Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Spectators exceed expectations....Circus gives unscheduled performance

Daily News Staff Writer
At 8 p.m. Tuesday the
2,600 seat tent was filled to
capacity with at least 500
persons left outside the canvas
structure of the King
Brothers Circus big top.
Youngsters were clustered
around all three rings, unable
to find seats in the
bleachers, as the ring master
announced that an
unscheduled performance
would bo arranged after the
regular show to handle (he
overflow crowd.
Introductions of the performers
were skipped to
shorten the show lime, and
despite Ihe ram that occurred
throughout the hour and
fifteen minute show, at least
300 anticipating persons
were ready to enter t h e
tent as the scheduled audience
departed after a most
satisfying show.
The 300 waited, wet hair
and clothes plastered to
their bodies, the performance
was as good as the one
prior to it and the wait paid
CHECKERS the clown
said that the afternoon performance
was interrupled
when gusty winds flapped
the canvas and about half
of the audience left, doubtlessly
heeding the Rochester
weather service warning of
severe storms in the area.
They missed out on something,
he said.
The first evening audience
didn't. NO one moved from
their seats when the rain
and lightning started; all sat
enraptured as the performance
Jo Anne Jernier was
touching the roof of the tent
in her single trapeze act
when it looked like she
slipped, setting the watchers
on edge. She caught the
trapeze bar wilh her feet,
legs braced against the two
ropes, a n d swung upside
down, the breeze of her
passing swings fanning the
warm, moist air inside the
When four white, \vooly,
toy poodle puppies and two
adult dogs came !n!o the
center ring, two-year-old
Brian Sturz went wild, uttering
delighted squeals athis father, Harry, tried to
keep him in his lao .
AND AN excited little
girl ran for Ihe center ring
when the seals were performing,
distressed when
her mother stopped her mad
rush halfway across the
The youngsters pressed
away from their vantage
points at the lips of the
main ring when the tons of
gray elephant flesh emerged
to do the bidding of
their lady rider. They sat
entranced, awed by the immense
size in motion, as
lumbering elephant feet
gracefully maneuvered in
the narrow confines of the
Though dark and dank
outside and the canvas walls
flapped in the rising breeze,
the mystique of the circus
— the performance of man
and beast, the glitter, the
sound and the mood — prevailed
upon the spectators.
James B. Whorton, 834 W.
Wabasha St., Kiwanis circus
committee chairman,
expressed his thanks for the
help of fellow club members
and the "fantastic support"
of the community in making
the circus such a success.
Whorton estimated that
there were between 6,509-
V.OOO attendees at the event,
and termed it an unqualified
Bills will be paid within
the next few days and a report
will be issued as to
distribution of proceeds.
Whorton said that circus
manager Dave Rauls had
discussed a third performance
of the show Tuesday
morning because of the
large advance sale of tickels.
"WE HAVE never seen
such respect like the circus
people gave us," said Whorton,
"the people there gave
100 percent cooperation lo
all of our members, and it
was impressive the way the
people there took time out
to explain their operations
lo the kids before the
Winona County Sheriff
Helmer Weinmann had
posted a deputy al Haase
Ridge, between Siocklon
and Rollingstone, to maintain
a visual check of the
weather in case threatened
thunderstorms or tornadoes
should endanger t h e tent
audience. The sheriff and
several deputies were on
hand during the performances
in case evacuation of
the big top was required.
The successful performance
concluded with the
striking of tents about 10:30
p.m. and the first advanceed tonight.
Sunriser Kiwanis Club
members turned out at the
circus grounds on 54th Ave.,
Goodview, early this morning
and final cleanup was
completed by 7:30. Members
h a d been efficiently
routing the flow of'traffic
on t h e grounds yesterday
and had spent a portion of
the afternoon rolling up car
windows when rain first
The club, (he spectators
and the circus people had
a brief but happy relationship
wilh each other. The
King Brothers Circus will
always be a welcomed visitor
to Winona based on this
sterling performance, Kiwanis
officials said.
[rucks were rolling into La
Crosse by 11:30 where the
seven day a week entertainment
will again be performing.