, daughter and I made the pilgrimage to Warrenton to have a full day of circus.
When we arrived most the trucks were on sight, and the animals were out and under shelter feeding.
Here is daughter near the elephants.
 Here she is, dressed a little warmer, near the camels.

While standing here a lady came up and asked if we were here for the nine o'clock tour. Of course we said we were.

She said, "hang on a minute and we will see if anyone else shows up."
 Me hanging out. (I know, you thought it was the off-duty clown.)
 While we waited we checked out the back side of the elephant pen and got a closer look.

We found out at this point that a truck they needed to arrive first before they could set up had a bad fuel filter and was running late in arrival.

So she started showing us around.
One other mom showed up with a young little girl and stayed for a little while.
A bus load of pre-schoolers showed up, but left once it started
raining again.
 This is what the 'big-top' looked like when we arrived. Ready to be unrolled but waiting for the last truck.
They park each piece of equipment or trucks in the same place at each location to serve them better and have a routine of progression.

This routine goes on every day, with one or two rare exceptions, from mid February to mid November. Over 500 performances.
 The tour included where the tigers exercise (nap) when not traveling.
 Circle of trucks so far on site.
 We left for about an hour to get breakfast and ponchos and came back to more rain and all the trucks.
 Standing under the awning for the concession truck, we first watched them set-up the entrance tent.
 Staying pretty dry.
 Every one working was just soaked.
Some of the other trucks.
 Moving closer to watch the start of the big tent.

 We would work our way around the big-top as each side pole went up.
 Wind and rain, and lots of fun.
 This is the performers food truck.

 The guy in the green rain coat would end up also being one of the two guys performing music during the show. He played the trumpet and worked the sound machine.
 Performers entrance going up.
 In out of the rain and wind. (We were invited).
 Looking out at the rain.
 This is the guy who invited us in.
 So we stayed till the big-top was up. Weather and gravel kept them from using the elephants to raise it. But we still got to see the whole process.
 It was still raining, and we had a few hours till show time. . . so . . . we headed to the cabin to dry out and get a snack and do a little art work.
 About three o'clock we headed back.
We were the first ones, again.
 Ladies and Gentlemen, the Kelly Miller Circus.
 Daughter always makes friends.

Here waiting to ride the elephant.
 "You want me to go up there!"
 Here we go.

 Wave and say "peanuts!".
 And of course the camels needed some attention.
 This guy would later perform as "The Human Volcano!", doing a fire act during the show.

 And of course the ponies.
 New friends.
Well it sure did look different than when our morning started.
Bleachers all around.
For two dollars extra you could get front row seats.
We did.

 The performers entrance at show time.
 The man who had invited us in out of the rain was also the ring master.
 Front row near the tigers.
 Although it is not real clear, the gal middle left on the green ribbon was our tour guide earlier in the day. Now through several acts, she was the featured high wire act.
 Camel taxi now show camel.
As was our elephant.
We sat throughout the show watching workers under the big-top and recognized them as roustabouts who set up the circus, one minute driving in big tent pegs, later selling you cotton-candy.
Not an easy life. Working all day.

But if you want to experience the circus you have to get there early.

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