Monday, December 22, 2008


Rochester, home city of the world famous Cole Brothers Circus, was host to thousands of people today as the home-town circus opened its 1939 season under the big top with matinee and evening performances being presented on the Goss lots at Seventeenth and Main streets.
The day's activities got underway to a colorful and glamorous start at 11:30 o'clock when the big free street parade, approximately one mile long, moved over Main, Eleventh, Jefferson and Fourth streets. Many people banked the streets to watch the parade along the entire route. The crowd in the business district was very dense.
Some of The Features
Two beautiful equestriennes mounted on equally attractive chargers and each carrying American flags, followed close behind a Studebaker car headed one of the most spectacular street parades ever staged by any American circus.
In addition there were gold trimmed band wagons with their crack musicians blaring out the latest song hits of the day in which they featured "When the Circus Comes to Town"; the open cages of lions and tigers; the crack squads of horsemen and lady equestriennes and their arch-necked, glistening and prancing mounts; the clowns; the allegorical portrayal of fairyland characters; the only baby hippopotamus in captivity; the herd of ponderous elephants which numbered 25; Art Mix's congress of rough riders, Indians, cowboys, and Cossacks; the head balancers; the Chinese acrobats; the Czechoslovakian troup of aerialists; Loyal-Repensky troup of horseback riders from France; the trick donkies; two steaming tooting calliopes in fact scores and scores of featured displays and countless menagerie exhibits.
Sparkling Costumes
The costuming was very unique and colorful. The costumes all of them bristling in their sparkling newness which adorned the hundreds of stars of the sawdust ring was in itself one of the marvels of the street exhibition. It was evident that the Cole Bros. Circus owners, Jess Adkins, Zack Terrell and Jess Murden, had spared no expense in giving Rochester the biggest and costliest parade it had ever witnessed.
For the first time in the history of the Cole Brothers Circus on opening day in Rochester, Dame Fortune seemed to smile on the show and gave Messrs Adkins, Murden and Terrell a break when it came to weather. The skies were clear and it was just warm enough to make sitting in the big top comfortable.
The break which the Cole Bros. Circus owners got in the weather today is considered by many as an indicator that good luck will again smile on them and that this should be one of the most successful seasons in the history of the local circus.
Traffic Well Managed
An extra police force with the assistance of a detail of ten state policemen and members of the Rochester Boy Scout troops, handled the traffic in a most orderly manner. No traffic jams or accidents were reported by police.
The business houses, especially those catering to appetites of the milling circus fans, did a tremedous business today as did countless stands in the vicinity of the circus grounds.
Rehearsals Sunday
The Cole Bros. Circus big top was erected Saturday afternoon and rehearsals for the opening spectacle, "La Argentina" were held Sunday afternoon and evening. This spectacle was staged by Rex Rosselli, production manager of the Cole Bros. Circus, and the musical score was arranged by Vic Robbins, leader of the circus band. Many Rochester prople witnessed the rehearsals Sunday. In fact the circus grounds were crowded all of yesterday with visitors not only from Rochester but from other cities.
The advance sale for tonight's show indicates that another capacity crowd will be on hand for the evening's performance. As soon as the Art Mix congress of cowboys, cowgirls and movie stars conclude their concert tonight the circus will leave for Marion where two performances are to be given tomorrow. Other Indiana cities to be visited are Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Terre Haute, Indianapolis, Muncie and Richmond.
[The News-Sentinel, Monday, May 1, 1939]