Tuesday, July 26, 2011

..Hundreds line streets for elephant walk..


Annual elephant walk marks the return of the Ringling Bros. Circus to the Honda Center


ANAHEIM – Blake Rodriguez, 4, jumped up and down, unable to control his excitement Monday afternoon, as eight 10,000-pound Asian elephants stepped down a train platform, formed a single-file line with trunks to tails and marched down a city street.

"Look at 'em, mommy. Wow, they're so big," he said, as his mom, Angelica Rodriguez of Anaheim, struggled to hold him back from running into the street.
"We couldn't ask for more," she said. "Two of his favorite things – trains and big animals – for free."

The circus arrived in Anaheim on Monday and that meant the annual half-mile elephant walk from the train tracks to the Honda Center, where Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will stage shows starting Wednesday.

Circus officials don't advertise an official time for the march, concerned that animals operating on their own schedule can cause frequent delays.

But that didn't stop at least 200 people from lining the route between the Sunkist Street and Cerritos Avenue intersection and the Honda Center.

The crowd included carloads of children from day camps and several senior citizens who said they have fond memories of the circus.

"Something about the circus just brings out the kid in you," said Vince Reynolds, 78, from Anaheim, who waited under an umbrella for nearly three hours to snap a few photos.

Other parents decided to stay away, saying that they believe it's cruel to keep animals in captivity. Several readers responded on the Register's website and Facebook page after a preview to the elephant march appeared.

"Bottom line is that they belong in the wild, not on a circus stage," said Laura Breen, the mother of children ages 4 and 2. "I don't think it's the right message to send to my kids. They can read about them in books."
The circus runs through Aug. 7. The 10,000-pound elephants – and several full-sized and miniature show horses – will be loaded back on to the trains and transported to the next stop – Ontario.