Like most people, my memories of the circus go back to childhood.
They are not overly fond memories, though.
I have for nearly three decades judged all big tops by the one that visited the small town of Soldotna, Alaska, in the mid-1980s.
I can’t say for sure, but I somehow doubt it was Barnum or Bailey or any of the Ringling Brothers who came to our little hamlet by the sea.
I do know for certain, though, that it wasn’t “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
While technically opening night of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: Fully Charged at the U.S. Cellular Center was not my first circus, it was a first for both my children and my husband.
They loved every minute of it. Despite my expectations, I did too.
The circus captured their attention and imaginations in a way that Disney Live in the same space less than a week ago did not. They enjoyed the pirates and princesses and other cartoon characters, but they did not spend the show on the edge of their seat, literally, wide-eyed, pointing and gasping.
This circus may be “Fully Charged,” but the formula hasn’t changed.
There was knuckle-biting knife throwing, high-wire stunts, a strongman, an aerialist and acrobatics, clowns, elephants, camels, juggling and tumbling.
It was neat to see the circus inspire awe in my 3 and 5 year old the same way it has for more than 100 years and many generations of children before them.
- Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: “Fully Charged,” Gold Edition
- 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 1 adn 5 p.m. Sunday
- U.S. Cellular Center, Cedar Rapids
- Tickets: $18 to $43
- Ticket info: U.S. Cellular Center Box Office, 1-(800) 745-3000 or Uscellularcenter.com
- Extra: Pre-show Power Up Party – free to ticketholders one hour before show time. Meet the performers, try on costumes and see the animals up close.
- Show’s website: Ringling.com
Just before intermission, the duo of synchronized motorcycles whizzing around inside a globe of steel were declared the favorite.
“Mommy, write that on the paper,” my daughter ordered.
After the break, though, aerial gymnast Sergey Novikov of the Ukraine who contorted his body while suspended midair replaced the motorcycles as the favorite of the evening.
“Me want to do that,” said my 3 year old. “How’d he do that?”
He also asked for a motorcycle and wanted to join the tightrope walkers high above the arena floor.
In hindsight, taking a daredevil to a circus might have been a poor parenting call.
My daughter was equally impressed by the tightrope.
“I take back the motorcycle,” she said. “The tightrope is even better.”
I’m glad my children will take these memories with them. I’m also happy I got chance to rewrite my own.
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